Cover Image: To Tell You the Truth

To Tell You the Truth

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Member Reviews

I read this a year ago, and from my review I didn't like it much. Not sure why it has now reappeared with a publish date of 2021?
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An Inventive Gift...?
Lucy Harper, bestselling novelist, has always had a gift for invention. A gift she discovered long ago and now uses to her advantage. But what really happened all those years ago? Tense, atmospheric suspense with well drawn characters and a completely unreliable narrator. An unnerving and intriguing read.
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Bestselling mystery writer Lucy Harper’s talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring readers. It has also saddled her with dependents, namely her fawning husband Dan.
Very interesting this thriller. Amazing
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To Tell You The Truth - Gilly MacMillan

Lucy has had an imaginary friend called Eliza since childhood. As an adult Lucy is a bestselling author of a crime series with DS Eliza Grey the central character. Lucy has conversations with Eliza.

Dark, creepy and very charming. This book took me completely by surprise, the first I've read by this author. 

I immediately fell in love with the charmingly naive and scatty author Lucy Harper. Then we find out about the dark secret in her past, her adult life is out of her control and it looks like history may be repeating.

The plotting is very tight, the characters are superb, both In Lucy's past and present. The tension creeps up and the mystery lasts right to the very end.

Just brilliant, unique and very entertaining, I had a smile of my face the whole way through, and look forwards to binge reading Gilly MacMillan's other books.
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Often authors will softly, softly reel you in, gradually upping the tension. Not Gilly Macmillan. In To Tell You The Truth,  the suspense starts on the very first page and she keeps winding it tighter and tighter until you think she’s surely going to let up.  And she doesn’t!  The mystery of a child missing in the woods, an awful husband - who you hope gets exactly what he deserves, a whole host of characters who each appear to have their own secret agenda, and an imaginary - and very controlling- best friend, the dread rises in every page.  A brilliant psychological thriller ... I plan to immediately get stuck into one of her previous titles.  LOVED!
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I wasn’t too sure what to expect from ‘To Tell You the Truth’ as (unusually) I didn’t read any other netgalley reviews prior to starting- but the blurb promised an original premise and an unreliable narrator, which was enough to hook me!

I loved the writing style and the characterisation. It was refreshing to see a somewhat minimal ‘cast’ - so many books these days have such a surplus of characters that the reader can get a bit bogged down and none of them feel fully developed. In this case, I really felt I got to know Lucy as the story progressed (albeit it was hard to relate to her much of the time!) and although the flashback technique is arguably over used, it worked well in this case. 

I was intrigued to find out what happened to Teddy and why Eliza was such a prominent influence in Lucy’s life - to the point she became ‘real’. Was there a supernatural element? Was Lucy mentally ill? Was the past trauma enough to trigger visual and auditory hallucinations from a childhood imaginary friend? 

A solid page turner that I really flew through. Loved it. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.
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To Tell You The Truth is the fourth stand-alone novel by British author, Gilly Macmillan. Best-selling author of the DS Eliza Grey books, Lucy Harper has just completed the fifth book in this very popular series. Surely a cause for celebration? But Lucy is a little nervous. Her agent will soon discover that Lucy has taken a brave step with the latest book, and he might not be too pleased.

“…how naïve I had been when I first got published. How I hadn’t realised what a treadmill I was stepping on to. How the sheer pace of it, and the exhaustion, eroded your confidence and then chipped away at your sanity, how it made you vulnerable because the books crowded every corner of your brain, every minute of every day, until your main character stepped off the page and compromised your real life, which made you feel crazy.”

Eliza has been with Lucy all her life, playing, sharing, advising, telling her what to do and say. Eliza is Lucy’s alone: no one else can see or hear her. She was with Lucy that night of the Summer Solstice when her little brother Teddy disappeared. And then Eliza became her muse, her star character. But by the third book, she became more real to Lucy, maybe a little too real. In this fifth book, Eliza had been incapacitated, much to her indignation and anger.

While Lucy has been wholly absorbed in creating the source of their future income, her husband, Dan has been doing some anticipatory spending, but Lucy truly wonders, when the purchase is revealed, how he could ever have imagined it could meet with her approval. As for his newest literary project, it’s not until much later that Lucy discovers just what he has been up to.

Macmillan’s sixth novel is brilliantly plotted: red herrings, twists and surprises keep the reader guessing as the story races to a nail-biting climax. The present-day story is interspersed with a second-person narrative relating the events of the summer of 1991 when three-year-old Teddy Bewley vanished, never to be seen again.

The story is so cleverly constructed that the reader will be asking themselves: Is Lucy an unreliable narrator, or is her apparent paranoia well-founded? Is she a consummate liar or just an inventive story teller? Is she a murderer, or is she a victim?

As always, this author has a way with words: “The familiarity felt disorientating, like seeing a face you think you recognise before realising it’s your own. Aged, subtly changed, but bearing traces of everything you ever lived through, even the things you want to forget.” Once again, Macmillan does not disappoint.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Random House UK.
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I’m so sorry but when I started this last night I realised I’d already read and reviewed it. I saw Gilly McMillan, got over excited and pressed request without having a careful look!!! Many apologies. Below is the review I wrote last year. 


Lucy Harper is a very successful author of a crime series featuring DS Eliza Grey. She is married to Daniel who has aspirations of  literary success but has not succeeded so he manages aspects of Lucy’s life. Daniel is jealous of her success which manifests itself in various ways and then one night after a disagreement Daniel disappears. Lucy has a past she has kept hidden. When she was nine her younger brother Teddy, aged three also disappears at solstice celebrations in Stoke Woods near her family’s home near Bristol. Now her past and present collide and separating truth from lie, suspicion and disbelief and fact from fiction is a fascinating quest. The story is told by Lucy and is interspersed with the night of Teddy’s disappearance and the search to find him. 

The characters are very well portrayed. Lucy’s alter ego is Eliza and this is fascinating as there’s often a power play between them. You question Lucy’s reliability and honesty as a narrator as she seems very controllable by Daniel and Eliza.  Daniel is probably one of the most loathsome spouses I have read in fiction recently. Some of his actions are so outrageous it makes my fists clench, he has the sensitivity of a charging rhino,  the perception of an earthworm or is it all calculation on his part? The setting of the book is excellent as the woods where Teddy disappears are both colourfully magical yet also threatening and menacing which provides a great atmosphere. The storyline is good, you feel Lucy’s pain about Teddy, her confusion over Daniel and her conflicted feelings about him. It’s a well written novel and it’s fast paced with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. This is a good suspense thriller although I’m not entirely certain about the resolution with regard to Daniels disappearance but I did like the other ambiguities so it’s make your own mind up, reader! 

Overall, I enjoyed this very much, I like the ways it’s written and it keeps to guessing to the end. Highly recommended.

With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK/Cornerstone for the arc.’
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This is the first Gilly Macmillan book I've read and I have to admit I've read better books in this genre. Right from the start I took an instant dislike to Lucy and Dan. Why would an intelligent woman allow her husband to spend her money without her knowledge? For me the best part of the story was when Lucy took her little brother out without their parents knowing and what happened afterwards.
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I really liked tbe style of writing and raced through the book desperate to find out what was going on. 

Lucy is a unique and fascinating character and the dual tiimelines had me hooked.  Accomplished writing and great descriptive settings made it a pure joy. 

However for me  tbe ending came out of nowhere and was too fantastical to be believed.
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This was an average book. It started off well but did not grip me as much as I would have liked. The ending was unbelievable and it still left me with many unanswered questions. I am afraid this is only worth 3 stars.
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To tell you the truth by Gilly McMillan 
I rate this book 3 75 stars 
To tell you the truth . . . everybody lies.
Lucy Harper writes bestselling novels,
Her husband Dan has vanished. But this isn’t the first time that someone has disappeared from Lucy’s life. Three decades ago, her little brother Teddy also went missing and was never found. Lucy was  the only witness.
Could she have hurt Teddy?  Did she kill Dan? What about Eliza?
Finally, now, Lucy Harper’s going to tell the truth.
Cross her heart.
And hope to die.
Short chapters between past  flashbacks and present day kept me turning the pages to find out what really happened to Dan and Teddy. Mystery, suspense,relationships and jealousy this book has it all.Not everything was answered for me at the end and l was left wanting more! 
With thanks to Netgalley, the Author and the Publisher for my chance to read and review this book .
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Well, here I come with another 3 star review. I seem to be making a habit of this these days. I'm really hoping that 2021 starts dishing up some 5 star reads for me because I'm in desperate need of some.

Anyway, in regard to this title, I didn't love it. It was okay, and it did entertain me to the extent that I did stick with it right up to the end, but something just didn't work for me. I found Lucy's relationship with her husband incredibly weird right from the get-go. At some point she describes him as a nerdy, quieter type, but yet, he seemed to be the exact opposite of that. The way she remembers him from when they first met just didn't accord with the character that the author chooses to show us. And he really seemed to detest her, never showing any love for her at all. I didn't like that. And then I must be honest, the last 10% of this book was just too unbelievable. I wasn't taken with the ending at all, and the fact that certain aspects of the story never reach a conclusion also didn't sit well with me. We read the whole story in the hope that everything will pull together in the end, being the events from the past as well as the present, and the fact that they don't, wasn't to my liking. And as for Lucy, argh, she was irritating. And what was the deal with Eliza? Was she another personality? A figment of Lucy's imagination? A childhood imaginary friend? Another loose end that doesn't get explained.

So, I'm not going to bang on with a longer review than this. In summary, it was okay but fairly forgettable. As I write this I'm actually considering 2 stars...but my initial reaction was 3 stars and so I'll leave it there.
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