Book Reviews

The Power of the Pen: #ToTellYouTheTruth by Gilly Macmillan @GillyMacmillan @arrowpublishing #blogtour

Title: To Tell You The Truth
Author: Gilly Macmillan
Publisher: Century
Date of publication: June 25th 2020
Genre: thriller
Format reviewed: e-ARC
Source: publisher
Number of pages: 400

Lucy Harper has a talent for invention…

She was nine years old when her brother vanished in the woods near home. As the only witness, Lucy’s story of that night became crucial to the police investigation. Thirty years on, her brother’s whereabouts are still unknown.

Now Lucy is a bestselling thriller writer. Her talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring fans. But her husband, Dan, has started keeping secrets of his own, and a sudden change of scene forces Lucy to confront some dark, unwelcome memories. Then Dan goes missing and Lucy’s past and present begin to collide. Did she kill her husband? Would she remember if she did?

Finally, Lucy Harper is going to tell us the truth.

Cross her heart.
And hope to die.

I often wonder where authors find their ideas. How they sculpt the shadows of our lives into chilling nightmares. Lucy Harper is really good at this. In fact, she excels at it. Her series featuring DS Eliza Grey is so successful there is a page about her, including fanfictions. Knowing what it means to be addicted to a series, this detail showed me right away that Lucy Harper, the new main character I was getting to know, was among the best crime fiction writers. It takes the best to ignite such passion in readers!

If Lucy’s career is speeding on the highway of success, her private life is not so shiny. Contrary to her character Eliza Grey, Lucy is kind, caring, and unfortunately not well-equipped to stand up for herself. It is clear from the beginning that sweet Lucy shares qualities I recognized from author friends. The doubt, the pressure, that niggling feeling what you are writing is not worth what everyone is expecting. The delicate empathy required to put into words actions and words done and felt by imaginary characters. My heart reached out to her, and I was only a few pages in! Oh, how I love my writers!

Lucy works with her husband. Well, if you know me, you know I have a problem with husbands! His behavior towards his hard-working and sensible wife outraged me. I was not surprised to be the silent witness of his manipulation. Well-aware of her past, Dan throws Lucy back into her memories, for better or for worse…

Her past… Those chapters were extremely unsettling. I wanted to hug little Lucy and never let go, and yet… Something happened to young Lucy. Something happened to her younger brother, who was never seen again after a mysterious night. A first, the two timelines felt safely parallel, one explaining in part Lucy’s issues. But then Gilly Macmillan skillfully began to whisk the mix of past and present. Slowly at first, letting it all simmer gently. As the timelines blurred and blended together, I felt the tension ratchet up. When Lucy’s husband disappeared, bubbles surfaced. Secrets he had been hiding triggered Lucy’s memory. If I had deemed her fragile at the beginning, this event sent her down a dark spiral. The shift is so beautifully executed that the more unreliable I found Lucy to be, the tighter I clung to her in an attempt to save her. My connection to her deepened as she fell deeper and deeper into a scary pit that sounded a lot like a book plot… See what Gilly MacMillan did? She put a book in a book. Not just that. She put her love into her main character, but she also poured all the poison she could find, in Lucy’s life! Everything felt so real I surprised myself hugging my dog a little tighter, as if I needed a lifeline to my reality.

To Tell You The Truth reads like a dream. Or rather, a nightmare. An exceptionally disturbing thriller I loved sinking my teeth into and let go with regret. Everything about it gave me the chills. To dive so deep into a woman’s psyche and feel reality slip your fingers is dizzying in the most addictive way. There is a reason we don’t always go look for the truth… Until we are ready to tell it.


I love it!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Publication date is June 25th, but you can pre-order your copy!

I would like to thank Isabelle and Century for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Gilly Macmillan is the New York Times bestselling and Edgar-nominated author of What She Knew (also published as Burnt Paper Sky), The Perfect Girl and Odd Child Out. Gilly grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She studied history and worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery in London before starting a family. Gilly has since worked as a photography teacher and she now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.
Wanting to delve deeper into Gilly’s world? Visit or follow @GillyMacmillan on Twitter and Facebook

22 thoughts on “The Power of the Pen: #ToTellYouTheTruth by Gilly Macmillan @GillyMacmillan @arrowpublishing #blogtour”

  1. Great review, Meggy. I read this, but didn’t love it. There were positives, and I particularly liked having a crime writer as the protagonist, it works brilliantly in this case 🙂


  2. Great review, I like the self-referencing aspect of this one! An author of crime fiction who writes a story about an author of crime fiction – sounds intriguing and slightly confusing!


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