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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant light read
Sometimes fulsome praise does more harm than good. In the blurb, we are told that this book was the subject of a seven figure bidding war and that it is reminiscent of 84, Charing Cross Road. The seven figure bidding war indicates a much more substantial book than this and the only similarity between it and 84 Charing Cross Road is a relationship built on letters sent...
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. K. A. P. Wright

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting idea but struggled to be drawn in
Eve writes a letter of praise to blockbuster author Jackson and a conversation ensues based on a shared love of food. Initially the letters are short but both are I need of an anonymous 'ear' to listen to them and gradually the conversations become more personal.
Eve has had a troubled but privileged past with wealth and luxury. She had a mother who didn't seem to...
Published 6 months ago by Arkgirl


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant light read, 31 Jan 2014
By 
Mrs. K. A. P. Wright - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: That Part Was True (Hardcover)
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Sometimes fulsome praise does more harm than good. In the blurb, we are told that this book was the subject of a seven figure bidding war and that it is reminiscent of 84, Charing Cross Road. The seven figure bidding war indicates a much more substantial book than this and the only similarity between it and 84 Charing Cross Road is a relationship built on letters sent across the Atlantic. However, much of the book is not written in letter form and it is obvious from the narrative that we are not given the full transcripts of the letters.

The danger is, having read the blurb, you will approach this book with quite the wrong expectations and be disappointed. If you were to try to analyse it in depth, it would collapse under the strain. If you approach it with no expectations, you will enjoy it much more. It is a very pleasant, though quite light read and should be relished as such. The characters are engaging, if not always totally believable, and you want to know what happens to them. There are lots of enticing recipes and food talk. The ending is pleasingly ambiguous.

So, if you want a good read on a wet afternoon, this will do very well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting idea but struggled to be drawn in, 25 Feb 2014
By 
Arkgirl (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: That Part Was True (Hardcover)
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Eve writes a letter of praise to blockbuster author Jackson and a conversation ensues based on a shared love of food. Initially the letters are short but both are I need of an anonymous 'ear' to listen to them and gradually the conversations become more personal.
Eve has had a troubled but privileged past with wealth and luxury. She had a mother who didn't seem to value her but doted on Eve's daughter, Izzy, and now her mother is dead she is struggling to rebuild her relationship with her daughter. Izzy's forthcoming marriage is causing pressures with contact with Izzy's dad inevitable and Eve pours much of this out to Jackson. He is dealing with his own past that includes several broken relationships and ponders on what he wants in the future.
It is a short, quickly read book but I felt the story could have had more letters near the start to establish the connection and the ending felt rushed.
The story has some great elements but I found something unsatisfying about the jumps between the letters and the individual stories of Jackson and Eve. The initial letters appear to have gaps between them and thus the start of the relationship between Eve and Jackson doesn't seem credible. Some of the characters lack depth, particularly the US friends and lovers [!] and I struggled to emotionally engage with the stories.
It is a gentle read and would probably be a good holiday read but I don't think it will stay long in the memory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Middle aged angst, 18 Feb 2014
By 
C. Bannister (Jersey, CI) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: That Part Was True (Hardcover)
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This is one of those books where what as much understanding comes from the unsaid parts as the bits the reader is privy to.

Eve Petworth, a wealthy privileged middle-aged English woman writes a letter to American author, Jackson Cooper, after reading one of his novels. They have a meeting of minds over food in their short missives across the Atlantic. Both have reached a stage in their lives where they realise things have to change but neither seem to be able to work out what they need to do to achieve a more fulfilling life.

This is a short but deceptively meaningful book which covers a number of issues. Eve needs to understand her relationships with both her daughter Izzy and her recently deceased mother Virginia. Jackson needs to work out what he really wants from life; recently divorced he is struggling to write his latest novel.

This is a gently moving story that illustrates that it is never too late to make changes to life. I was drawn to read this book because it was written by letters but the truth is these are much shorter and say far less than I expected. The bulk of the story is made up of Jackson and Eve's struggles to come to terms with the changes in their separate lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delicately charming, 29 Jan 2014
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: That Part Was True (Hardcover)
I was certain I wasn't going to like this and not just because I have a prejudice against novels that have an appendix of recipes at the end. It's more however that the premise seems very old-fashioned - a '84 Charing Cross Road'-like written correspondence between a lonely rich lady living in the English countryside and an American author that develops into something special. But then the characters are of that generation, both of them approaching 50, both reaching a point in their lives where it's time to look at where they are and re-evaluate if it's where they hoped to be. That's not really much of a recommendation either. What makes you keep reading That Part Was True however it that it is realistic, deals with real-life issues, and the author's handling of the subject keenly recognises this and never lets it slip into idealism or sentimentality.

That's what keeps you reading even if you don't find you particularly relate to the characters or their circumstances. At 48, Eve is of a nervous disposition, divorced, has been bullied all her life by her mother and has never really found her own place in life, but, being from a well-off family she's never had to worry about work, helping out part-time in a charity shop. It's there that she picks up a crime-fiction book by author Jackson Cooper, and particularly liking one description of the joy of ripe fruit, she writes to the author and finds that they have a mutual love of food. Even though he's a successful author Jack has also reached a turning point in his life, both personally and professionally, as he approaches his 50th birthday.

So how can you make this sound appealing? I'm not sure I can, but Deborah McKinlay certainly manages it. If I were to describe the plot, it would be all about wealthy middle-class middle-age concerns - preparations for Eve's daughter Izzy's wedding featuring prominently with tantrums thrown and panic-attacks ensuing as it raises unwelcome memories - and an ex-husband - for Eve. Jack meanwhile broods over the women in his life and whether he wants popular success as a writer or personal satisfaction, and increasingly he's only finding that in cooking. Intersperse that with some polite but mildly flirtatious correspondence in the exchanging of recipes and the story doesn't seem to amount to much.

The situation might sound predictable and dull, but the characters are well-drawn, familiar, recognisable types that are treated with some measure of love and attention by the author. That alone is enough to make That Part Was True a pleasant read, but there's actually a lot of subtlety in the characterisation as well. Surprisingly, that shows in the recipes as well and the manner in which they are exchanged, both managing to show their true character more here than in the sometimes awkward personal exchanges. What sealed the success of the book for me however was the conclusion. With this kind of plot, it has to be handled realistically without sentimentality, but still satisfy the reader. Having brought the reader along the journey, Deborah McKinlay doesn't let you down and handles the ending with the same delicacy, wit and gentle charm that is found elsewhere in the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: That Part Was True (Hardcover)
Enjoyed it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars calmly quirky, 5 May 2014
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This review is from: That Part Was True (Kindle Edition)
I hadn't known anything about this book before I started reading it. It has a simple storyline, that successfully shows a portrait of human nature and character. It uses food as communication between two strangers, providing a unusual and charming connection. It avoids the trite or the all too easy romance structure but hints of it throughout. Delightful... Like a tart but sweet lemon drizzle!
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4.0 out of 5 stars a relationship ruled by the pen..., 2 May 2014
By 
Petra "I love to read" "book addict!!!" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: That Part Was True (Hardcover)
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That Part was True written by Deborah McKinlay has written a love story based on a couple's letters going from America to London and back again. We follow the lives of this couple via the letters and how those around them affected their own personal lives. For me reading the letters going back and forth was how we really got to know Eve and Jackson and how this all started was Eve writing to Jackson admiring his work.
I knew the book was compared a lot to other best sellers but for me I judged this book on its own credentials which was a book written by a very talented author.
That Part was True written by Deborah McKinlay is a book which I did enjoy and other readers of fiction will also enjoy reading if for one you let it be good on its own without other books being laid beside it for comparison.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, 29 April 2014
By 
Thinker (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: That Part Was True (Hardcover)
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Eve and Jackson's story, it was interesting, the pages were easily turned, the language was descriptive and simple, I simply was interested to know what happened to two interesting people.
Not a typical romance in any way and the ending is slightly in the air,the story is more about there characters and lives, friends, family.
I didn't love it but i did like it and read it quickly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Such a lovely story..., 10 April 2014
By 
Me read (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: That Part Was True (Hardcover)
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This is a wonderful, gentle romance. I loved it. As I was reading it flickered between a four and a five star and back to a four, but right at the end it jumped back to a five again. Lovely story.

A love story that blossoms via letters mostly but it's all the little side stories that make this charming. The letters skirt around issues and it's both heartwarming and frustrating to watch things play out, wanting things to go in one direction but have them take another path. The will they/won't they thing sometimes grates on my nerves when it's drawn out but here it was just charming. I think that has a lot to do with the characters though. They're not a couple of teens with all the angst that usually accompanies these things. Eve and Jack are middle aged and both feel a bit jaded, for different reasons, and forge a connection despite their differing lifestyles and the great distances between them.

It's so refreshing to have such a touching romance with an older couple at it's core. It's just a wonderful story and one I'd recommend.

This is the first I've heard of this author but I'll definitely be looking out for more. This lady can write.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable, 30 Mar 2014
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This review is from: That Part Was True (Kindle Edition)
Well written and kept me interested the whole time. Interesting characters. Very interesting inter telatipnships and a believable ending. Good read which I have recommended to others.
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That Part Was True
That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay
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