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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.

Book Review: Liar’s Candle by August Thomas

This was a really engaging spy thriller/regular-girl-caught-up-in-secrets story that I found doubly interesting because of the setting (Turkey), which is a place I knew very little about prior to reading. Penny scrimps and saves to achieve her dream of being an intern at the embassy in Turkey. Things are going swimmingly – right up until a bomb goes off. And nothing – and no one – is the same afterwards…

The “regular girl caught up in something” genre is particularly fun, I suspect, because we all tend to think of ourselves as an Everywoman (Everyman). When ordinary, seemingly unexceptional, characters find themselves in exceptional circumstances, it is easy to transpose ourselves into/onto their character and find ourselves in the thick of the action. This is rewarding not only from an engagement perspective (it’s always fun to be lost in a story) but also from a self-congratulatory one (it’s also always fun to imagine that we too would be heroic and save the day).

Liar’s Candle offered the opportunity for all of the above – and it was packaged in a story that was easy to read, populated by characters that were sneaky and suspicious (even when they weren’t lying through their teeth) and a delightful melange of egomaniac, stalwart true believer, earnest young thing, and jaded professional. The setting was described with just the right amount of detail to create an evocative background for the action. I found myself trawling the internet for pictures of the places described within the text, just to see if my imagination was translating the author’s imagery appropriately. (If you’re curious – sometimes yes and sometimes no… I suspect there really is no way to conjure Ottoman Empire lavishness from words alone if you, like me, have no real-world experience of it).

All in all this was a very entertaining spy story with a lot of tail-spinning twists and merry-go-round twirls. I quite enjoyed it, and will look for more from August Thomas as a result!

My review copy was provided by NetGalley.

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