Rewriting History? – A review of “The Truth in Our Lies” by Eliza Graham

What comes to mind at the mention of “clandestine services”? Without further reference my mind goes straight to spying. Before reading “The Truth in Our Lies” I had no idea there were subversive broadcasts during WWII aimed at misleading and demoralizing the German populace and German forces. As a very young child I vaguely recall tales of “Tokyo Rose” broadcasts that were designed to lower the morale of the U.S. Armed Forces but that is a later period. So.

Our protagonist is WAAF Sgt. Anna Hall who sports half a disfigured face from a house fire after a bombing raid. She’s part of a close knit team that writes and produces a daily clandestine radio broadcast that contains an odd mixture of half-truths that will demoralize the Germans, both civilian and military. An unusual approach to “doing one’s part” for the war effort. Anna is smart, quick-witted and more talented than she realizes. I didn’t know until I’d finished the book that it’s based on real characters, places and events.

That said, the first two-thirds of the story was slow to plodding and I considered abandoning it, but now I’m glad I persevered. Once the pace picked up the story rapidly unfolded and easily held my attention. That the characters are complex is a given but even more importantly, almost no one is what or who they seem. Each and every one of them has his own agenda, over and above the accepted goals of the team. But it takes such a long time to get to that realization. Anna’s narrative is so eaten up with her self doubts about her scarred face and insecurities that it becomes tiresome. It’s often difficult to remember that with all her responsibilities, Anna is only 22 years old, which imparts a different perspective. But even with her insecurities she exhibits the cool-headed thinking of a keen intellect far beyond her years. There is an earlier allusion to a past romance but it’s dealt with almost as an afterthought. And abrupt as it is, the ending has a satisfying ring to it. Four stars.

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