2017 Book Reviews · Debut Books

Everything But The Truth by Gillian McAllister

‘Just how much can you trust the person you love?

Everything but the Truth is Gillian McAllister’s stunning breakthrough thriller about deceit, betrayal and one woman’s compulsive need to uncover the truth

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?’

Where to start with this book? I don’t even know… I don’t know what I was expecting… I certainly wasn’t expecting to pick this book up and then not have it leave my hands for twenty-four hours, literally. The result of being so utterly obsessed with finishing this book and finding out all it’s secrets resulted in me burning my hand whilst curling my hair, burning the dinner and then myself as I realised my sausages where BLACK, inside and out, that is a skill only I am capable of!

This book consumed my life and left me broken, because I just couldn’t pick up another book, all I kept thinking about was Everything But The Truth!

Rachel and Jack are just starting out in their relationship, it’s very new and all-consuming for the both of them. He is from Scotland and she is from Newcastle, they met when he saw her in the street and asked her a question about a statue he was looking for, from that moment on things moved quickly and now they are expecting a baby with one another. Their relationship is what all singletons admire too, full of friendship, love and kindness. They dote on one another and cannot keep their hands off of one another. One of the sweetest things about just how much they simply adore each other is how Rachel can even love all his flaws, the fact he is a hypochondriac and seems to have a form of OCD, she never seems to get frustrated with that behavior and is very supportive of it.

Jack is a freelance journalist and comes from a very wealthy background, his parents own a whiskey distillery that has been passed down from generation to generation. As for Rachel she is a Doctor who no longer practices medicine due to something that happened to a boy in the hospital she worked in. She recently lost her mum to cancer, quickly, too quickly, there were no warning signs and no one would have ever known, but even so with her medical background she feels that she should have seen SOMETHING. After her mum died they discovered that she was having an affair and so their entire lives where a lie, which leads to Rachel becoming very distrustful to all of those around her, esp her then boyfriend Ben, she was so sure he was cheating on her she would demand to check his phone and doubt the words he spoke and in the end she pushed and pushed so much that she pushed him too far and he walked away.

One night Rachel reads an email on Jack’s iPad, an email that picks away at her curiosity, it mentions another man but suggests that ‘ man who shares a history with Jack , an atrocity no less. When Rachel casually mentions the email to Jack he brushes it off as a work email and Rachel instantly becomes suspicious as to why he would lie. It’s from this moment on that Rachel starts to look closer at Jack and starts to discover other lies he is telling and the way when she questions him his entire demeanor changes, the way he NEVER leaves his phone, how he always turns it away from her and how it’s always face down when he isn’t using it. The first time she meets his friends comments are made that he quickly shuts down with looks and gestures he makes when he thinks she doesn’t notice. There is also the time he pretty much manhandles her out of his flat and pretty much demands she drops him off to a meeting he is late for, he desperately grabs all her belongings and there is a fear about him, like he doesn’t want her in his flat alone. Then there is the incident where she is out with Jack and his family in Scotland and they are shouted at by an elderly woman, she is fraught and distressed at seeing them and Jack looks horrified but his dad quickly tells a story about how its him that she is mad at. All of these incidents and comments made from family start to cause Rachel to delve into what Jack could be possibly be hiding from her and whether he truly is who he says he is. All the while her own past is constantly right there bringing up memories and secrets of her own.

I absolutely bloody loved this book, as soon as I started reading it. The way that Gillian writes had me hooked and invested in the characters lives instantly, I was so taken in with Jack and Rachel’s relationship, the way they looked at each other, the gentle touches, the way they felt so safe and comfortable with each other, something they hadn’t had with other people. And the fact that even though they had only just met and were still getting to know one another, they were going to love this baby and each other so brilliantly. So as soon as  we read his email, and I say we because I was invested so much as this point that I also felt curious as to what the hell that email was about and I also needed to get to the bottom of what the hell was going on.

I really loved how no matter what was happening and what Rachel was slowly unraveling, her love for Jack never wavers, it’s how he makes her feel that always makes her doubt whether what she finds out will change how she feels about him, because I think that part of the story is so real and so full of truth. No matter what, if someone you are in love with makes you feel good and you can see they are a good person you will always want to forgive, if you can. So her torment was real and it leaped from the page and wrapped itself around you.

It wasn’t just what was happening between Rachel and Jack that had me gripped to the pages, it was what happened to Rachel with the boy at the hospital too. I kept thinking I knew how that was going to play out and I was completely wrong! The way we only got snipets into that story throughout the present day was enthralling and I constantly found myself desperate to get to the next part and equally with Jack and Rachel, every time we went back to Rachel’s past I wanted to get back to the present. Throughout the book I had a NEED to finish it, I was utterly compelled and I felt the desperation that Rachel did, the NEED for the truth. The way that Jack was holding something back, Gillian was doing the same to me, a reader, and the desperation I felt was equal to Rachel’s!

Everything But The Truth draws you into what seems a perfect couple and perfect life and shatters that illusion into a billion pieces with a simple email, and from that moment on every move he makes, every facial expression he pulls, every word he speaks is up for dissecting and analysing. What’s so real about this book is how Rachel reading that email and then taking her stalking abilities further and further throughout the book could be any one of us, we all have that curiosity in us and it’s about knowing when you are over-stepping the line, knowing when it’s not up to you to find out information and knowing when information should be given to you willingly. It also looks at how life isn’t simply black and white, how it’s mostly grey, how sometimes we think certain things in life should and must be a certain way, but in fact when you delve deeper and really look at the reasons behind people’s actions that there is almost always a reason why.

Everything But The Truth is all consuming, compelling, intriguing, utterly gripping and completely impossible to put down. A debut from an author who is about to have an army of fans desperate for more books, I am certainly one of them!

Out March 9th and a must buy! You can pre-order it right now!

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