Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings by Katharine Johnson

Although this was the first novel written by Katharine Johnson, it is the one I have read most recently. I always enjoy the subtle pschological thrillers created by Johnson. I would put the quality of her writing along side Erin Kelly or Sophie Hannah, although Johnson is less well known.

In Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings, the action takes place in England around World War II. It starts in 1931 when our hero, Jack is introduced. Nothing much has gone right for Jack since he graduated from Cambridge with a law degree last year. His career has failed to take off, his father is unimpressed with him and his fiancée has ditched him for someone with better prospects. On top of all that, he receives an invitation to their wedding. He dreads going to the wedding alone, surrounded by his high-achieving university friends, so when he meets a beautiful girl, Giselle, who offers to accompany him he jumps at the chance.

Jack falls passionately in love with Giselle and believes she loves him too, but the path of true love for some is a lot more stony than for others. Jack’s pathway is strewn with boulders yet, he’s not daunted by the prospect. As the story unfolds, the reader wonders who is Giselle and also where is Giselle. There are some very dark themes in this pre and post World War II novel, highlighting the way war can change both a person’s personality afterwards and how that can affect the people around them. 

As with all Katharine Johnson books, I was swept up in the story and believed in the characters. I think this would make an excellent book gorup read as there is plenty of room for lively discussion.


Katharine Johnson is an English author who grew up in Bristol and now divides her time between Berkshire and Lucca, Italy. After doing a History degree she trained to be a journalist and has worked for a variety of magazines, writing about everything including the kitchen sink. She’s loved writing since childhood and wrote her first book aged nine. When not writing she can usually be found walking her spaniel, doing the school run, playing netball or being a room guide in a stately home.

Val Penny



  1. Thanks so much Val! I love reading your reviews and finding this one has made my day 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Val Penny

    Another great story, Katy.


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