Thursday 4 April 2024

The Almost Truth by Anne Hamilton #TheAlmostTruth @AnneHamilton7 @Legend_Times_ #BookReview


A compelling story of family, secrets, identity, and a reminder that love and life can surprise you… right until the very end.

When Alina’s son, Fin, traces his long-absent birthfather, it’s the catalyst for decades of secrets to implode in Alina’s neatly ordered life.

With the sudden appearance of Rory, and the ever-present pull of a very different life in Bangladesh, she’s left reeling.

Three relationships, all of them built on half-truths. All Alina can truly be sure of, is that you can choose your family, you just can’t choose who they will turn out to be.

The Almost Truth by Anne Hamilton is published on 8 April 2024 by Legend Press. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I have been a huge fan of Legend Press for many years, their books are not only beautifully presented, but really offer the reader something a little different. The Almost Truth is another wonderful find from them and I'm really thrilled to discover that they will also publish Anne Hamilton's next novel.

Beautifully written literary fiction is a joy to discover and The Almost Truth is a novel that explores so many themes within one story, it could be classed as a family drama, it's also something of a mystery, but it is always compelling and so easy to read. 

Alina spends her time between London and Bangladesh, spending six months at a time in each location. She's always kept her two lives quite separate, but never really knows quite where she fits. With Irish and Bangladeshi heritage, she often feels too pale when working with the children at the Homestay in Bangladesh, and is aware of her darker colour when carrying out her social work duties in the UK. 

Alina has a complex background, her parents were killed when she was just a toddler, she was brought up by her wonderful, loving Irish grandparents who were high ranking in the Salvation Army. Alina has a son, but she is not his mother. Fin was adopted at birth, but Alina has always been part of his life; a sort of Godmother who he calls 'Ali'. 

There are two unexpected appearances in Alina's life that will rock her ordered world and crack open the heavily guarded secrets that she's always kept close. Fin traces his birth father. Alina has had no contact for the past twenty-five years, but was always told that when and if Fin traced his father, the parents would meet first. This meeting brings totally unexpected shocks, yet beneath the changed exterior it is clear that those twenty-five year old feelings have not changed.  Alina's dear friend, and landlady Elizabeth, has a son Rory who has been in New Zealand for the past five years. When Rory returns to London, Alina's feelings are mixed. She feels a terror, a little shame but a burning sense of curiosity about him. 

This author carefully and cleverly unravels Alina's story for the reader, it is complex yet captivating with hints of humour and sadness throughout. Alina is a expertly crafted character, a woman of middle years who is seriously considering her future and looking back over her past. Supported by an engaging cast of characters, not least Elizabeth, who really is a fabulous creation, Alina begins to realise many things about her life and actions. 

The dual settings of London and Bangladesh create such a contrast and the author has captured the sounds, sights and cultural differences so very well. There's a real art in creating two very different settings and they compliment the story excellently.

There are some thought provoking issues and themes for the reader to discover in this novel, the insight into various issues such as adoption and gender are timely and handled with grace and care. It's a novel to savour, with characters to come to care for and urge the best for. Highly recommended. 

Anne Hamilton wrote A Blonde Bengali Wife after she fell in love with Bangladesh on her first (of many) visits there. 
The travelogue inspired the charity, Bhola's Children, and continues to support it.

Before she became a full time writer, editor and tutor, Anne's career was in social work and community health - which led to many of her earlier international travels. 
Anne can never quite decide if she comes from the East of England or the West of Ireland, so she compromises by living in Scotland, with her small son; they still travel when they can.

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