The Truth About You by Melissa Hill

When the baby is found on the doorstep of Ella’s café, everyone asks – what sort of parent would abandon their child? Jess feels increasingly left out as the only non-mum amongst her friends. Terrified she might lose them altogether, she embarks on becoming a mother too. But is she really ready? Hollywood actress Ruth Seymour is home in the small town of Lakeview for the summer. But has an ill-advised fling with a handsome co-star resulted in a seriously unplanned consequence? Nina has come to live with her estranged father, Patrick, after a bad break-up. But will she ever dare tell him about the secret she is concealing? One thing’s for sure: someone knows more than they’re telling. And the truth won’t stay hidden forever…

I’m a huge fan of Melissa Hill. Her novels regularly surprise me and each twist and turn is something I guess at and inevitably get wrong. There are now only two of her novels I haven’t yet read and it will only be a matter of time before I do. Her latest book – and the one I’m reviewing – it The Truth About You which came out last year. It’s sat on my shelf for ages, mainly because Melissa is an author I like to keep on my TBR shelf because she’s the kind of author who I enjoy reading because she always keeps me guessing. But with a new Melissa book around the corner, it was time for me to find out all about the surprise baby left on Ella’s cafe door!

The start of The Truth About You is brilliant. There’s a Prologue where we learn about the abandoned baby and it definitely grabbed my attention. We’re then introduced to our three main characters: Nina, Jess and Ruth. All are pregnant or, in Jess’s case, want to get pregnant and the novel is definitely very baby-centric. I must admit, as a girl in her early twenties, books about pregnancy do have the tendency to bore me. It’s not really something that interests me and I don’t get all the hype mothers-to-be feel. I just don’t have the attention span to focus on a novel so centered around babies and The Truth About You is heavily-pregnancy influenced. It’s inescapable.

In part, I think all the baby stuff goes a long way to explaining why I skim-read the majority of the novel. I got 200 pages in and nothing was happening. It kills me to say that, but although there were many balls up in the air – the abandoned baby, mainly – there was no advancement on that. It was like the baby was abandoned, we were told of it and then it didn’t come up again in any capacity except for the ending of the novel. Instead all we got was Nina and Ruth struggling with their pregnancies and Jess desperately trying to get pregnant so she can fit into her friends’ mummy club. I kept waiting for something to happen, but for me the book just fell really flat.

I must admit, despite my thoughts on the plot itself, part of my enjoyment of the novel came from the characters. Because they were very well written. Nina is the lynch-pin of the three, moving back to Lakeview after breaking up with her boyfriend and I warmed to her fairly quickly. She has to deal not only with her pregnancy but with a reticent dad. I wasn’t expecting to find myself liking Ruth, who is an actress in LA, but I found her more down-to-Earth than I expected and she definitely surprised me. As for Jess, I liked her less of the three. Her wanting of a child did come across as hasty, and I was with her husband Brian, it was as if she wanted a child merely so she could join her friends’ mummy club so she wasn’t left out any more. Those three make up the bulk of the novel but I’d also like to mention Ella, who is integral to the story and seemed like such a wonderful woman.

As is always the case with a Melissa Hill novel, there is a bit of a twist at the end and I must admit, it did surprise me (which is not a surprise). But I just couldn’t get past the slow-going middle of the novel. It needed more action, more anything, just something to give it a kick. The book’s well written, but the lack of any forward-motion in the plot really hindered the read for me. It says it all that I managed to skim-read the last half of the book but didn’t actually miss anything of note. I had such high hopes for the book and I’m just so sad they weren’t fulfilled. It could have been quite a novel, but the whole abandoned baby thing just seemed to be put on the back-burner (understandably, though, since Nina, Ruth and Jess were pregnant for most of the novel). It won’t stop me reading Melissa’s other novels, but I’m just disappointed I didn’t enjoy The Truth About You more.

*As Chloe has already reviewed this on, that’s why I’m putting it here. I might also put up some older reviews, too!

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