It all started with the email.
It came through to her boyfriend's iPad in the middle of the night.
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 by Gillian McAllister is published in paperback and ebook on 9 March 2017 by Penguin and is the author's debut novel.
How and who do we trust? Do mistrustful people hear more lies? How much can we hide from each other, and from ourselves? These, and lots of other questions are raised throughout this stunning debut novel from a very talented new author.
Rachel and Jack are in love, they are going to become parents, and finally Rachel feels able to trust someone. The past few years have been difficult for her, beginning with the death of her mother and the lies that she discovered at that time. Those lies have shaped her emotions, have affected her relationships, and impacted on her whole life. Jack will save her. Or will he?
It soon becomes clear that Rachel may have something to worry about. Jack is obsessively protective of his phone, his friends in Scotland call him JD, and who on earth was that woman who cried out when she spotted him?
Trained as a Doctor, Rachel's enquiring mind and remarkable memory become more of a burden than a gift as she slowly digs deeper and deeper into Jack's past.
Everything But The Truth begins with a question, and the author gives out tiny bits of the answer throughout the story. Gillian McAllister has a gift for creating tension, with hints of what may be to come, but not enough to give anything away. The reader is drawn into Rachel and Jack's relationship, wondering what Jack's secret is, but also aware that Rachel has secrets of her own.
It was Rachel and her background who stood out for me as the most interesting character. Whilst the complete cast of Everything But The Truth are excellently drawn, I though Rachel was an outstanding creation. Her mystery, the slowly emerging details of her past life, her intense relationships with all of her family members, friends and of course, with Jack are intriguing. At times I didn't like her, although I did understand her. She's damaged and flawed but she is incredibly carefully created, by an author who clearly has a great insight into the human psyche.
Gillian McAllister has dealt with some really interesting and quite compelling issues throughout this novel. Her research into the internet, and the dark web is expertly done and adds a layer to the telling, along with excellent medical and legal references, this really is writing of very high quality.
There's a message within this story; sometimes we judge ourselves far more harshly than those around us do. Sometimes we take more of the blame than we should do, and sometimes we should place more trust in others, and in ourselves. Rachel and Jack learn this, whether they act on it in the future would be a whole new story!
Written with clarity and imagination, Everything But The Truth is a compelling, tension filled story, that is part psychological thriller, and part love story. Gillian McAllister is certainly an author to look out for.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.
She lives in Birmingham with her boyfriend and cat.
Follow her on Twitter @GillianMAuthor
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