Today’s review is about another book from the BookSparks’ Fall Reading Challenge I joined this year. As I said before, I was able to skip the “freshman” year (last year’s challenge) and jump right into the “sophomore” year for this year’s challenge, I’m now on the BookSparks “class” called Historical Fiction in the Feminist Studies Department (which I know you figured out means this book). As I admit below, I’m not a fan of historical reading (or movies). What got me with this book was the fact that it was under the category of “feminist studies”.
What “they” say: One amazing year in a remarkable woman¹s life journey becomes the inspiration for generations when she takes a huge risk, follows her heart, embraces forbidden love, and unwittingly becomes the champion of a winged world that is on the brink of extinction. It’s 1903, the world is poised for drastic change, and Julia Briton is a naive, beautiful Boston socialite who suffers a series of devastating losses and discovers that her beloved husband is involved in the plume trade—the massive slaughter of birds for use in the fashion industry. When Julia is secretly ushered into the early 20th century by a group of brazen female activists, she boldly risks everything and embarks on a perilous journey to the wilds of untamed Florida, a place of great danger where men will stop at nothing to get what they want and where one man, and a faithful friend, force her to make yet more life-changing decisions. Years later, when Julia’s great-granddaughter, Kelly, discovers some hidden tape recordings in her famous great-grandmother¹s dresser and learns the real truth about Julia’s year, a year that changed the course of history, she must decide what to do with her grandmother¹s incredible legacy. Will she keep the real “secret of the year”, or will she be brave enough to follow her own heart?
My opinion: Before I talk about the story, I want to say that I am not a big fan of flipping back and forth in time between Julia (the grandmother) and Kelly (the granddaughter) to get the whole story. While I would have preferred it to be written without this flipping back and forth, it didn’t affect the reader’s ability to keep track of the story line and it didn’t interfere with the flow of the book, which sometimes can happen.
That being said, The Year of Necessary Lies is about a woman named Julia Britton. Julia’s great-granddaughter, Kelly, finds her tape recorder and a few tapes and realizes that Julia is famous. Later, when Kelly is older and Julia dies, Kelly and her mom start listening to the tapes and find that Julia is more brave than they think she was. When Julia was growing up, she was poor. She married “rich” and lost three babies trying to bear her husband children.
After experiencing a series of miscarriages, she becomes close to her mother-in-law, who is very invested in the Audubon Society. It is at this time that she discovers the Audubon Society’s goal of having feathers removed from hats in the fashion world. Julia then discovers that one of the companies putting these feathers on the hats is actually her husband’s company! Julia leaves her husband and home and travels alone to Pelican Island to write and draw what she sees and hears. In this time and era, Julia is very courageous to take this journey and she transforms over the course of the year. By listening to the tapes left behind, her granddaughter, Kelly, grows too.
While I’m generally not a fan of historical stories, this story was inspirational and at the same time, is a great love story. The Year of Necessary Lies encourages readers to follow their hearts and find their year. Lose yourself in this coming of age novel with a generational story of love and full of secrets!
Kris Radish grew up dreaming about living a Nancy Drew-like life and always held her own passion for writing very close to her heart. A former journalist, nationally syndicated columnist, magazine writer and university instructor, Radish also loves to tell stories about the times she picked night crawlers, served beer to cowboys, worked on a tomato farm and hung out of the side of a fast moving helicopter. Radish is now the bestselling author of ten novels and has captured the hearts of legions of fans with her heartwarming, real, passionate and often hilarious novels. Her stories focus on the important bonds of female friendship and celebrate the common feelings, heartaches, loves, and struggles that all women share. She loves to call her work “true fiction” because she addresses the real emotions that women live and share every day. She is also the author of three non-fiction books, writes poetry, is the mother of two young and very feisty adults, is known for her wild laugh and wilder hair, and is working on her eleventh novel and fourth non-fiction book. Radish is also co-owner of The Wine Madonna – a wine lounge in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida where she hosts book groups from around the country
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.