The date is 1937. The place Liverpool. Mary escapes a loveless childhood by marrying an infantry soldier who glories in active service.
The date is 1952. The place Nairobi. The Mao Mau are rising up to reclaim their land in bloody guerrilla warfare. Mary’s adulterous love affair unfolds in the empty rooms and grounds of deserted colonial houses. Trysts go unnoticed until political and personal events move towards their shocking finale.
Spanning four decades, this is a novel of both epic proportion and intimate narration. At its heart is the poignant and powerful love affair between Mary, the young wife of an infantry soldier, and an intelligence officer who truly understands Africa and its plight. Their secret meetings are conveniently camouflaged by the hysteria and violence surrounding the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. We watch Mary from her too-young marriage, to her success in the Red Cross during WWII, to the jaded reunion with her husband, to the headlong passion of mature love. The ending is a bombshell.
This story, spanning four decades, is told by Mary, her husband, David, and their young children, Eve and Clara, who listen at doors and speak their own fear-fuelled version of the truth.
White Lies is about different kinds of war and different kinds of loving. It explores the fragility and partiality of memory and our need to re-write the past so that it does not jar with the stories we tell ourselves and others.