“It all started with the email.
Rachel didn’t even mean to look. She loves Jack and she’s pregnant with their child. She trusts him.
But now she’s seen it, she can’t undo that moment. Or the chain of events it has set in motion.
Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn’t Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost?”
Everything But The Truth is one of those books that has you asking yourself “What would I have done in this situation?” the whole way through, and from more than one point of view. Rachel is expecting a baby with her dream man Jack after a whirlwind romance. Unable to sleep one night Rachel sees the header of an email sent to Jack’s Ipad which arouses her suspicions that Jack may not be the man he claims to be. Unsure whether or not her pregnancy hormones are causing her anxiety and paranoia, Rachel is unable to forget the email she saw, and slowly piece by piece, starts to unravel the truth.
This is a slow burning but steady paced mystery that is layered with lies and deceit. Set partly in Newcastle in the North of England, and partly in Oban in Scotland, the author brings alive the locations so well that at one point I could smell the sea air in Oban, and the tang of the salt and vinegar carried from a seafront chippy. Told from Rachel’s point of view, the narrative switches between present day, and an event one year ago, when she was working as a paediatrician. The characters are relatable, you can understand and empathise with both points of view. That is one of the most unique points of this novel, as at times I could not decide whose side I was on. Both Rachel and Jack played to my understanding nature.
There are a good few twists and turns that keeps up the intrigue and suspense. Lie after lie is exposed, and every time Rachel thinks she has got to the bottom of it another layer is ripped away again, leaving her wondering how far down she will have to dig, to get to the truth. There is a dark undercurrent running through the whole book giving it a sinister edge, and causing a feeling of unease, compelling you to keep turning the pages to discover what is going to happen next.
This is a cleverly written, intelligent book and a fantastic debut novel from the author. Overall rating four fabulous stars. Thanks to Gillian McCallister, Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy.