Hostage of Lies

Hostage of Lies

By Dr. Maxine Thompson

Throughout our lives we make choices that mold our futures and sometimes affect us in both positive and negative ways. Spouses, boyfriends, first loves and career decisions affect our futures and often reflect on the way others treat us. Unfortunately, mistakes and digressions into paths we should not follow, often cloud our judgment reflect poorly on the way others act toward us in our presence. The characters in Hostage of Lies, all harbor secrets that they do not want uncovered. Some secrets more harmful and destructive than others. Those that pass judgment should not cast the first stone on others since their records are not pure. This brings me to my review of Hostage of Lies a novel that brings to light many relevant issues of the present and comes full circle with some from the past.

Nefertiti is a proud African American woman who has reverted back to her African American roots. Changing her appearance and wearing the clothing indignant of her heritage, she returns to her home after being castigated and banished by her father, she reenters his life and others in Shallow Falls to find the answers to many questions that have been harbored within her soul and mind for too long. Married to Isaac Thorn for 12 years and having two children with him, her bond to this small town is still quite clear, but how strong remains to be seen. Pharaoh, Isaac’s half brother was the first man that she was intimate with and these two men have been reliving, reviving and rekindling in their own minds the feelings for her, their animosity for each other and their own brand of anger that spews from their lips when together.

Nefertiti returns to her parent’s home for her father’s 75th birthday with one important goal in mind. She intends to find the child she gave birth to 23 years ago and will stop at nothing until she does. Hidden beneath her frustration is anger so deep that nothing will ever remove the pain, degradation, the abuse and the scorn festered upon her by her father. Exiled, banished and forced out of her family’s nest, she is deemed a disgrace, harlot, and embarrassment in the eyes of her father, family and church for one mistake.

There is much more to this story than Nefertiti’s. Calissa, Miss Maggs, Isaac, Tiger and many others harbor secrets that should they be revealed would change the complexion or way people few them even more. Calissa too was banished and cast aside by her husband and diminished in the eyes of her children by their father for one mistake.

This is a story about mistakes of the heart, abuse more heinous than just by inflicting pain on her person physically, and about reopening your heart to others and allowing the hate, the cruelty to finally melt away and allowing forgiveness in. Take an ice sculpture so frozen solid that it looks like it will never melt and will stand the test of the hot burning sun or a burning flame. Nefertiti, Calissa, Ms. Maggs and many others have felt the scorching flames as the ice that formed in the heart of the abuser was inflicted so hard that they formed their own private shield in the outside, but on the inside the ice water turned boiling hot and the scars caused by the heat and the flames could no longer be withstood and their self esteems and their courage dripped away.

Power is what controls who and what you are in Shallow Falls in the eyes of Reverend Godbolt and Reverend Deacon. Both are powerful men who lived their lives ruling their families with iron hands and their wives with iron fists and strong words. Power is a funny thing, it cannot always bring you happiness but it can bring you false respect of others and the ability to control many outcomes because of how much you and wield on others. But, for how long before the same people finally take it no more and don’t care about your power and develop a thick skin of their and fight back in their own time and way. This story is all about power and control and who has it. Will the reigns change by the end? Will the secrets of each be unfolded and will the eyes of the town and their opinions unfurl and change on those that are now in power? Wait and see.

While each character reflects on the past and the hidden secrets, family ties and relationships that embrace and brought them to the present, the author eloquently and brilliantly weaves each character’s lines and stories so intricately intertwining and forever taking sealing their lies, truths and deceits in a tightly sealed airless vault waiting for the seal to break and the air to set them free.

As the lies become unsealed and Nefertiti questions her parentage, heritage and confronts her father for the truth, many other lies will be uncovered, a father’s secret will be revealed and many others will never be the same. Ms. Maggs, Bertha, Nefertiti, Sweets and the women of Shallow Corner have all been victims of abuse, remained in the background and never hold their tongues. But, not Nefertiti she was a bold, bright and educated who decided to live her life and finally make the right choices on her own when being forced to give her child up for adoption by her parents.

One man, Pharaoh, plagued by his dreams and the horrors he faced fighting in Vietnam. Isaac haunted by a woman he so wrongly lost, and Reverend Deacon and Godbolt, so righteous in their thinking and their thoughts cast aside those that truly loved them and filled their lives and the town of Shallow Corner with nothing but hostages held prisoners by their lies.

Who will finally be set free? Who will the final victims be? Read this heartbreaking and heartfelt novel so well written and crafted that the reader will be not only enveloped but totally immersed in a plot so tangled that only a jeweler with the right tools can untangle the knots. With an ending so riveting and a conclusion so unexpected Hostage of Lies will keep you in suspense until the very last page where the final lie is revealed. A must read for anyone that has ever been a victim of abuse, prejudice and deceit. A book that lets the reader know that we have come so far in our thoughts and thinking but we are not there yet. Choices are difficult and we have to live with the outcome. Will she find her daughter? Read this outstanding novel and find out.

This book gets Five Stars

Fran Lewis: Reviewer and author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious

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