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)
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