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Truth Be Told – Sue Divin

Thank you so much to the publishers and Netgalley for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! (I later purchased a copy of the book for myself).

Tara is from Derry, Faith is from Armagh; their lives are very different, but they look exactly the same – they just don’t know why…

Two teens from very different backgrounds – Tara, the Catholic daughter of a two generation single parent family, and Faith, the daughter of strict Evangelical Protestants from Armagh, come face to face at a residential and discover they look almost identical.

A DNA test reveals they are related, and that Faith’s father is not who she thinks – while Tara has never known hers. Between them, they set out to unravel the mystery of their shared parentage, but in doing so set in motion a series of revelations about the pasts of both their families.

Meanwhile, they are also dealing separately with their own issues – Tara angry and grieving after the sudden death of her boyfriend Oran, and Faith hiding her true sexuality from her family for fear of being disowned.

Last year, I read Sue Divin’s debut novel Guard Your Heart and it was extraordinary. It helped to open my eyes to what has happened and is happening in Northern Ireland and the writing was beautiful. So, when I found out she had another book on the way I knew immediately that I was going to read it.

Truth Be Told is set in 2019 and tells the story of Tara and Faith. Tara is from Derry and Faith is from Armagh. Both the girls have been living completely different lives until they met each other and discover that they both look like one another. As with Sue Divin’s previous novel this discusses The Troubles and what it is like to live in different parts of Northern Ireland and how that can affect your everyday life.

Sue Divin has once again written an extraordinary book with beautiful writing. I loved getting to know Tara and Faith and how they differed in the beginning of the book and then, as the story progressed, how they were also similar. I loved how much Irish slang is included in this book. I feel some authors would avoid using it in their books due to it possible readers to misunderstand part of the book. But, I loved it as it allowed me to learn some phrases I’ve never heard before and feel emotion in places I may not have done previously.

I adore the two main characters of this book Tara and Faith. Both of them are well-written and their personalities shine through the pages. Each of them are going through their own struggles and we get to see this throughout the book. As this book is told in dual POVs, we get to see one perspective on what’s going on and then how the other perspective may be looking at the same situation completely differently. This made reading the book gripping and always had me intrigued. There are a lot of wonderful side characters in this book who each bring something new to the story as well.

I went into this book thinking that it would have fast pacing throughout. This was not the case. Sometimes the pacing was quite slow and other times it was quite fast. This made me struggle to have the urge to pick up the book if I was in a slow patch but as soon as the pace picked up I couldn’t stop reading.

The pacing picks up rapidly towards the end of the book and I couldn’t help but power through reading it to find all the answers. I felt there are certain story arcs that missed out due to the sudden pace change. The story was moving too quickly for all the arcs to come to an end. Some did not feel fully completed for me but this may have been the author’s intention. These minor things did not change my enjoyment of the book though.

Just a side note to say, make sure you check the trigger warnings before going into this book as some of the topics discussed in the book are hard-hitting and can be triggering. These topics are discussed excellently and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into the discussion. They allow for some real insight into what the characters are going through and how it is affecting them. Although the mystery is the main element of the book the discussions of The Troubles, growing up in Northern Ireland, politics and religion are raw, honest and incredibly eye-opening. I certainly learned a lot whilst reading this book.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Truth Be Told. It is a gripping, insightful and beautifully written novel that I would highly recommend. Sue Divin is definitely an author who deserves a lot of love. So, if you haven’t read her books yet, go and pick one up!

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