Friday, July 2, 2010


Author: M. L. Malcolm
Copyright June 8, 2010
Paperback $ 13.99
ISBN 978-0-06-196218-9
336 pages

There is something special about a book that makes you love each character, flaws and gifts. That is HEART OF LIES.

Leo Hoffman was born in Hungary with a natural ability to easily learn languages. This unusual ability allows him into circles of influential people whom he would not otherwise interact. Due to his being part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his country allying themselves with Germany during World War I, Leo discovers that his good-looks and his ease with languages opens opportunities to become almost another person. This person is someone educated, handsome, influential, and wealthy. Through his association with some unscrupulous characters, he finds himself being involved with stealing diamonds and murder.

Just at this time, he falls in love with Martha while instantaneously spotting her in Paris. Both are truly victims of love at first site. Promising to meet her but having to flee for his life, he rebuilds his life in Shanghai and eventually sends for Martha to become his wife. Even there, he uses the stolen diamonds to reestablish himself as a rich and powerful player in the business world.

Leo’s story revolves around events in America, Asia, and Europe from the 1920s into the next World War. He always is involved with the shadier side of business while appearing to be legal, while actually having international illegal business interactions.

Besides the characters, the strength is the accurate historical references to numerous events that are not well-known in this country such as the Hungarian counterfeiting scandal of 1925, the rubber market fiasco in 1925, the stock market crash of 1929 and the effects around the world, events involving Chiang Kai-shek in China, Shanghai’s bombing in 1937, forging passports, the Japanese invading Shanghai, Hitler’s influence in Germany and the world in the 1930s, the Irish immigration into America, and the expulsion of the Jews through Europe.

The lies involve Leo with his family who has no idea of these problematic situations in his businesses. Leo’s wife, Martha who is Jewish, has difficulties with her family and has no clue of Leo’s promiscuous or risky behavior. Maddy is the daughter of Leo and Martha who has musical gifts that unfortunately are overlooked in the strict Catholic educational system. Amelia, who is Leo’s mistress, has her own values and priorities.

M. L. Malcolm is a graduate of Harvard Law School. Now, as a recovering attorney, she has lived in Florida, Boston, Washington, D.C., France, New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. She has already won recognition in the Lorian Hemingway International Short Story Competition and the silver medal from ForeWord magazine for the Historical Fiction Book of the Year.

HEART OF LIES is the third printing of this exquisite account based on the author’s husband’s family with an added poetic license. Originally this was published in 2005 by Longstreet Press and again in 2008 as SILENT LIES by A Good Read Publishing.

My regret with HEART OF LIES is that there will be a sequel. The story concludes, but not completely. I definitely plan to read that sequel and anything else written by M. L. Malcolm.

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