That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay

that part was true

  • Title:  That Part Was True: A Novel
  • Author:  Deborah McKinlay
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  February 2014 – Grand Central Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  When Eve Petworth writes to Jackson Cooper to praise a scene in one of his books, they discover a mutual love of cookery and food. Their friendship blossoms against the backdrop of Jackson’s colorful, but ultimately unsatisfying, love-life and Eve’s tense relationship with her soon-to-be married daughter. As each of them offers, from behind the veils of semi-anonymity and distance, wise and increasingly affectionate counsel to the other, they both begin to confront their problems and plan a celebratory meeting in Paris–a meeting that Eve fears can never happen.

My take:  Early on in my reading of this slim novel I wondered where it all was going and how would it end. I mention that because I found the end to be quite satisfying even though it was rather unexpected.

Being in the same age group (50ish) I could relate a bit to both Jack and Eve. That made the reading all the more enjoyable. Jack is grappling with why he can’t get a relationship right. Eve is dealing with her deep shyness (and something bordering on agoraphobia) that has shown itself in public recently leading to panic attacks.

I loved how the two counseled each other as they discussed cooking in their brief letters. I smiled often while reading the letters.

I’m not sure what more to reveal except to say that I’m glad I read That Part Was True. For readers who enjoy recipes included in novels like this, there are a few.

The Exceptions by David Cristofano

Title:  The Exceptions

Author:  David Cristofano

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  August 2012 – Grand Central Publishing

Hardcover: 480 pages

Synopsis:  No loose ends. It’s the Bovaro family motto. As part of the Bovaro clan, one of the most powerful and respected families in organized crime, Jonathan knows what he must do: take out Melody Grace McCartney, the woman whose testimony can lock up his father and disgrace his entire family. The only problem: he can’t bring himself to do it.

Had Jonathan kept his silence, Melody and her parents would never have been identified and lured into the Witness Protection Program, able to run but never to hide. So he keeps her safe the only way he knows how-by vowing to clean up his own mess while acting as her shield.

But as he watches her take on another new identity in yet another new town, becoming a beautiful but broken woman, Jonathan can’t get her out of his mind . . . or his heart. From the streets of Little Italy to a refuge that promises a fresh start, Jonathan will be forced to choose between the life he’s always known, the destiny his family has carved out for him, and a future unlike anything he’s ever imagined.

My take:  I read David Cristofano’s first novel, The Girl She Used to Be, a few years ago. When I finished reading it my hope was that there would someday be a sequel. I really liked Melody Grace McCartney’s story.

Well, Cristofano followed his debut with a sequel of sorts – it’s Jonathan Bovaro’s version of Melody’s story. The same story as seen through Jonathan’s eyes.

Cristofano paced The Exceptions just as he did TGSUTB – which means I didn’t want to stop reading. Maybe it’s because a few years have passed since I read the original story but, even though I knew the plot, I found it compelling, gripping, and thrilling. Seriously, my heart was pounding several times while reading. I don’t read many thrillers but when I do, I want them to make me feel the way I did reading this book.

I don’t want to reveal any more of the plot than the synopsis has. If you loved the first novel I think you’ll love The Exceptions. If you haven’t read The Girl She Used to Be, maybe read that first.

Disclosure:  I received a review galley from the publisher via NetGalley. See sidebar for disclosure policy.

April & Oliver by Tess Callahan

April and Oliver by Tess Callahan: Book Cover

Back of the book: April and Oliver have been soul mates since childhood, and the attraction between them has always been palpable. Now, years after being completely inseparable, they have become strangers, but the wildly different paths of their lives are about to collide once again with the sudden death of April’s brother.

Sexual tension builds as Oliver, the responsible, newly engaged law student, finds himself drawn more than ever to the reckless, mystifying April—and cracks begin to appear in his carefully constructed life. Even as Oliver attempts to “save” his childhood friend from her grief, her menacing boyfriend, and herself, it soon becomes apparent that Oliver has some secrets of his own—secrets he hasn’t shared with anyone, even his fiancée.

Yet April knows. Is it really her life that’s unraveling, or is it his own? The answer awaits at the end of a downward spiral . . . toward a surprising revelation.


Tess Callahan’s debut novel is dark and churning – much like the book cover. April & Oliver pulled me in little by little until I couldn’t put the book down. I found my jaw clenched in the tense mood until I noticed it relaxing near the end of the book. I realize it doesn’t sound like I enjoyed the reading experience. Not true. Callahan’s prose carried me along. Her writing is smooth and the pace kept me turning the pages, not wanting to stop. I could cite a few instances where I found myself smiling. One was when April and Oliver are discussing some people they know and what style or individual work of music they would be. I loved that.

Yes, this book has some troubling scenes but they are not gratuitous. Rather, they add layers to the characters. They are who they are because of decisions they make or decisions concerning them made by others long ago. I know this book will stay with me for a while. And that’s my sign of a good book.

To read more about the author, visit www.tesscallahan.com
I found the Q&A interesting.

ARC from Grand Central Publishing