The Biggest Lie - Lisbeth Foye
The Hague, Holland 1976
After a procession of hapless relationships, 23 year-old Lana Milton finds herself recklessly falling for a man who should be out of bounds, but despite fighting with her emotions the affair begins, an affair which can only cause pain and heartache; not only to Lana but - more importantly - to the innocent party.
Coming face to face with the one person she is hurting the most, Lana has to make a decision which breaks her heart. She knows that she is the only one to make the choice, something she can only do by lying, a lie which betrays the truth. Lana’s distortion of the truth closes the door on the only real love she has known.
In life’s ups and downs even her best friend Tess, is not what she seems. Tess turns on her, leaving her and their friendship in tatters.
Lana moves on to a new start in London where she meets rich, tormented Howard Marshall. Howard is frustratingly aware that his love for Lana is not reciprocated. Slowly, over-time his attempts to control her with his furtive mind-games and calculated derisory tactics only serve to curtail the chance of her ever loving him back in return.
After nearly 20 years of manipulation, Howard’s desperate struggle to break the woman he loves finally backfires when Lana, now middle-aged and fuelled with the still-burning embers of her long-ago love, confronts Howard. She stands up to his bullying and devious malicious ways, her anger fills her with a renewed strength in which she finds the courage to leave him to start her life yet again.
Now in her late fifties and living in a calm, non-disruptive world close to her family, Lana is content and yearns for nothing more in life.
But fate has other ideas as it smashes through the door to bring her life around, full circle, lifting her up in a whirlwind to drop her on the Pacific coast in Southern California.
The Biggest Lie – a tale of love, friendship, hope and strength is set in the era of glitter-ball discos which grows to maturity in the 21st century. Proof, that it’s never too late for anything...
The story is, for the most part, set in Holland. For me - being Belgian - that meant reading about familiar places and reading some words in my own language, Dutch, which was really nice and refreshing.
When we meet the main character, Lana, she's in her twenties and enjoying life without commitment. Although I'm very different from Lana, I didn't have much trouble connecting with her and I liked her as a MC. This unfortunately changed a bit as she got older. Maybe it's closed minded and/or maybe it's because I cannot relate to her situation, but I couldn't sympathize with her over her affair with Joe. To me, cheating is still a definite no-no and the fact that Lana was okay with just being "the other woman" for the man she claimed to be "the love of her life", was just very frustrating. The twenty-something Lana was independent, happy and full of life, how could she be happy taking the backseat in someone else's love life?
When she finally made - in my eyes - the smart decision about Joe, I thought she was on the right track again. But then came Howard. He made me so, so angry. I felt for Lana. Howard was horrible to her and no one deserves being treated that way. I don't, however, understand how it could even come to that. Before she got herself in a situation where she was financially dependent on him, she'd already admitted to herself she didn't actually love that man. Even after she had more options financially and she'd got a wake up call thanks to her friend Esther, she still stayed with him. Again, I can't relate to her situation but I found it very frustrating, again, that it took her so long to get rid of him... she'd never even loved him, after all...
Her decisions concerning men aside, I enjoyed reading her story. The fact that it told over 40 years of her life gives you the opportunity to really get to know her. It's a nice feeling to have when reaching to the end of the book, the feeling you've been there with the main character the entire journey leading up to that point.
Lisbeth Foye kept me interested during the entire story, even when I didn't agree with Lana, I still wanted to keep on reading. I will definitely keep an eye out for her future projects!
About the author.
I'm the author of two fictional novels; The Biggest Lie and Luca.
I was born in York, England in the early 1950s and lived there until the 70s when I took off to go travelling around Europe. I spent the decade living and working in Paris - France, Spain and many years in Holland before returning to England in 1983 where I settled in London before moving to Cambridgeshire where I now live; close to my niece and her family. I believe that there's still another location or two I have yet to move on to...
I’m a nomadic-hippy at heart; my experiences have been a big influence contributing to the colourful characters and incidents in my books.
JC, my OH lives in the States, we’re still working out how we will be together but as I’m a great believer in fate, I don’t worry. After all that we’ve been through, I know that the time will come. It’s not a problem for us being so far apart, we’re both secure in our love and I feel him with me constantly. Picking up the phone to each other is so easy these days with Skype – it’s as simple as calling your friend in the next town. The miles between us hold no intrusion into our relationship.
I like other people cooking for me, JC’s a much better cook than me and I love being in the kitchen with him, I wash up and make a salad as he cooks the dinner.
I get emotional at the most obscure things; when I see horses frollicking around a field, I well up with emotion…I look at pictures of our beautiful planet and I feel a strange kind of homesickness...I don’t like vacuuming though, the noise and the way that tube thing bangs against your leg, how it jams itself behind doors; I really cannot stand the things.
Gardening’s another thing I despise, despite my love of nature – I feel that all that weeding is a waste of time.
I look forward to the day when I pack up, move to be with JC and I can say, ‘Well, that’s no more mowing for me…’
2 x notebooks
4 x message plaques/note pegs
4 x message doves
1 x bird whistle
1 x stone engraved with bird paperweight
Lana played with the front door key in her hand; did she really want to go in? No, she felt ill at ease going in to her own home. How silly, she thought to herself as she mechanically unlocked the door and went in to the small hallway. She bent down to pick up a pile of free newspapers and flyers which no-one else had bothered to clear up. As she turned her body sideways to get up the stairs, passing the bikes suspended from the walls, she stuffed them in to a brightly painted basket hanging on the front of one of the bikes. She could hear the television coming from the ground floor flat, they had it easy, lugging heavy shopping up these stairs had become a dreaded task; Lana would have loved to have a flat at street level. The smell of something delicious bubbling on the hob came closer as she got to the first floor, obviously not wafting down from her flat, if only she could make a detour through that door… The stairs became steeper and narrower as she began the climb up to the attic. She could hear the muffled sound of men’s voices mingled with the sound of Simon & Garfunkel coming from the stereo on the other side of the door. Lana threw her coat over the bannister and went in to the bathroom. A dash of lipstick and swish of mascara magically wiped away the tired end of the day look, she fluffed her short hair with her fingers trying to replicate that Farrah Fawcett bounce, but today, her hair flicked up and stuck out waywardly of its own accord, it couldn’t be tamed into a sophisticated aura of splendour, so she shrugged her shoulders and let it be. Lana took a deep breath before opening the door and entering the living room. ‘Hi,’ she smiled at the three of them, each with a bottle of Amstel lager in their hand, she moved quickly through into the kitchen before they could respond or include her in their dreary chitchat. No roasting meaty smells emitted from their kitchen. ‘I thought you said you’d done the cooking…‘ Lana could feel her heart thumping, she raised her hand and placed it on her chest, the tremors banging against her palm, it must be from climbing those stairs… ‘I have!’ Tess replied resentfully, ‘there’s no way you could have made that roast in time,’ she glanced up at the clock, silently blaming Lana for not being there to help but feeling relieved and more confident in the situation now that her friend was now at home, ‘you’ll have to do it tomorrow though, before the meat spoils.’ Lana ignored her comment, sometimes, actually, more times than she cared to think about, she held her tongue when Tess spoke to her like that, demanding that she jump and dance to her tune. ‘I’ve made the trifle and here,’ Tess lifted the lid from a pan to reveal tinned tomato soup which had been bubbling on the stove for so long the edges around the pan had become thick and dark in colour. ‘I don’t like tomato soup,’ Lana said as Tess replaced the lid. ‘I know you don’t but you’re going to have to eat it or go without.’ ‘I’ll go without.’ She said happily. ‘So, is that it? Is that dinner? Over-cooked tomato soup and lumpy sugared trifle?’ ‘Of course not, I knew you wouldn’t want the starter so, whilst we are having our soup I thought that you could cook the dinner, which is…cheese omelette, chips and salad, it won’t take you long. I’ve whisked the eggs for you,’ Tess raised a tea towel from the large mixing bowl to show her work. Lana felt pissed off with the; for you bit Tess had tagged on to the end but that was Tess and she had learned not to respond to such comments, she wouldn’t see her viewpoint on the matter, so, most of the time Lana said nothing. ‘I’ve also peeled the potatoes,’ another tea towel was raised to show raw potatoes in a bowl of water. ‘Can you go and ask them to come to the table and I’ll start to dish the soup up.’ Tess thought she had it all in hand and that the perfect dinner party was about to take place. Lana went in to the living room feeling flustered and slightly awkward, the three of them stopped talking as she went through, she caught the eye of Joe and felt as though a vacuous planet swirled in her head, it dissipated all the words in the universe and zapped the language from her memory. If she closed her eyes she couldn’t even tell you what colour hair or eyes he had…the shape of his nose…she wouldn’t be able to describe him to the police if he burgled their flat. Lana’s subconsciousness would not allow any form or image of him to register his existence within her, he had shot her senses to bits, her co-ordination and entity were in smithereens and the breath had been sucked out of her. Nearly two hours of drinking and she was now completely sober. The one thing Lana knew for certain was; that she was completely out of her depth with the situation and didn’t have the foggiest idea how to act, or react, to it. Sean spoke first as he heard the clanking of metal on pot as Tess dished up the “home cooked” starter, ‘it smells good,’ he said, being polite. ‘Tomato soup.’ Lana said, her mouth now running away with itself, ‘I’m not sure what you were expecting,’ she couldn’t help but chuckle at the situation, ‘but a home-cooked full roast dinner with Yorkshire’s it ain’t!’ ‘It doesn’t matter…’ ‘Whatever it is will be great… I’m sure...’ ‘It’s nice to be out of those pokey rooms we are in…’ All three of them spoke at once as they followed her through into the kitchen, they eyed the bedside table with its floral cushion and their relief was visible as Tess directed each of them to a chair, leaving Lana with the cupboard to sit on. The best way, Lana decided, to cook such a huge omelette would be in the wok and, as she had no intention of putting on a pan of oil to fry chips; the smell and the noise would be a hazard to her sanity, she decided on an alternative. She put the eggs on a low heat, ‘I’m just going out. Will you keep an eye on the omelette please?’ Lana asked, hoping that at least one of them would have better culinary skills than Tess. She thought she heard someone utter “omelette?” in disbelief as she left the kitchen. She did though; quite clearly hear Joe say to Tess, ‘Where’s she going? Will she be back?’ To which Tess replied, ‘God only knows. Now eat up whilst it’s still hot.’
The omelette turned out to be somewhat better than you’d imagine it would be; granted, it was a bit tough and dry on the outside but the middle was fluffy and light and, once it had been tipped out of the wok on to the large serving platter it looked like a splendid, anaemic Christmas pudding covered with bits of spam, onion, cheese, chopped tomato and crispy brown bits. Lana proudly held it aloft and with a loud fanfare from their guests she placed it in the middle of the dining table; it took all of five seconds before it began to slowly deflate before their eyes; the mock fanfare faded away as their voices sighed in unison with a big “Aww!” they watched as the omelette spread itself out to accommodate all the available space on the platter. ‘Never mind…’everyone uttered jovially as she tipped the oversized bag of French fries into the largest mixing bowl they had in the house. Lana had bought far too many chips from the corner caff but at least they would become bloated from the starch and feel that they had done a good job of filling them up, give them enough booze and they will think they’ve dined at the Ritz.