Would I Lie to You?


a novel by Mary Lou Dickinson

Print: 978-177133-164-7 – $22.95
ePUB: 978-177133-165-4 – $9.99
PDF: 978-177133-167-8 – $9.99

328 Pages
October 05, 2014

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Would I Lie to You? is a novel about secrets, secrets that even loving couples have been known to keep from each other. After ten years of marriage, Sue and Jerry each harbours a significant secret. In this novel, the son our protagonist didn’t know her husband had and the daughter she had when she was sixteen and never saw.  In his case, his identity had been kept secret from his son at the demand of his son’s mother. In her case, her mother had demanded that neither she nor anyone else in their family would ever speak about the child she had out of wedlock. The protagonist ends up marrying late, never having children and maintaining the cool exterior of someone who holds a closely guarded secret.

When Jerry becomes ill and it’s apparent he’s dying, Sue visits a psychic, Hans, who tells her there is someone like a son in her life. She dismisses this, but at Jerry’s funeral his son turns up—a son Sue didn’t know existed. At first Sue feels betrayed by Jerry, but gradually she accepts her own complicity. And she regrets never telling him, or anyone else, about the baby girl she gave up for adoption when she herself was a so young. Encouraged by Hans and a relative of Jerry’s, Sue starts looking for her daughter and relying more on Hans, who is also struggling with troubles in his own marriage. Ultimately she meets the birth daughter who has been searching for her as well as the man who as a teenager fathered her child.

The novel confronts what happened when pregnancies were kept secret many years ago, what happens when mother and birth child look for and either find, or do not find, each other. It also explores the reality of family secrets, huge issues that are kept quiet under the veneer of polite society and that affect the individuals and families involved for lifetimes, even generations. The novel also raises the question of who is family and how do we create one.

“In her moving third work of fiction, Mary Lou Dickinson asks the question ‘would I lie to you’ and the answer is…’yes.’ Dickinson touchingly and skilfully exposes the secrets and lies embedded in family relationships, revealing that, while the truth might not set one free, it can lead to healing and more fulfilling bonds between loved ones.”
– Heather J. Wood, author of Fortune Cookie.

“Would I Lie to You? is a compelling story of loss and redemption. With a sure hand and a keen eye, Dickinson deftly probes the secrets of the human heart.”
Andrew J. Borkowski, author of Copernicus Avenue, winner of the Toronto Book Award.

“I responded in a personal way to many aspects of Would I Lie To You? No lie, it was a good read and I was always happy to return to it.”
Sharon Hampson (of Sharon, Lois & Bram)


Would I Lie to You?



Mary Lou Dickinson’s fiction has been published in the University of Windsor Review, Descant, Waves, Grain, Northern Journey, The Fiddlehead, Impulse, Writ and broadcast on CBC Radio. Her writing was also included in the anthology, We Who Can Fly: Poems, Essays and Memories in Honour of Adele Wiseman. Inanna published a book of Dickinson’s short stories, One Day It Happens, in 2007, and her first novel, Ile d’Or, in 2010, both to excellent reviews in The Globe and Mail, among others.

Just under an hour later, the bell rang and Thomas’ frame was visible through the glass. As startling as the first time she’d seen him was this vision of a younger Jerry. “Come in,” she said. Under his open jacket he was wearing a shirt with fine navy and white stripes and dark trousers. Then, suddenly, no words came.

Turning toward the hall, she managed to hide that she was at a loss for what to say at the sight of seeing Thomas in clothes that might have been Jerry’s so closely did their tastes overlap.

“I won’t lose touch again,” he said.

“Um,” she said. “I hope not.” Although why she cared enough to be hurt that he might not baffled her.

“I won’t,” he said, leaning on the kitchen counter. A few dishes lay helter skelter in the sink under the window. “Is that one of yours?” he asked, pointing at a small painting on the wall beside the door to the pantry. It was an island scene with curving walk and lamp post with branches twirled around it. There was a sailboat in the distance.

Sue nodded.

“I like it,” he said.…

When they went into the living room, Thomas sat on the sofa at the opposite end from Sue. “Do you need any clothes?” she asked. Then stopped abruptly and put her hand to her mouth. She really couldn’t bear to look at that closet.

“Do you want me to go through stuff with you?” he asked, almost as if he were repeating the lines she’d imagined for him.

Stuff, she thought. She’d known he would call it that and it took the sting out of it slightly. “Would you?” She was relieved, surprised at how quickly he’d understood her. When she got up and started up the stairs, Thomas followed her to find the clothes that still hung just as Jerry had left them.

“Here.” She took out the tweed jacket.

“Thanks,” Thomas said, holding it for a moment. Then he tried it on. As she held out a pair of tan cords, she noticed that the jacket looked as if it were made for him. After he nodded at the sight of himself, he also  tried on the dark winter coat that Sue had imagined he would like. And a jacket with a hood that was almost new.


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