Published February 1, 2013 by Random Romance (Digital Imprint by Random House Australia )
E-book supplied by Publisher via NetGalley
One Little White Lie is a delightful little novella from one of Australia’s best selling emerging authors Loretta Hill. It’s quick paced, light and a fairly entertaining read that is both similar and different from Hill’s debut novel The Girl in the Steel Capped Boots (2012) and her follow up The Girl in the Hard Hat (2013).
Unlike her current series of books set within the Pilbara, One Little White Lie is set in Sydney and follows the story of Kate, a dirt-poor university student who is struggling with relationship issues whilst completing her PHD. Having become almost a recluse following a bad relationship, Kate’s best friend Lisa, a serial match-maker, is determined to get her back into the dating game, no matter the cost or methods. Constantly bombarded with blind dates and obvious set ups, Kate puts her foot down only to find herself in the biggest scheme Lisa has ever thought up, and all because of Kate’s little white lie. Now with a pretend boyfriend who is requesting official dates and a chance, Kate finds herself walking a path she had never wanted to travel again.
The characters are alive and vibrant and it’s hard not to be drawn into their little world. My only complaint is that having finished the novella now I want more. I loved being given a famous and handsome author as a male protagonist (Henry) and a strong independent female university student completing her PhD (Kate). In a way it was kind of a relief not to have ditsy characters that ‘giggle’ and ‘blush’ and bounce around all the time. All of which helped to not only create and set the scene, but also create an engaging story that becomes hard to put down. I know I didn’t want too.
Initially I was interested to see how Hill’s style would change given the format change (novels to novella) and the setting change (Rural to a more Urban setting) and ultimately I think Hill has pulled these both off. While its true that in terms of content, the issues faced in One Little White Lie are not as ‘serious’ and big as those in her novels, I don’t think they are any less real or engaging. In fact, despite only being given a snap shot of Kate and Henry’s lives and relationships, Loretta Hill deals really well with some of humanities more unflattering traits. A large portion of the novella deals with the types of shallow and ugliness that success can bring out in people. For “it seemed the more successful he got, the less sincere people became. He’d met a startling number since then who had basically wanted to know him for one of three things. Money. Fame. Status.”
Ultimately the story’s designed to be read in one setting, and true to form, it’s an easy and entertaining read making it easy to do so. Like her previous work, this novella has everything a good chick lit/contemporary fiction novel has: feel good writing, dreamy characters and a beautiful love story and relationships. While she may not be tackling as big or problematic issues as she does in her novels, Loretta Hill still manages to explore basic human fears and relationships while casting light over some unattractive social traits. As usual, Loretta Hill proves once again not only why she is a best selling author, but also many readers guilty pleasures.