Wednesday 12 August 2020

All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson @DorothyKoomson @headlinepg @ed_pr #IceCreamGirls2 #PoppyAndSerena #AllMyLifesAreTrue

Verity is telling lies...
And that's why she's about to be arrested for attempted murder.

Serena has been lying for years. . .
And that may have driven her daughter, Verity, to do something unthinkable...

Poppy's lies have come back to haunt her . . .
So will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves?

Everyone lies.
But whose lies are going to end in tragedy?

All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson was published in hardback on 9 July 2020 by Headline Review. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I read The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson over ten years ago. It's a book that has stayed with me ever since. I was already a fan of the author when The Ice Cream Girls was published, but for me, that book took her up another level. Of course, it was then made into a TV Series and anyone who saw David Tennant's performance will never forget it.  When I discovered that the author was revisiting Serena and Poppy's story in this novel I was intrigued.

I really thought that I'd have to re-read The Ice Cream Girls before beginning All My Lies Are True, but just didn't have the time, so just got stuck in.  Relax! It's fine, Dorothy Koomson is such a skilled author, she incorporates just enough of the back story into the narrative, and never did I feel lost or unsure of what was happening.

Poppy and Serena have lived very different lives since Poppy was found guilty of the murder of their teacher. Poppy has served a jail term and that experience has left scars on her, altered her perception of people and even though she's been free for ten years, she can never shake off those feelings. Sometimes a rage bubbles up and 'prison Poppy' emerges, it's difficult for her to suppress those thoughts sometimes. However, she has moved on. She's a wife and a mother, and she's determined that she will be the best person that she can be.

Serena walked free from court all those years ago and on the surface, she appears to have a charmed life; married to a doctor with a beautiful daughter and living a life of luxury. Serena and Poppy are no longer in touch, although there was a time, just after Poppy's release when she couldn't stop seeking Serena out .. stalking her, but they've not seen each other now for many years.

It's often the people left behind who suffer the most when someone goes to prison, and Logan, Poppy's brother has never made his peace with what happened. He is determined that Serena must admit that she was the murderer and not his sister Poppy. Determination can turn into obsessive behaviour and this is a perfect study of what can happen in those cases.
However, Logan doesn't directly target Serena, instead he gets to her through her daughter Verity, and it's a compelling and intense insight into the gradual breakdown of their mother/daughter relationship.

Logan is a complex and disturbed character with many different sides, and he's not actually that different, in a strange way to Marcus; the teacher who died all those years ago, and who was the detonator for the whole story.

Koomson tells her story through various voices; we hear from both Poppy and Serena, and at times, we have Logan's voice narrating too. Combined with flash backs over the years, this is a very clever way to structure a story that has many layers and that has to be unpicked cleverly and slowly.

The title of the story 'All My Lies Are Truth' perfectly sums up the feeling of the novel. As the reader is aware of Logan's increasing desire to seek some sort of revenge for what Poppy has endured, it becomes clearer that a truth is often a lie, and lies can be so true too. This is about how the truth, or the lies are told, and how the person who hears the story will interpret it. It's clever and thought provoking and keeps the reader on their toes throughout.

This is a large book at 550 pages but I read it in one day. I became totally immersed in the story line, gripped by the characters and just totally invested in their stories and desperate to know what would happen. This author deals with dark, disturbing and sometimes shocking issues, but it is done with a compassion and understanding that just compels you to read on. It is interesting to realise how things have changed in terms of sexual grooming and abuse, and how, thank goodness, we now live in a society where these things are not hidden away so much, although we must get better in how victims are treated.

An absolutely outstanding sequel to one of my favourite books, I really didn't realise that we needed to know more about Serena and Poppy, but we really really did.

Brutal, yet tender and oh so human. An excellent read. Highly recommended

Dorothy Koomson is the award-winning author of 15 novels and has been making up stories since she was 13 when she used to share her stories with her convent school friends. Her published titles include: Tell Me Your Secret, The Brighton Mermaid, The Friend, When I Was Invisible, That Girl From Nowhere, The Flavours of Love, The Woman He Loved Before, Goodnight, Beautiful and The Chocolate Run.

Dorothy’s first novel, The Cupid Effect, was published in 2003 (when she was quite a bit older than 13). Her third book, My Best Friend’s Girl, was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads of 2006 and went on to sell over 500,000 copies. While her fourth novel, Marshmallows For Breakfast, has sold in excess of 250,000 copies. Dorothy’s books, The Ice Cream Girls and The Rose Petal Beach were both shortlisted for the popular fiction category of the British Book Awards in 2010 and 2013, respectively.

Dorothy’s novels have been translated into over 30 languages, and a TV adaptation loosely based on The Ice Cream Girls was shown on ITV1 in 2013. After briefly living in Australia, Dorothy now lives in Brighton.

In 2019 Dorothy was awarded the Image Award by The Black British Business Awards to celebrate and honour her achievements.

For more information on Dorothy Koomson visit

Twitter @DorothyKoomson

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