Truth to Tell by Mavis Cheek

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Truth to Tell by Mavis Cheek

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Good story, thought-provoking, beautifully written and laugh out loud funny in places. What more do you want? Mavis was kind enough to talk to us about this book.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: May 2010
Publisher: Hutchinson
ISBN: 978-0091931674

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Robert Porter was angry. The politician filling the television screen was lying. He knew it. He railed against it and said politician would have thought himself lucky not to be there in person. Nina only managed to calm her husband by enquiring whether he would like red or white wine with the meal and had that been the end of the matter then that would have been the end of the matter – if you see what I mean. But the telephone rang and it was Robert's boss with details of the team-bonding office trip to Florida. Robert assured him that he was really keen to go (he wasn't) and Nina was looking forward to it too (she wasn't). And then Nina started wondering about the difference between the politician's lies and Robert's, er, evasions. Surely it must be possible to tell the truth?

And Nina determined that this is what she would do. For a week she would tell the truth in all circumstances, no matter what. That might sound quite simple, but it wasn't. For a start Nina couldn't really go on the trip to Florida feeling as she did – and then Robert lied about why she wasn't going (an ear infection – couldn't fly). Nina was upset that Robert wouldn't support her and Robert was angry that she couldn't come and support him on the trip. Off he went to Florida – and they parted with barely a civil word for each other.

When you apparently have everything – a good husband, pleasant home, children doing (reasonably) well and sufficient money to do pretty much as you please - it seems a little self-indulgent to worry about a few lies, large or small, particularly when they don't really have that much effect on your life. But Nina saw this as a matter of principle. I'm not going to tell you what happens (read the book) save that it involves Nina in a trip to Venice, the attentions of a very attractive Italian and a train journey to Edinburgh to try and salvage a friendship. Her daughter seems determined to become her mother and her mother is definitely on Robert's side.

That's the bones of the excellent story, but that's not the only reason why you read Mavis Cheek. You read her because she's a brilliant writer. This might be women's fiction – the book will appeal more to women than to men – but it belongs to a very superior part of the genre. She creates wonderful characters you believe in. There's a storyline which might sound a little obvious but isn't and she brings up issues which really make you think.

It's not just about truth, but about what is important. It's about the accommodations we all make in our daily lives which might not be strictly truthful but which are kinder than the truth. There's a gentle exploration of what marriage means, of what it means to be a parent. It will all make you think and some of it will make you laugh out loud. I loved it.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then it shouldn't be too long before you read Amenable Women which also demonstrates Mavis Cheek's ability to make you think and make you laugh.

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Buy Truth to Tell by Mavis Cheek at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Truth to Tell by Mavis Cheek at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Truth to Tell by Mavis Cheek at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Truth to Tell by Mavis Cheek at

Bookinterviews.jpg Mavis Cheek was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.


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