Lynn Michell


Spanning four decades and set in Liverpool during WWII and Nairobi in the 1950s, 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 understands Africa. Their secret meetings are conveniently covered by the hysteria over the bloodshed and violence of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. We watch Mary as she moves from a too-young marriage, to the satisfaction of working in the Red Cross during WWII, to the jaded reunion six years later with her husband, to the headlong passion of mature love. The ending is a bombshell.

A debut novel which possesses and is possessed by a rare authority of voice… the mother’s voice that sings White Lies into unforgettability. Hers and Eve’s. Their thoughts and writing ring like music.
— The Scotsman

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About this book

First accepted for publication in hardback by Quartet Books.

By 1950, Kenya was on the verge of one of the bloodiest wars of decolonisation fought in Britain’s twentieth century empire. Britain’s Gulag.

Eve is dutifully typing her father’s dictated memoirs of his time as a soldier in WWII and in Nairobi during the Mau Mau uprising. With growing unease, she questions his account of what really happened in Kenya.

A different story – of love and adultery – written by Eve’s mother, comes to light after her death. The two young sisters recount fragments of their time in Africa; their naive voices break into the adult deceptions.

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.

About the author

Lynn Michell has published 13 books including an illustrated writing scheme for schools, a book about ME, and two books published by The Women’s Press.

ISBN: 978-0-9559618-3-0
Published: April 2011


“An anatomist of the human heart.”
— Wanda Whitely, HarperCollins

“Gripping… with a bombshell of an ending.”
— Michele Hanson, The Guardian

“A naturally gifted writer and not afraid of ambitious projects as this one is. It has great filmic potential.”
— Christopher Rush, Author of “Will”

“…a fine job capturing the time and transporting the reader there whilst 
exploring the reactions, feelings and fears of those who lived through the early stages of the Emergency. A first class read.”
— Martyn Day, Lawyer for former Mau Mau insurgents against the British Government

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