Friday, 26 February 2021

All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson

Catriona Troth

What We Thought of It:

I am, I’m sorry to say, a late comer to Dorothy Koomson. But over the last year or so, I had heard so much praise of her, I felt it was high time I rectified the gap in my reading.

I chose All My Lies Are True simply because it was her most recent book. But one of the perils of buying an ebook though is that they tend to open on the first page of the first chapter, bypassing little things like author’s notes. So I had no idea, for most of the novel, that this was in fact a sequel to Koomson’s earlier novel, The Ice Cream Girls. Not that that in any way detracted from my enjoyment of this tense psychological thriller.

Poppy and Serena were the Ice Cream Girls – two schoolgirls groomed and sexually abused by their teacher, and then subsequently tried for his murder. Poppy was found guilty and send to prison. Serena was acquitted. Now, thirty years later, Serena is married with a grown-up daughter, Verity, who knows nothing of her past. Poppy has a young daughter too, but she is still struggling with the aftermath of her years spent in prison. And her brother, Logan, is determined that there has been a miscarriage of justice.

So what happens if Logan and Verity meet and start a relationship?

Much as Michaela Cole’s masterful I May Destroy You examines the idea of consent from multiple different angles, All My Lies Are True explores the different forms that grooming and domestic abuse can take and shows insidious it can be and how difficult to recognise from inside a relationship. And also how difficult, from the outside, to tell the victim from a manipulative, truth-twisting perpetrator.

In this novel, we are privy to the points of view of Poppy, Serena and Verity, and a timeline that shifts, teasingly, between the present day and events that unfolded over the past three years. But not until right at the very end can we be sure who is telling the truth and who is lying, perhaps even to themselves.

This is a clever, powerful novel that, once you pick up, you won’t want to put down again.

You’ll Enjoy This If You Loved: What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn

Avoid If You Dislike: Stories centred on grooming and abuse

Perfect Accompaniment: Ice Cream

Genre: Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller

Buy This Book Here