To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

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To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: From the author of The Nanny comes a story which will grab you and not let you go until you've turned the final page - and then you'll be thinking about the characters for days to come.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: June 2020
Publisher: Century
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1780899855

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When Lucy Bewley was nine-years-old she crept out of the house on the night of the summer solstice to watch the pagan celebrations in Stoke Woods. Her four-year-old brother, Teddy, would have woken the house if she hadn't taken him with her. But in the early hours of the morning, Lucy returned home without Teddy, hoping that he would have got home before her. He hadn't and no one has seen him since. Lucy's story was crucial to the police investigation, but it keeps subtly changing. Lucy is being advised by her imaginary friend, Eliza Grey and Eliza says that there are certain things which Lucy must not tell the police.

Thirty years later, Teddy's whereabouts are still unknown. To avoid publicity, Lucy became Lucy Brown and then her name changed again when she married Dan Harper. She's a best-selling author now and the heroine of her stories is DS Eliza Grey. Eliza still appears to Lucy, even dictates to her, and between Eliza and Dan, Lucy's life is not easy. Dan planned to be an author, probably still thinks that he is the better writer, but he's taken over the administration of Lucy's life. He works for his wife.

He does have some talents, though. He can manipulate and he can spend money. When Lucy finishes writing her fourth novel (Dan's keen on deadlines) he blindsides her by announcing that he's bought a grand house for them, backing onto Stoke Woods. Lucy is horrified - and then Dan goes missing. It's not long before the police discover Lucy's past - and now they want to know what she's done with her husband.

It's a year or so since I read Gilly Macmillan's The Nanny, so when the chance to read To Tell You the Truth came along I wasn't inclined to resist reading another well-plotted, exciting story. Would I be disappointed? No - if anything this book was even better than the last one.

The characters are excellent. Lucy's conflicted and easily manipulated: she has her childhood to thank for that. She's gathered around her some strong and quite ruthless characters. Eliza might be a figment of Lucy's imagination, but she's the character who has Lucy's best interests at heart but even she can be a bit wilful. Dan obviously resents Lucy's success, whilst taking every advantage of her earnings and furthering his own schemes. He's easy to dislike (I had no problems!) but Lucy loves him.

The plot is clever without being too clever. Once I accepted Eliza Grey as a character (an imaginary character would normally have me throwing the book against the wall) and understood Lucy's relationship with Dan, I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough and I certainly got through the book a lot sooner than I expected. My guess as to the identity of the wrong 'un wasn't even close!

I can't wait to read what Gilly Macmillan writes next and I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.

If this book appeals then do have a look at The Nanny. You might also enjoy Rules for Perfect Murders.

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