Melissa Hill is one of my favourite authors. She writes fabulous books about Irish women, mainly facing everyday issues but always with a twist in the tale that keeps the reader on her toes. This is one of the reasons that I love reading her books, and I always try to guess what the twist is likely to be and I am always wrong! Because of this I find her novels fresh and original but also with a formula that I know that I will enjoy. I have just finished reading her book 'The truth about you' and it did not disappoint me at all.
The book starts with a bit of a mystery. A tiny baby has been left on the doorstep of Ella's café in the tiny quiet town of Lakeview not far from Dublin. No one knows who's baby it is and why it has been left. Still puzzling over these facts, the reader is then transported a few months back in time and meets the three main characters Nina, Ruth and Jess who all find themselves Lakeview.
Ruth was born in the town but is now a very successful Hollywood actress. After an unfortunate drunken night with her handsome co-star, she is hounded by the press when she returns to Ireland and starts to find solace in the peace and quiet of her home town, especially after she bumps into her former boyfriend, Charlie. Nina has broken up with her boyfriend Steve and also returns to Lakeview to live with her distant father in order to lick her wounds. Finally, there is Jess, who although she has never lived in the town, is a constant visitor as her two best friends have moved there with their families. Jess can't help being made to feel like an outsider though, as she is the only one of her friends without children and desperately wants to join the 'mummy club'. The three women start to form friendships but they all have something to hide and are not being entirely honest with each other. Oh, and of course, there's that mystery about the abandoned baby too. Throughout the book I was desperately trying to work out the connection, but yet again, Melissa Hill had a surprise in store, and it was not what I expected at all!
'The Truth About You' is an absolutely brilliant book that explores modern day lives and relationships so well. All three main characters are immensely likeable and you can not help but be drawn into their eventful lives and hope that things turn out well. Pregnancy and babies are a key theme and, as a mother, I found that it was easy to identify with the women's feelings on the matter. I really felt for Jess and how it felt to be excluded because of being the one without children and could emphasise with her strong desire to join the club so to speak!
I think that 'The Truth About You' is a very well written book that held my interest from beginning to end. I liked the way Melissa Hill moved between the three characters in the different chapters but also inter weaved their stories well. As I was reading, I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen to each of the women, and as a consequence, it only took me a couple of days to read the entire book.
If you enjoy contemporary women's fiction, I feel sure that you will enjoy this book. Also, if you have yet to read any of Melissa Hill's novels, 'The Truth About You' would be an excellent one to start with.
The Truth About You came out in paperback on 28th April 2011 and is currently available on Amazon for only £3.59 (June 2011).
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.curiousbookfans.co.uk
When the baby is found on the doorstep of Ella's café, everyone asks - what sort of parent would abandon their child? Jess feels increasingly left out as the only non-mum amongst her friends. Terrified she might lose them altogether, she embarks on becoming a mother too. But is she really ready? Hollywood actress Ruth Seymour is home in the small town of Lakeview for the summer. But has an ill-advised fling with a handsome co-star resulted in a seriously unplanned consequence? Nina has come to live with her estranged father, Patrick, after a bad break-up. But will she ever dare tell him about the secret she is concealing? One thing's for sure: someone knows more than they're telling. And the truth won't stay hidden forever...
I'm a huge fan of Melissa Hill. Her novels regularly surprise me and each twist and turn is something I guess at and inevitably get wrong. There are now only two of her novels I haven't yet read and it will only be a matter of time before I do. Her latest book - and the one I'm reviewing - it The Truth About You which came out last year. It's sat on my shelf for ages, mainly because Melissa is an author I like to keep on my TBR shelf because she's the kind of author who I enjoy reading because she always keeps me guessing. But with a new Melissa book around the corner, it was time for me to find out all about the surprise baby left on Ella's cafe door!
The start of The Truth About You is brilliant. There's a Prologue where we learn about the abandoned baby and it definitely grabbed my attention. We're then introduced to our three main characters: Nina, Jess and Ruth. All are pregnant or, in Jess's case, want to get pregnant and the novel is definitely very baby-centric. I must admit, as a girl in her early twenties, books about pregnancy do have the tendency to bore me. It's not really something that interests me and I don't get all the hype mothers-to-be feel. I just don't have the attention span to focus on a novel so centered around babies and The Truth About You is heavily-pregnancy influenced. It's inescapable.
In part, I think all the baby stuff goes a long way to explaining why I skim-read the majority of the novel. I got 200 pages in and nothing was happening. It kills me to say that, but although there were many balls up in the air - the abandoned baby, mainly - there was no advancement on that. It was like the baby was abandoned, we were told of it and then it didn't come up again in any capacity except for the ending of the novel. Instead all we got was Nina and Ruth struggling with their pregnancies and Jess desperately trying to get pregnant so she can fit into her friends' mummy club. I kept waiting for something to happen, but for me the book just fell really flat.
I must admit, despite my thoughts on the plot itself, part of my enjoyment of the novel came from the characters. Because they were very well written. Nina is the lynch-pin of the three, moving back to Lakeview after breaking up with her boyfriend and I warmed to her fairly quickly. She has to deal not only with her pregnancy but with a reticent dad. I wasn't expecting to find myself liking Ruth, who is an actress in LA, but I found her more down-to-Earth than I expected and she definitely surprised me. As for Jess, I liked her less of the three. Her wanting of a child did come across as hasty, and I was with her husband Brian, it was as if she wanted a child merely so she could join her friends' mummy club so she wasn't left out any more. Those three make up the bulk of the novel but I'd also like to mention Ella, who is integral to the story and seemed like such a wonderful woman.
As is always the case with a Melissa Hill novel, there is a bit of a twist at the end and I must admit, it did surprise me (which is not a surprise). But I just couldn't get past the slow-going middle of the novel. It needed more action, more anything, just something to give it a kick. The book's well written, but the lack of any forward-motion in the plot really hindered the read for me. It says it all that I managed to skim-read the last half of the book but didn't actually miss anything of note. I had such high hopes for the book and I'm just so sad they weren't fulfilled. It could have been quite a novel, but the whole abandoned baby thing just seemed to be put on the back-burner (understandably, though, since Nina, Ruth and Jess were pregnant for most of the novel). It won't stop me reading Melissa's other novels, but I'm just disappointed I didn't enjoy The Truth About You more.
One morning in the small town of Lakeview, Ella Harris finds a cardboard box on the doorstop of her café. At first she thinks it's her usual muffin delivery but is shocked to find that the box actually contains a newborn baby. But what kind of mother would abandon a defenceless baby like that, and why? Could it have been newly single Nina who, after being rejected by the father of her unborn child, has no choice but to return to Lakeview to stay with her estranged (and slightly peculiar) dad? Or was it Lakeview-born Hollywood actress Eva Seymour, who on the eve of her triumphant return home from LA, has a completely ill-advised fling with a handsome co-star. A baby is certain to ruin her hard-fought-for career. Or perhaps it's happily married Jess who, as the only non-mum amongst her friends, finds herself increasingly left out. Terrified that she will lose them altogether, she embarks on becoming a mother too. But is she really rushing into something she really knows nothing about?
Anyone who knows me will know that I am a massive Melissa Hill fan and get rather excited whenever I find out she has a new book coming out. Luckily for me, I was sent an ARC of this book to review for the site, and I couldn't believe my luck when it landed on my doorstep! I don't have the pretty cover that you can see pictured on this post, but it's as lovely as the other Melissa Hill covers, and it'll certainly entice lovers of Melissa's books in! This book is actually Melissa's 9th novel, and I think she is one of those authors who just gets better with every book which is a great talent to have! Anyway, back to the review.
As is usually the case with Melissa's books, we have several female lead characters which makes the book multi dimensional and very enjoyable to read. We're first given a bit of background about the missing baby, but nothing that gives anything away which is exactly what I've come to expect from Melissa. The book then moves straight away into introducing us to our 3 leading ladies for the book; Nina, Eva and Jess - 3 very different women leading different lives but united by their somewhat messed up lives. Through all this, we have to figure out just who the baby is who was dumped on Ella Harris' doorstep years ago is and why she's there.
The 3 women in the book couldn't be more different, and my favourite was Nina by far. She's a strong single woman who is coming to terms with the fact she's pregnant and that her relationship has ended too. Hill doesn't shy away from telling us all the emotions Nina is going through so that the reader can really sympathise with her plight, and this certainly works. There is a bit of a controversial twist towards the end of the book but I think it was handled in such a way that it won't offend anyone, and it's important to bring these issues into women's fiction too, so I applaud Melissa for that. Nina's story is very readable, and I love how Hill weaves her in with Eva and Jess, and they certainly are 3 unlikely friends.
Eva is a Hollywood star who is due back home in Ireland for the first time in a while, but things go badly wrong when pictures are printed and published across the world she'd really rather weren't out there. She's a very selfish and quite dislikeable character at first, but then again I guess the author wanted a typical starlet who was all "me, me, me!", and it worked lol! However, the way Hill handles her story as the book goes and the effect on Eva of returning home after all that time is so well done, and I enjoyed this part very well. Jess is likeable enough, but I felt she never seemed happy with her lot. I realise a lot of this was due to her friends behaviour but I felt some of her turn of events were a little uncomfortable, and didn't sit well with me. But however I look at it, it was a good addition to the book because it made me feel that way, and was an important part of the story.
The setting is glorious Ireland, a small village called Lakeview. Melissa Hill always writes so passionately about her home country, and I love imagining the places she describes when I read them. What made it more fun for me was to experience the town through the eyes of Eva as she has a different perspective to the other characters and I loved this. The best part about the whole book for me though was the mystery of who the baby was. Yes, I did manage to guess but only just before it was revealed, and I certainly didn't guess why it happened. The story moves at such a pace you are desperate to know, yet you want to slow it down because you just don't want it to end. I wanted things to work out for all these characters, writing about babies and family is always an emotive subject but Melissa has as ever done it complete justice. It's another superb release from Melissa Hill, and it'll leave her fans desperate for more once you've turned the final page! Brilliant!
ISBN: 978-0340993309. Published by Hodder in May 2010. Pages: 400. RRP: £19.99.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com
Thank you for reading