Book Review | The Truth Hurts by Rebecca Reid

Yesterday, hurricane Zeta knocked out the power across our state. I just about made my way through a work presentation in the morning, wedged into a corner of our living room, clinging to the 2 bars of signal and 25% left on my battery. By noon, all devices were out of juice – so what better time, free of other distractions, than to devour something in one sitting?

The Truth Hurts is the perfect curl-up-in-bed-on-a-random-Thursday-afternoon-in-a-blackout-while-a-hurricane-passes-through read. It’s domestic noir/twisty romance that starts when our protagonist, 28-year-old Poppy, is ousted from her Nannying post in the small hours of the morning while in Ibiza. With no money and no plan, she rocks up at a bar where she meets the charming financier Drew, in his forties. They begin a whirlwind romance, Drew’s lavish spending a far cry from the kind of lifestyle Poppy has been used to, scraping by for low wages with no family support.

At first, they’re living the perfect fantasy life, the finite holiday romance that is all the sweeter for its ephemeral state.

‘They never shopped for more than a day or two in advance, as if they were worried that this, whatever it was, had a shorter lifespan than the peaches or bread that they bought, as if anything more permanent might jinx the little world they had built.’

But then things get serious – much more serious, as Drew proposes. (None of these are spoilers, by the way – you’ll learn as much from the blurb). Gina, Poppy’s best friend, eggs her on – and they’re soon legally wed. There’s another important ‘catch’ to their relationship: neither of them can talk about the past. ‘It’s not relevant,’ Drew says. ‘I don’t believe that total transparency is always the way toward happiness.’ So Poppy finds herself married to man and she has no idea where he went to school or who was his first kiss or what his mother was named. You might question as to why anyone would agree to such an arrangement – but taking into account the depths of Poppy’s isolation and money troubles, it makes some sense.

They leave Ibiza for the country estate Drew has bought for the both of them, Thursday House in Wiltshire.  Another thing that we readers know: the novel opens with the destruction of this home. So whatever goes down here, we know it can’t be good.

Yes, there are some considerable plot holes, and the ending is all a bit silly – but there’s lots to enjoy in this twisty tale. Drew is a bit two-dimensional, but Poppy is a fleshed-out character, and we get a great insight into her plucky personality through her friendship through the vivacious Gina. There’s also a dual narrative following Poppy’s previous nannying job – where all is not as it seems.  The Truth Hurts isn’t a book with multiple shocks and twists, but it’s addictive and suspenseful – exactly what I was looking for.

‘Something low in her gut shifted as she said it. A feeling like Christmas being over or Sunday night, like the taste in your mouth after you ate something sugary. But that was stupid. The house was perfect. She was just unsettled by the mirror, nervous and superstitious. Everything was fine. She repeated the words over and over inside her head.’

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