When you’re an author, people ask you lots of book-related questions. Things like your favorite genre (the one I’m currently reading), or your favorite book (changes weekly). Sometimes they want to know what you think of a specific author, like Dee Henderson (she wrote my all-time favorite scene) or Grace Livingston Hill (has half a dozen great books and the rest are meh).
When people ask what I think of Siri Mitchell, I always give the same one-word answer. “Straw-woman.”
No, it’s not the logical fallacy issue but with a feminine spin. I mean it literally. Thanks to her book, The Cubicle Next Door, one of my daughters went on an anti-straw campaign that would have made Cassie’s green challenge look like an inconvenient day. Fun book, by the way. To this day I remember the main character’s wardrobe, although I don’t remember the gal’s name.
Oh, and Siri Mitchell needs to repent of her spurious doctrines on the Oxford comma. 😉
I haven’t read a lot of books by her recently. I enjoyed a few about ten or fifteen years ago and then read one that bugged me. Right about then, I didn’t see many more of hers, so I just assumed that maybe she’d taken a sabbatical or had gone into other literary pursuits like other authors.
Then I saw it—a call for reviewers for a new book by Siri Mitchell. I didn’t even bother to read the synopsis before I requested that free review copy. Just sayin’. Once the form was filled out, then I read the synopsis.
Nearly pouted at the thought of having to wait to read it.
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5 Interesting Truths about the State of Lies
Whooeee! This is book is one wild ride! (hint: that’s the first truth!) The problem is, I have to be careful about what I say because it’s almost like literally every single thing in this book is a twist and a spoiler for the next.
Told from the first-person point of view, after about the third or fourth chapter, I didn’t even notice anymore. Georgie got under your skin and made you root for her—faults, virtues, and all.
Each character was so perfectly consistent that every nuance of the book made sense by the end. From childish malapropisms to personality quirks to absolute normalcies, the entire story unfolded bit by bit until you didn’t trust what you knew you knew.
For what it’s worth, characterization was the second truth.
She nailed every bit of it—even the lyin’, cheatin’, jerkface stuff. (Psst: that was number three!)
As a military wife, Mitchell also nailed that military bit. Seriously, I live in a town full of navy people. I know what it’s like to live among them—to live with a man who works for the DoD. To have people ask me what my husband does, and when I give the nebulous answer I do, they say, “Well, he probably couldn’t tell you or he’d have to kill you.”
People think that about this place. They’re both right and wrong.
What Mitchell did so brilliantly in State of Lies is to take all the security and troublesome issues seriously without making them the overplayed “got your six” when someone’s following you down a hall like you’d see on military-show TV. Just sayin’. I’ve never ever heard a military person say that in casual conversation. Not once. Not saying it never gets said, but not like you hear on TV.
And Mitchell… thank you for not cheapening your work with cliches and stereotypes that people expect. Bravo.
The fourth truth you’ll find in State of Lies is that innocence isn’t an excuse for guilt.
Yep, you read that right. Just because you didn’t know you did wrong doesn’t make that wrong okay. She shows this subtle spiritual lesson with such brilliant finesse that I’m still amazed by it.
This is also a good time to point out my only real quibble with this book. Like most of Thomas Nelson’s books in the last eighteen months or so, the spiritual aspect has to be “discerned” rather than noticed, even. As much as I hate preachy books, I can honestly say that I think anyone without a Christian faith base would absolutely miss that this is from a Christian publisher.
That makes me sad because as much as I don’t want a sermon rammed down my throat or disguised as a character or something, I really do want to be encouraged in my walk as a Christian when I read Christian fiction. Like I said, I really had to dig deep and pay attention to find it in here.
On the flip side, she does something brilliant with sex inside marriage. Few authors handle it in a way that seems realistic and still clean. We see a healthy relationship without ever feeling like we’re intruding and yet not pretending it’s not a thing, either. It’s seriously the best I’ve ever seen.
The fifth truth… is that God created so much more than we tend to give Him credit for.
I’ve got a cool quote to back that up.
Mitchell offers so many neat scientific facts presented in a way that makes you more interested in silly little things like quantum physics rather than bored by it all. Don’t believe me? Well, I bet you’ll never wish you could make time stand still again after you read this little nugget.
People talk about black holes all the time. Even when they don’t know they’re doing it. Everyone who wishes they could stop time? The only point at which time ever stands still is at the edge of a black hole. Just before mass tips over the “edge” and is drawn into one, time freezes. If people knew that’s what their time stopping moment would be, they wouldn’t make that wish.”
Yep. This is one fabulous book full of interesting facts so seamlessly woven into the story that you almost miss that it’s happened. It’s rich in character development, plot twists and turns, and amazing research. With careful attention to precise details and consistent character voice and growth,you just can’t go wrong!
Loved State of Lies. I’m not sorry I requested and received the free review copy, but I am sorry I didn’t find more spiritual depth in the pages. Sigh.