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Maelle Woolley, a shy botanist, prefers plants to people. They don't suddenly disappear. Raised on her grandparents' commune after her mother's mysterious death, she follows the commune's utopian beliefs of love for all. Then she falls for attractive psychiatrist Zachary Kane. When Zachary claims her mother and his father never emerged alive from his father's medical resea Maelle Woolley, a shy botanist, prefers plants to people. They don't suddenly disappear. Raised on her grandparents' commune after her mother's mysterious death, she follows the commune's utopian beliefs of love for all. Then she falls for attractive psychiatrist Zachary Kane. When Zachary claims her mother and his father never emerged alive from his father's medical research lab, Maelle investigates. What she discovers will challenge everything she believes, force her to find strength she never knew she had, and confront the commune's secrets and lies. What happened to love? And can it survive?


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Maelle Woolley, a shy botanist, prefers plants to people. They don't suddenly disappear. Raised on her grandparents' commune after her mother's mysterious death, she follows the commune's utopian beliefs of love for all. Then she falls for attractive psychiatrist Zachary Kane. When Zachary claims her mother and his father never emerged alive from his father's medical resea Maelle Woolley, a shy botanist, prefers plants to people. They don't suddenly disappear. Raised on her grandparents' commune after her mother's mysterious death, she follows the commune's utopian beliefs of love for all. Then she falls for attractive psychiatrist Zachary Kane. When Zachary claims her mother and his father never emerged alive from his father's medical research lab, Maelle investigates. What she discovers will challenge everything she believes, force her to find strength she never knew she had, and confront the commune's secrets and lies. What happened to love? And can it survive?

30 review for Joyous Lies

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    Spence has a way with words that's a fact. A new voice in women's fiction that you don't want to miss. The characters and the plot were so unforgettable. You are going to want to grab a copy of this and add Spence to your must read list. I gave this book 4 stars and I recommend it. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own. Spence has a way with words that's a fact. A new voice in women's fiction that you don't want to miss. The characters and the plot were so unforgettable. You are going to want to grab a copy of this and add Spence to your must read list. I gave this book 4 stars and I recommend it. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Linda Zagon

    WOW! Margaret Ann Spence, the author of “Joyous Lies” has written an intriguing, captivating, thought-provoking, memorable and riveting novel. The genres for “Joyous Lies” are Contemporary Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery and Suspense, and Family Fiction. There are two timelines in this story, one is set in the author’s present and the other is set around the Vietnam War. The author describes her characters as complex, complicated, flawed, and dysfunctional. There are secrets, betra WOW! Margaret Ann Spence, the author of “Joyous Lies” has written an intriguing, captivating, thought-provoking, memorable and riveting novel. The genres for “Joyous Lies” are Contemporary Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery and Suspense, and Family Fiction. There are two timelines in this story, one is set in the author’s present and the other is set around the Vietnam War. The author describes her characters as complex, complicated, flawed, and dysfunctional. There are secrets, betrayals, mysteries, and danger at times in this novel. This animal-loving reviewer just wants to give a warning that there are some difficult scenes and wording about animals that can be skimmed over. I remember when the Vietnam War broke out, some of the young men in New York took jobs as teachers to avoid the draft and going into a war that their heart wasn’t into. Some went to Canada, and other draft resistors made other plans. Some were terrified. Mostly I remember the young men who came home almost shell-shocked and so different. I appreciate that the author researched this era and gives a realistic and vivid presentation through her characters and events about the times. Maelle Woolley, a protagonist in this story is an orphan brought up by her commune living grandparents. Her mother was in an accident and she never knew her father. In the present, Maelle is a botanist, who understands plants and living things more than human beings. She is trying to see how plants communicate with one another. She had grown up in the commune and has some memories, but mostly is obsessed with what happened to her mother. Her grandmother knits and dyes wool to sell. There are goats, rabbits and chickens, and herbs that are sold. A few of the original members of the commune still work together. A movie producer wants to make a film about the commune today, and tell the memories of the past when Maelle’s grandfather and other men ran to escape from the draft and work the land. Maelle’s aunt has vivid memories of the past, as do the older members. There are many secrets and betrayals that might be exposed. Maelle meets a young psychiatrist who seems to remember his father being with Maelle’s mother when she died. As they investigate what happened, life might not be as Maelle would expect. I would highly recommend this deeply thought-provoking and memorable novel.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Judith Starkston

    Joyous Lies is a tale of family secrets straining the bonds of family love, and lost ideals testing the deepest held values. Spence combines a spellbinding plot with nuanced, rich characters that will reach into your heart and not let go. A documentary filmmaker disturbs the flow of life on an aging commune. But the reader soon realizes the disruptions began long before and have left their mark on three generations, particularly the women. Will the women continue the betrayals and secrets or ove Joyous Lies is a tale of family secrets straining the bonds of family love, and lost ideals testing the deepest held values. Spence combines a spellbinding plot with nuanced, rich characters that will reach into your heart and not let go. A documentary filmmaker disturbs the flow of life on an aging commune. But the reader soon realizes the disruptions began long before and have left their mark on three generations, particularly the women. Will the women continue the betrayals and secrets or overcome them? Spence’s skill as a writer of women’s fiction is beautifully revealed in the passage where she first describes the intruding filmmaker. She infuses the physical description with the feeling of menace and threat that the older woman, Johanna, feels when presented with this young woman who may expose what Johanna needs so deeply to keep concealed. “Johanna’s gaze rose to a face still in the warm bloom of youth, almost but not quite beautiful, the roman nose slightly hooked. It gave the young woman, alarmingly, an air of authority. She wore tightfitting jeans and a light brown leather jacket. Under a tan corduroy baseball cap, the visitor’s tawny hair reared up in a ponytail. She had cheekbones so high they created perfect little hills against the craters of her dark, darting eyes.” This is a novel of generational conflict, as well as conflicts arising from the clash of social justice and environmental issues. Spence dramatically combines family dynamics with thought-provoking moral reckonings.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Maelle is a shy botanist who prefers plants to people. She was orphaned as a child when her mother died in what she was told was an accident and raised in a hippie commune society by her grandmother and aunt. When Maelle’s becomes interested in psychiatrist Zach Kane, she learns that her mother and his father knew each other and her mother’s death may not have been an accident. On top of that, a filmmaker wants to do a documentary on the commune and her grandfathers siblings want to sell the lan Maelle is a shy botanist who prefers plants to people. She was orphaned as a child when her mother died in what she was told was an accident and raised in a hippie commune society by her grandmother and aunt. When Maelle’s becomes interested in psychiatrist Zach Kane, she learns that her mother and his father knew each other and her mother’s death may not have been an accident. On top of that, a filmmaker wants to do a documentary on the commune and her grandfathers siblings want to sell the land that they are all living on. With Maelles investigation into her mother’s death and the filmmakers documentary, what kind of commune secrets will be revealed? This story has so many layers to it. It’s as much about families and the secrets they keep as it is solving the mystery behind the death of Maelle’s mother. Family dynamics and dysfunction, lies, secrets, and the things we ignore for love. Told mainly between the viewpoint of Maelle and her grandmother, we see how decades of life at the commune and the secrets they keep affect generations. Spense does a wonderful job of making you feel like you are there and fleshing out the characters, even ones you may not like very much. There are some difficult topics in regards to animal activism and animal cruelty but it’s easy to skim over these brief descriptions. I found myself engrossed in the story and wanting to know what happened. At 3.75 of 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars I recommend this book and thank Suzy’s Approved Book Tours and author Margaret Ann Spense for the review copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Noor

    joyouslies Are you intrigued by ancient #hippie Communities? Do you feel plants can communicate amongst themselves? Even more, they can protect their offsprings? Is maintaining your values and standing by them, difficult in today's world? Are you a vegan or vegetarian and feel eating meat is cruelty to animals? What about experiments on animals for human good? How would it feel, losing your mother when you are just 10 & spending your childhood with your grandparents or at a children home? Do you think c joyouslies Are you intrigued by ancient #hippie Communities? Do you feel plants can communicate amongst themselves? Even more, they can protect their offsprings? Is maintaining your values and standing by them, difficult in today's world? Are you a vegan or vegetarian and feel eating meat is cruelty to animals? What about experiments on animals for human good? How would it feel, losing your mother when you are just 10 & spending your childhood with your grandparents or at a children home? Do you think child abuse exists where parents are ignorant or don't pay much heed to the signs by their kids? Do you feel as protective towards plants, towards mother earth as you would for your own children or siblings? 💜 If any of these resonate with you, touches you, please READ this book 📖 Also, there's a love story thriving irrespective of all this. 💢Joyous Lies, is a spider web of lies told, faced on and about a farm, Joyous Woods, and shows the various facets of a human being and more so, how a human reacts when in a tight spot. In Joyous Lies, two grown up kids, explore their parent's death and peel layer after layer, the dust & dirt behind their lonely childhood, respectively. ________ Release Date: February 15, 2021 About The Book: Maelle Woolley, a shy botanist, prefers plants to people. They don't suddenly disappear. Raised on her grandparents' commune after her mother's mysterious death, she follows the commune's utopian beliefs of love for all. Then she falls for attractive psychiatrist Zachary Kane. When Zachary claims her mother and his father never emerged alive from his father's medical research lab, Maelle investigates. What she discovers will challenge everything she believes, force her to find strength she never knew she had, and confront the commune's secrets and lies. What happened to love? And can it survive? __________

  6. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Heroine Uncovers Family Secrets to Live at Peace in the Present Maelle, a plant botanist starting her career, is wrapped up in her experiments to detect communication between plants. This absorption softens when she meets Zachary, a personable young psychiatrist. Even more distraction comes when she learns of a mystery surrounding her mother’s death years ago. As she probes the past, she discovers some surprising truths about the hippie commune farm where she grew up. Another crisis arises when t Heroine Uncovers Family Secrets to Live at Peace in the Present Maelle, a plant botanist starting her career, is wrapped up in her experiments to detect communication between plants. This absorption softens when she meets Zachary, a personable young psychiatrist. Even more distraction comes when she learns of a mystery surrounding her mother’s death years ago. As she probes the past, she discovers some surprising truths about the hippie commune farm where she grew up. Another crisis arises when the grandparents who raised her face the sale of the farm. Johanna, Maelle’s beloved grandmother, struggles with the loss of her home and an alienation from her husband. In portraying the two main point of view characters, Maelle and Johanna, Spence gets inside their heads so well that the reader fully experiences their dreams and frustrations. Maelle delves into her mother’s career as an investigative journalist with ties to an extremist animal rights’ organization. Quarrying the past brings her into conflict with Zachery, who links her mother to his family’s tragedies. While Maelle uproots the past, Johanna fights to stay on the farm and save her relationship with her charismatic husband. This novel will appeal to readers who want to share in detail the joys and sorrows of characters. With Maelle and Johanna, the plot is enriched by the differing viewpoints of a younger and older woman. Spence engages the senses with close descriptions of cooking that encourage the reader to join the meals. Anecdotes about organic gardening make the realities of communal life seem real and practical. This is an excellent read for sympathetic characters who strive to lead the good life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christine Phillips

    “A new world. It was always a new world, decade after decade. But it seemed to be happening outside the confines of Joyous Woods.” After the death of her mother, Maelle was raised by her hippie grandparents at Joyous Woods, a California utopian commune. Maelle, now a plant biologist living in the mainstream world, busy with her research and a serious boyfriend, is worried about what will become of her aging grandparents, who see their isolated world crumbling. Hippies get old, too. Only Grandma Jo “A new world. It was always a new world, decade after decade. But it seemed to be happening outside the confines of Joyous Woods.” After the death of her mother, Maelle was raised by her hippie grandparents at Joyous Woods, a California utopian commune. Maelle, now a plant biologist living in the mainstream world, busy with her research and a serious boyfriend, is worried about what will become of her aging grandparents, who see their isolated world crumbling. Hippies get old, too. Only Grandma JoJo has maintained the commune’s ideals. “The idea of living communally, sharing everything, never being alone, sustained her.” Now, the few members still living on the commune are forty years out of step with the world and too old and disillusioned to do the work needed to sustain the commune. Grandpa Neil, an old goat with a straggly ponytail who still thinks he has a way with the ladies, is considering a major change for the commune without the knowledge of its members. In the middle of this, Maelle learns that her mother’s death may not have been an accident. I cared and cringed and scolded and cheered these flawed, messy, misguided, idealistic, sincere, and multidimensional characters who reveal that life on the commune can be just as messy and complicated as in the larger world.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Polly Baughman

    Though wrapped up in love, one’s mistakes ripple through multiple generations. That’s the commonality in books by Margaret Ann Spence. She explores this theme with relatable, flawed characters in extraordinary circumstances. In her latest novel, she takes us through a fascinating tale of the remnants of a hippie commune, and the lost idealism shrouded in mystery that a granddaughter is ill-prepared but driven to confront. Unable to believe anything she thought she knew about her mother’s death, Though wrapped up in love, one’s mistakes ripple through multiple generations. That’s the commonality in books by Margaret Ann Spence. She explores this theme with relatable, flawed characters in extraordinary circumstances. In her latest novel, she takes us through a fascinating tale of the remnants of a hippie commune, and the lost idealism shrouded in mystery that a granddaughter is ill-prepared but driven to confront. Unable to believe anything she thought she knew about her mother’s death, the young protagonist uncovers truths about family, love and her own place in the world.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dawnny

    This is dual timeline story taking place during the Vietnam war and present day. Maelle is a botanist on her grandparents commune. She has always wondered about her mothers mysterious death. She is studying how plants communicate. A film maker wants to make a film about the commune but there are long buried secrets. When Maelle meets a young psychiatrist named Zachary who knows his father was with Maelle's mother they begin to investigate what happened to their parents secrets come to light. I w This is dual timeline story taking place during the Vietnam war and present day. Maelle is a botanist on her grandparents commune. She has always wondered about her mothers mysterious death. She is studying how plants communicate. A film maker wants to make a film about the commune but there are long buried secrets. When Maelle meets a young psychiatrist named Zachary who knows his father was with Maelle's mother they begin to investigate what happened to their parents secrets come to light. I was so easy placed into the timeline and events. This held me all the way and I had to know the ending. What a good read this was for so many reasons. A remarkable story. Dawnny Ruby Novels N Latte Hudson Valley NY

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Especially Grandma JoJo, I wanted to reach thru the book and hug her. After Maelle’s mother dies, she goes to live with her grandparents at Joyous Woods, a hippie commune with residents slightly out of touch with the current times. It’s there that Maelle learns her mother’s death may not have been an accident. This was such a well written and well rounded book. I loved the characters, and it made me feel a lot of different emotions.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Maelle lives on a utopian commune with her grandparents. She meets and falls in love with a man named Zachary, who tells her that her mom and his dad were part of medical research and never emerged from the lab. Maelle looks into this and what she discovers challenges everything she had thought she knew. This is a small book and was a very fast read. It is very well written and the plot is very tight.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I loved all the characters in this one, between Maelle and her grandparents there's so much I learned within the wonderful storytelling. To communes, Vietnam War and botany are some of the subjects brought up. These characters are so heartwarming and their emotions could easily be felt. Everything is woven together making you ask questions about love and life. I need more. I without a doubt recommend this book. Go forth and read. I loved all the characters in this one, between Maelle and her grandparents there's so much I learned within the wonderful storytelling. To communes, Vietnam War and botany are some of the subjects brought up. These characters are so heartwarming and their emotions could easily be felt. Everything is woven together making you ask questions about love and life. I need more. I without a doubt recommend this book. Go forth and read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cara Achterberg

    Fascinating setting and situations - this novel packs in every twist and turn imaginable. Hippie commune forty years later, plant research, conspiracies, murder, abuse, animal rights activists, and even a love story. My favorite character was the aging matriarch whose mix of pride and insecurity felt real. A sprawling story that will keep you guessing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Reader Views

    “Joyous Lies,” by Margaret Ann Spence, is a compelling story of secrets and lies. Main character Maelle Woolley feels more comfortable around plants than she does people. And that’s for a reason that goes back to her childhood, when she learned at an early age the people you care about aren’t always around, and others can’t be trusted. After her mother died under mysterious circumstances, Maelle grew up on a commune belonging to her grandparents, where she was influenced to believe in the utopia “Joyous Lies,” by Margaret Ann Spence, is a compelling story of secrets and lies. Main character Maelle Woolley feels more comfortable around plants than she does people. And that’s for a reason that goes back to her childhood, when she learned at an early age the people you care about aren’t always around, and others can’t be trusted. After her mother died under mysterious circumstances, Maelle grew up on a commune belonging to her grandparents, where she was influenced to believe in the utopian dream of peace and love for everyone. She matures into a brilliant botanist. A little shy and awkward, but handsome psychiatrist Zachary Kane stirs up feelings she’s unaccustomed to. But Zachary offers information that rocks her world, and that is that her parents didn’t survive his father’s medical research facility. She is compelled to look into it, and what she finds out flies in the face of what she thought was true. Disillusioned but determined, Maelle has to dig deep to face the commune’s deceptions and find out if she can believe in love again. Spence has crafted a suspenseful mystery that involves readers from beginning to end. I really like the author’s attention to character development, especially with protagonist Maelle. Through descriptions and actions, we come to learn about her personality, her motivations, her hopes, fears, and beliefs. Maelle isn’t a cookie-cutter character, and she isn’t that bold, at least in the beginning, preferring to play it safe among her plants. But we witness her growth and change along with her as she encounters revelations and truths she never expected. Zachary the psychiatrist is an interesting character too, and they play off of each other well. The idea of using a commune as a feature of the story is intriguing, as well as the medical aspects. Thanks to Spence’s detail and story development, I found myself interested in the plant work Maelle is involved in, and maybe you will too. The author has created a thoroughly intriguing and entertaining storyline that challenges the characters and gives readers plenty to sort out along the way. “Joyous Lies,” by Margaret Ann Spence, will be a joy for fans of mystery and suspense.

  15. 5 out of 5

    N.N. Light

    Maelle Wooley would rather be around plants than people. After her mother’s suspicious death, Maelle was raised on her grandparents’ commune and blindly believes in the main tenant of the commune: love one another. All her beliefs are called into question when she falls in love with Zachary Kane. He challenges her to uncover the truth. She investigates and what she finds will shock her. The commune’s secrets are exposed and her trust crumbles. Can Maelle learn to love through the pain or will sh Maelle Wooley would rather be around plants than people. After her mother’s suspicious death, Maelle was raised on her grandparents’ commune and blindly believes in the main tenant of the commune: love one another. All her beliefs are called into question when she falls in love with Zachary Kane. He challenges her to uncover the truth. She investigates and what she finds will shock her. The commune’s secrets are exposed and her trust crumbles. Can Maelle learn to love through the pain or will she retreat to her plants and joyous lies? Joyous Lies is a brilliant story of one woman’s strength to break through the concrete wall of lies surrounding her to uncover the truth. I’ve never lived in a commune, but I have been a part of a family where lies are told to ‘protect’ others. Protecting someone by lying is an entrenched theme in Joyous Lies. I found it an engrossing read, filled with dramatic tension, plot twists, and a heroine I connected with on so many levels. The character-driven plot moves at a great pace with natural ebbs and flows. What makes Joyous Lies such an unforgettable read is the research Margaret Ann Spence must have done. Intricate narration and historical accuracies add incredible depth to this story. It allowed me to see the consequences of war in a whole new light. If you love family drama, you’ll want to read Joyous Lies. If you’re looking for a women’s fiction you can’t put down, pick up Joyous Lies. Highly recommend! Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author in the hopes I'd review it. My Rating: 5 stars Reviewed by: Mrs. N This review first appeared: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/po...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Rozier

    About the Book: When Maelle is 10 years old, Maelle’s mother, Angela, dies in an accident. Marelle is then raised on a commune, Joyous Woods, that her grandparents began when her grandfather, Neil, was dodging the Vietnam war draft. Now, Maelle Woolley is a 25 year old botanist that is working on her PhD. Her research focuses on plant communication. After a visit to Joyous Woods for Maelle to introduce her new boyfriend, Zachary, to her grandparents, Zachary has memories of visiting Joyous Woods as About the Book: When Maelle is 10 years old, Maelle’s mother, Angela, dies in an accident. Marelle is then raised on a commune, Joyous Woods, that her grandparents began when her grandfather, Neil, was dodging the Vietnam war draft. Now, Maelle Woolley is a 25 year old botanist that is working on her PhD. Her research focuses on plant communication. After a visit to Joyous Woods for Maelle to introduce her new boyfriend, Zachary, to her grandparents, Zachary has memories of visiting Joyous Woods as a teenager with his father. That visit opens up a vat of past secrets that will cause Maelle to question her family and her mother’s death. My Thoughts: This was a completely fascinating and engrossing book for me. There is the element of the mysterious circumstances behind the death of Maelle’s mom which is an engaging part of the plot. But this book is so much deeper than just that mystery. This book delves into the history and life of the commune and how in the quest to live off the grid, there were a multitude of people that suffered. The characters are richly woven. I found myself invested in these characters and their stories. There was a character at the beginning of the novel I thought of as being such a good person but by page 262, I was angry at them for not being the person I pictured them to be! This books delves into the past, the natural world and how living simply is not simple at all. Thank you to the author and Suzy Approved Tours for the chance to read and give my honest opinions.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Wafler

    Joyous Lies is not a love story, though it contains two subplots of beautiful relationships first that of shy botanist Maelle Woolley and psychiatrist Zachary Kane, and an unconventional yet often troubled one between Maelle's grandmother and her decades-long partner. I was hooked on Joyous Lies upon reading a description of falling in love unlike I've read before. This from Spence's character Maelle, " . . . underneath, in the hidden recesses of her body, she felt herself growing toward Zachary Joyous Lies is not a love story, though it contains two subplots of beautiful relationships first that of shy botanist Maelle Woolley and psychiatrist Zachary Kane, and an unconventional yet often troubled one between Maelle's grandmother and her decades-long partner. I was hooked on Joyous Lies upon reading a description of falling in love unlike I've read before. This from Spence's character Maelle, " . . . underneath, in the hidden recesses of her body, she felt herself growing toward Zachary Kane like the underground networks of mycorrhizae connecting the trees of the forest. The main story awash with metaphors and vivid language connecting Maelle's work with plants to her life growing up on a working hippie commune begins when developers are interested in the land, while at the same time a documentarian shows up to interview those still living at the old homeplace. And then the su-SPENCE begins eeked out in shattering phrases. Maelle's relationship with Zachary is supplanted by horrific truths, not only about what went on at Joyous Woods in the sixties but about Maelle's childhood. Seeking the truth beneath a viper's nest of anything but joyous truths, what Maelle finds brought to mind for me The Stepford Wives--that level of insidious manipulation, evil, and deceit. As the story races to a conclusion, Maelle's devastation is complete. Her every belief is challenged. Yet she emerges as a woman of strength and summons the power to turn the past into concentric circles of redemptive joy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Albright

    This book was fascinating, disturbing, and enlightening. The author created a commune that on the surface appears one way, but hides a lot of secrets and desperation underneath. The following statements are a few of my observations. The research into plant life was so interesting that I want to discover more about it. The look inside animal activism and what really goes on in laboratories was incredibly sad to me. The description of how the Vietnam war draft worked was something I was unfamiliar This book was fascinating, disturbing, and enlightening. The author created a commune that on the surface appears one way, but hides a lot of secrets and desperation underneath. The following statements are a few of my observations. The research into plant life was so interesting that I want to discover more about it. The look inside animal activism and what really goes on in laboratories was incredibly sad to me. The description of how the Vietnam war draft worked was something I was unfamiliar with and put a different spin on possible reasons for avoiding it. The whole idea of a free love utopia and the reality of actually making it work are two very different things and aren't necessarily achievable together. I enjoyed seeing how the author blended all of this information into a cohesive story with characters that felt so real. I was hoping the main character, Maelle, would get the answers she needed, but also, as in real life, they were not the ones she wanted. The mystery aspect of the story was well-developed and I'm inspired to do some research of my own into issues of that time. This book has given me a lot to think about. I received a gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Molly Jaber (Cover To Cover Cafe)

    I will admit that sometimes the dual timelines will confuse me, leaving me wanting more from a novel. But, Spence’s novel didn’t do that with me. In fact, the dual timelines actually enhanced the story, keeping me up, turning the pages long into the night. The added twists of secrets and needing to know the answers made this a wonderfully captivating read! Maelle, and Zachary, are both wonderfully chiseled characters. I felt their emotions as my own. I could feel myself being transported to the h I will admit that sometimes the dual timelines will confuse me, leaving me wanting more from a novel. But, Spence’s novel didn’t do that with me. In fact, the dual timelines actually enhanced the story, keeping me up, turning the pages long into the night. The added twists of secrets and needing to know the answers made this a wonderfully captivating read! Maelle, and Zachary, are both wonderfully chiseled characters. I felt their emotions as my own. I could feel myself being transported to the heart of their story, helping to hunt for the answers,questioning all that they knew. I always told my mom I was born in the wrong era, and reading this story, feeling myself become a member of the commune that Maelle lives at, truly proves, I am a flower child at heart! The pain, the sorrow, the questions, the love……all of it woven together by Spence’s talented hands. It turns out an unforgettable story that will leave you asking yourself questions about love and life. It will leave you wanting to add Spence to a list of authors who you must read more of! I can’t wait to read more 4 star worthy work from this truly talented author! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Author/Publisher and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lovemybooks2020 Cindy Ward

    ⁣ I’ll admit - I love animals. They make me so happy. Especially dogs and puppies. And frankly, I like them more than most people. They provide unconditional love and are so darn cute! So when I read the synopsis for 𝙅𝙤𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙇𝙞𝙚𝙨 by Margaret Ann Spence, the main character rang true to me. But rather than animals, she prefers plants 🪴 over people.⁣ ⁣ 𝗦𝘂𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗿𝘆⁣ Maelle Woolley, a shy botanist, prefers plants to people. They don't suddenly disappear. Raised on her grandparents' commune after her mother's ⁣ I’ll admit - I love animals. They make me so happy. Especially dogs and puppies. And frankly, I like them more than most people. They provide unconditional love and are so darn cute! So when I read the synopsis for 𝙅𝙤𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙇𝙞𝙚𝙨 by Margaret Ann Spence, the main character rang true to me. But rather than animals, she prefers plants 🪴 over people.⁣ ⁣ 𝗦𝘂𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗿𝘆⁣ Maelle Woolley, a shy botanist, prefers plants to people. They don't suddenly disappear. Raised on her grandparents' commune after her mother's mysterious death, she follows the commune's utopian beliefs of love for all. Then she falls for attractive psychiatrist Zachary Kane. When Zachary claims her mother and his father never emerged alive from his father's medical research lab, Maelle investigates. ⁣ ⁣ What she discovers will challenge everything she believes, force her to find strength she never knew she had, and confront the commune's secrets and lies. What happened to love? And can it survive?⁣ ⁣ A huge thanks to @suzyapprovedbooktours and @margaret_ann_spence for this gifted copy. ⁣. It’s a fabulous cozy mystery. ⁣ ⁣

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Margaret Ann Spence has skillfully woven intrigue and mystery into the story of a child who grew up on a communal farm following a mysterious accident that killed her mother. As Maelle matures and becomes a research scientist, she chooses to study plant communication, finding evidence they can anticipate things that will either nourish or harm them, and even signal threats to their existence to nearby plants: abilities she wishes her own family possessed. She seeks to learn the truth about her mo Margaret Ann Spence has skillfully woven intrigue and mystery into the story of a child who grew up on a communal farm following a mysterious accident that killed her mother. As Maelle matures and becomes a research scientist, she chooses to study plant communication, finding evidence they can anticipate things that will either nourish or harm them, and even signal threats to their existence to nearby plants: abilities she wishes her own family possessed. She seeks to learn the truth about her mother’s accident, but cannot get past the wall of emotions her family had tamped down decades ago—emotions that influenced decisions made and surrounded betrayals overlooked as the community evolved, all to preserve a lifestyle they intensely believed in. Maelle unearths the remnants of communal culture and its own inherent inequities, taking us on a beautiful journey to unravel family ties bound by dreams, love, betrayal, mistrust, forgiveness, redemption, and hope. It is a journey not to be missed.

  22. 5 out of 5

    BooksCoffee

    Replete with drama and taut with suspense, this splendid, beautifully written tale by Spence explores relationships, family ties, and the sudden, destructive power, the long-buried secrets and lies hold on enduring bonds and evolving relationships. After her mother’s death, ten-year-old Maelle Woolley has spent her time among nature on her grandparents’ commune. Now a grown-up woman, Maelle is content pursuing her career of a botanist. But when the enigmatic Zachary Kane, a research psychiatrist Replete with drama and taut with suspense, this splendid, beautifully written tale by Spence explores relationships, family ties, and the sudden, destructive power, the long-buried secrets and lies hold on enduring bonds and evolving relationships. After her mother’s death, ten-year-old Maelle Woolley has spent her time among nature on her grandparents’ commune. Now a grown-up woman, Maelle is content pursuing her career of a botanist. But when the enigmatic Zachary Kane, a research psychiatrist, enters Maelle’s life, disturbing old secrets resurface, threatening to unravel Maelle’s seemingly content life. Spence is an expert when it comes to mapping the troubled family dynamics, which she does with relative ease as family bonds stretch to a breaking point. The characters, including major and minor are sketched with skill and perception, and their backstories adeptly evoked. Maelle’s journey of getting to the truth of her parents’ death is moving as she struggles to redefine herself in the wake of disturbing secrets. Poignant and emotionally rich, this is a winner.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Vietnam protests Hippie Communes Family Secrets Joyous Lies includes all of the above and more. I was a teenager at the end of the Vietname War and I remember the college protests and the hippie Era. The author explained the draft and how people escaped the draft by going to Canada or creating Communes. One of the Communes was Joyous Woods. The communes learned that it was not all Peace, Love, not War. It was hard work.When a reporter comes to Joyous Woods to film a documentary, Johanna worries tha Vietnam protests Hippie Communes Family Secrets Joyous Lies includes all of the above and more. I was a teenager at the end of the Vietname War and I remember the college protests and the hippie Era. The author explained the draft and how people escaped the draft by going to Canada or creating Communes. One of the Communes was Joyous Woods. The communes learned that it was not all Peace, Love, not War. It was hard work.When a reporter comes to Joyous Woods to film a documentary, Johanna worries that commune secrets will be revealed. Maelle grew up in the commune when her mother died in an accident when she was ten. She is now a botanist trying to prove that plants communicate. She falls on love with psychiatrist Zachary Kane. Zach reveals that his father and her mother died in a fire at a research lab. Maelle starts to investigate what really happened to her mother and secrets are slowly revealed. I enjoyed this story and it bought back memories from my teen years. The author reveals secrets at a steady pace that kept me turning pages to find out more.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca D

    4/5 ⭐️ Thank you to @suzyapprovedbooktours for my copy of Joyous Lies. This naively is a well crafted piece of women’s fiction. The tale interwoven is one that you certainly won’t want to miss. The story was so rich and the writing style so perfect that I think Margaret Ann Spence is sure to be one of my must reads going forward. Maelle is a botanist who was raised on a commune by her grandmother after her mother mysteriously passed away. Zachary tells her that her mother was with his father in a 4/5 ⭐️ Thank you to @suzyapprovedbooktours for my copy of Joyous Lies. This naively is a well crafted piece of women’s fiction. The tale interwoven is one that you certainly won’t want to miss. The story was so rich and the writing style so perfect that I think Margaret Ann Spence is sure to be one of my must reads going forward. Maelle is a botanist who was raised on a commune by her grandmother after her mother mysteriously passed away. Zachary tells her that her mother was with his father in an accident at his father’s lab. Ultimately this leads Mealle to question what she believes about her life and the commune. . . . . . #booksharks #bookshivers #bibliophile #bookreview #booklover #bookaddict #avidreader #instabooks #justkeepreading #readersgonnaread #bionicbookbabes #bookiehelper

  25. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Turley

    This s a great family drama that deals with some historical, hippy and commune type elements, lots of family issues, secrets and lies, it was quite involved the entire way through. It’s a really fast moving plot with so many interwoven storylines that really manages to keep the reader on edge the entire way through. I loved the way Margaret Ann Spence’s imagination shines through. Her love for the era is apparent and the story is really unique. Perfect characters who are full of many different ele This s a great family drama that deals with some historical, hippy and commune type elements, lots of family issues, secrets and lies, it was quite involved the entire way through. It’s a really fast moving plot with so many interwoven storylines that really manages to keep the reader on edge the entire way through. I loved the way Margaret Ann Spence’s imagination shines through. Her love for the era is apparent and the story is really unique. Perfect characters who are full of many different elements, not a single one fell flat. They were all very well crafted and I enjoyed watching their journeys.

  26. 4 out of 5

    R.K. Emery

    This book is so superbly written! It has such a fresh storyline that was well put together. I think the cover does a great job of setting the mood. I loved the theme of this novel. It's a great story about finding oneself in a time when everything seems to be a disaster. Wonderful characters, multi-dimensional and believable. A plot that's pacing is right on and captivating, there are just not enough good things to say about this book. Margaret Ann Spence has a beautiful and smooth writing style. This book is so superbly written! It has such a fresh storyline that was well put together. I think the cover does a great job of setting the mood. I loved the theme of this novel. It's a great story about finding oneself in a time when everything seems to be a disaster. Wonderful characters, multi-dimensional and believable. A plot that's pacing is right on and captivating, there are just not enough good things to say about this book. Margaret Ann Spence has a beautiful and smooth writing style. It was very easy to follow.

  27. 4 out of 5

    C. Gonzales

    This book is deep. It deals with real life issues, it's honest and doesn't skirt around things. The author really brings us a strong female lead. I loved how we could connect with her from the start. Full of ups and downs, light and comedic moments to lighten things, and a great cast of characters. I loved that it was not too bogged down. It's a quick read that is full of so much but actually short. This book is deep. It deals with real life issues, it's honest and doesn't skirt around things. The author really brings us a strong female lead. I loved how we could connect with her from the start. Full of ups and downs, light and comedic moments to lighten things, and a great cast of characters. I loved that it was not too bogged down. It's a quick read that is full of so much but actually short.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Richardson

    This is the 1st book I've read written by Margaret Ann Spence; I can’t wait to read more of her books. She has written a good book; Maelle discovers some things surrounding her mothers death aren’t really what she’s always been told so she starts investigating what really happened. I received a free copy of this book via booksprout and I’m voluntarily leaving a review. This is the 1st book I've read written by Margaret Ann Spence; I can’t wait to read more of her books. She has written a good book; Maelle discovers some things surrounding her mothers death aren’t really what she’s always been told so she starts investigating what really happened. I received a free copy of this book via booksprout and I’m voluntarily leaving a review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mitch Ryan

    Great story! You can broaden your audience by publishing your story on NovelStar Mobile App.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    A fantastic historical women’s fiction read. The dual timeline was perfectly executed and this book flowed well right to the end. After tragically loosing her mother, Maelle grew up with her grandparents in Joyous Woods a commune where she grew to love plants. Spreading her wings she leaves and goes to school becoming a plant biologist which fits her so well. With her aging grandparents not wanting to leave the commune and finding out her mother’s death may have not been a accident Maelle will f A fantastic historical women’s fiction read. The dual timeline was perfectly executed and this book flowed well right to the end. After tragically loosing her mother, Maelle grew up with her grandparents in Joyous Woods a commune where she grew to love plants. Spreading her wings she leaves and goes to school becoming a plant biologist which fits her so well. With her aging grandparents not wanting to leave the commune and finding out her mother’s death may have not been a accident Maelle will face her hardest days. Will she be able to accept the truth in the Joyous lies she finds? This is a must read family drama I thoroughly enjoyed!

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