The Year of Necessary Lies: A Novel by Kris Radish. Arizona: SparkPress, 2015. 338 pages *****
This "rags to riches" story chronicles a year in the life of Julia Briton from April 10, 1904 -April 10, 1905. Told in her own words on tapes left for a rebellious Great-Granddaughter, the reader is transported to a world of bird plume hunters and the people who made their fortunes by killing birds. Born to a hard working, poor family in Boston, Julia falls in love and marries the only son of a wealthy business man. Introduced to the horrors of plume hunting by her mother-in-law, Julia cannot turn a blind eye to her husband's family business. Attending Audubon Society meetings and a love of birds propels Julia to action. Leaving her husband, elegant home and society, she courageously travels alone to Pelican Island to write and draw what she sees to bring attention to the society that demands plumes for their hats. Hearing and seeing her adventures in her own words, her struggles, triumphs and grief, changes her family's perspective and raises new questions about their heritage.
I have enjoyed other Radish books, one of my favorite is The Elegant Gathering of White Snows, however, I loved this story. Radish has a way of educating the reader about a specific time and place in the guise of a love story. She has always been fascinated by birds and her descriptions transported me there so that I too could see the beauty and the ugliness of the situation. Radish has never been one to shy from social issues and in this story she vividly portrays the heart wrenching loss and the difficult decisions associated with pregnancy and the lack of effective birth control. Julia tries to stay true to herself and what she believes is right while discovering her strengths and talents. Kris sums it up best, "what I wrote is an amazing love story on many levels, which I hope will become an example about the importance of following your own heart, designing your Year--no matter how long it takes, and for living a life that is written by no one but you." Thank you Kris Radish for reminding us of what's important in life.
I received an electronic Advanced Copy from BookSparks to review.
Kris Radish is the bestselling author of ten novels and three works of non-fiction. She celebrates the important and amazing power of female friendship via her novels and in her yearly retreats held for women from across the globe. Radish is also co-owner of the Wine Madonna wine lounge in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida and Radish & Company Boutique where she hosts book groups and special events and does a bit of wine drinking herself. Radish is also working on her eleventh novel and a second book of autobiographical essays.