Bibliophile | Fiona Palmer’s ‘Tiny White Lies’

Tiny White Lies
by Fiona Palmer

I love that Fiona Palmer thanks her teenage children, who were born in the age of technology, for being the inspiration for her family drama. Her main character Ashley Grisham is still recovering from her husband’s suicide eight months previously when she finds out that her only child, 15 year old Emily, is the target of online bullies.

Ashley’s closest friend Nikki Summerson’s also has a 15 year old daughter Chloe who spends most of the time taking pictures of heavily made-up herself and seems to expresses all her emotions through emojis. Meanwhile, Nikki’s 13 year old son Josh is trying to prove that they actually do have ‘unlimited data’ with his online gaming.

Palmer cites the other inspiration for her novel was her many trips to Bremer Bay, and it there that Ashley and Nikki take their families for an extended school holiday. The rustic, remote coastal collection of cabins, surrounded by rugged bushland is on a farm owned by Nikki’s husband’s brother – and there is no internet connection.

The three week holiday was meant to be about getting the kids away from technology and reconnecting with natural surroundings, but it turns out that the, more importantly, Ashley and Nikki have lost their connections to what really matters in their lives.

The little white lies are in many ways the lies people tell themselves and the things they fail to tell the people around them. Nikki can see her daughter’s obsession with make-up but fails to confront her own bodily insecurities and the fact that she is pushing her husband away. And Ashley has as much insecurity as her daughter and trying to avoid confrontation allows bullies to attack.

Fiona Palmer lives with her family in the small rural community of Pingaring which is 350 kms from Perth and is known for her books about heartbreak and love. Romance brews as personal and domestic dramas come to a head and fortunately there is some cliff-hanging drama to force the characters to realize the important things in life.

Lezly Herbert

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