Monday 4 March 2019

Review | A Version of the Truth by B P Walter

Published by Avon on February 7, 2019

Firstly I have to admit that I found A Version of the Truth to be a slowburner of a novel. To begin with it seemed unnecessarily wordy, slow and not at all like I had expected given all the excitement I had seen on social media which had had me so desperate to read it. But, if anybody else is finding it similar to me, struggling to get into the book after the first 50 or so pages, I would wholeheartedly recommend continuing the read as whilst at first I feared this wasn’t going to be the gripping, page-turning book I was craving, by the end I was wondering what to do with myself next as I’d grown so obsessed with the story that I’d finished it in one afternoon. The book may have taken a little time to warm up for me but once it did, I couldn’t get enough of it.

The timeline of the book alternates between 1990 where we meet Holly, a new student at Oxford University, and 2019, where we meet Julianne, whose son Stephen greets her with a horrific discovery he has made about her husband. I loved the way we were introduced to Julianne, right away we hear the news about her husband and this had me involved and interested in her straight away wondering if everything was as it seemed and what the outcome would be. The beginning to Holly’s perspective is mostly the reason why I didn’t connect with the book straight away as I found it took a bit longer to get to know her, but by the time I did I was very engrossed by both timelines and the little details that tied them together.

B P Walter’s debut novel had a wonderful way of building tension with the clever and sinister plot and the intertwining of the two timelines. The way Julianne and Holly’s paths were connected had me glued to the pages and the author’s storytelling, which was dark and ominous, ensured that this book was one that would remain in my thoughts long after I’d finished it. Once the book really began to pick up, the flow between the two timeframes was seamless and appeared skilfully written – nowhere near as stilted as it could have been given the almost thirty-year difference in time between both parts.

A Version of the Truth was undeniably disturbing to read and often realistic to a very unsettling degree. Whilst the book covered some shocking incidents, I found that what made the book even more uncomfortable, yet addictive, to read was just how scarily believable a lot of it was. From perceived political and economical power to the treatment of women, the divide between different levels of class and wealth, to judgments around sex and sexuality, this book mostly consists of characters and events that you could only wish didn’t exist in this world – but unfortunately a watch or read of the news proves otherwise. I could truly imagine each aspect of this book and that’s what made it all the more chilling and unputdownable.

A Version of the Truth got under my skin. It was menacing, disconcerting and truly compelling.

Review copy provided by the publisher - this was my honest review.

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