This review is written with thanks to Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin UK, and Netgalley for my copy of Everything But The Truth.
Rachel and Jack are enjoying a whirlwind romance, and Rachel is pregnant. One night, Rachel reads Jack's e-mails, and realises that there are aspects of his past he is hiding from her. Gradually, Rachel's sense of unease increases, and she is determined to find out the truth. Can their relationship survive in spite of her discovery?
From very early in the novel, the reader is able to see that there are some things that Rachel doesn't know about Jack. It starts with little things, such as a childhood nickname that doesn't appear to make sense, and from there gradually escalates. Whilst this early tension makes the plot move quickly and drew me in almost immediately, it did make me question the authenticity of their relationship, which in turn, hindered my ability to sympathise with the characters. Jack may be hiding something, but Rachel is reading her partner's e-mails, which means I found her attitude a little hypocritical, particularly at the beginning of the novel.
Everything But The Truth is set over two different time frames - the present day and a year previously. Through Rachel's account of the previous year, we learn that she too has a secret. This adds an extra layer to the novel, and allows the reader to consider the question which lies at the heart of the book: Is anyone a bad person, or are we shaped by the mistakes we make? However, this part of the novel increased my impression of Rachel as hypocritical, and I would have liked this part of the plot to have been developed further, so that I was able to consider the central issues of the novel in more detail.
Rachel and Jack live in Newcastle, and Jack's family live in Oban in Scotland. In places, McAllister's descriptions of the locations within the novel are very vivid, and this helped me to develop a sense of place. However, I did not feel this was maintained consistently throughout the book.
Although I found the ending of Everything But The Truth slightly predictable, I did find the novel easy to read and I finish the book pondering a number of important questions.
Everything But The Truth is available from Amazon.