ARC Review: Lying with Lions



SERIES: Standalone

REPRESENTATION: ff relationship



LYING WITH LIONS is a really excellent piece of well-grounded historical fiction.

Using real-life scandal as a starting point, Fielding has created a novel that kept me on the edge of my seat to see who would be caught out by which lie and who the truly guilty parties were.

The novel has quite a quiet, understated feel to it, sticking to subtler events and relatively isolated locales in a story that builds to the outbreak of WW1 as an almost background event. The subtlety, with a relatively slow pace (not in a bad way!) gives this novel a Gothic feel, perfect for fans of Jane Eyre and Rebecca.

The characters were wonderfully complex and morally grey, especially the protagonist, Agnes, who has a rather flexible attitude to what constitutes the truth. I liked Agnes, and it’s testament to how well she’s written that even when she lied, forged and looked the other way, facilitating some awful things, I never really thought of her as being a real wrong-doer. I loved how determined she was to claw her way up in the world, and how dedication she was to the people she loved, even to the detriment of everyone else.

Atmospheric, and with a lovely writing style that kept me hooked even in the quieter moments, LYING WITH LIONS is an enthralling family saga, one I could easily picture with a mini-series adaption.

Edwardian England. Agnes Ashford knows that her duty is threefold: she needs to work on cataloguing the archive of the titled Bryant family, she needs to keep the wounds of her past tightly under wraps, and she needs to be quietly grateful to her employers for taking her up in her hour of need. However, a dark secret she uncovers due to her work thrusts her into the Bryants’ brilliant orbit – and into the clutch of their ambitions.

They are prepared to take the new century head-on and fight for their preeminent position and political survival tooth and nail – and not just to the first blood. With a mix of loyalty, competence, and well-judged silence Agnes rises to the position of a right-hand woman to the family matriarch – the cunning and glamorous Lady Helen. But Lady Helen’s plans to hold on to power through her son are as bold as they are cynical, and one day Agnes is going to face an impossible choice…

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

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