Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). Sometimes I have too many books to do a full-length review. At other times, like now, tennis elbow and a torn tendon makes too much writing/typing difficult. As such, I’ve decided to devote longer reviews to Australian authors until such time as my injury clears.
In the mood for a light read, I reached for That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay. The fact that it linked food and writing to a “would-be lovers across the miles” theme sealed the deal … and as it happens, it was the perfect fit for the moment. Here’s the blurb:
Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met? When Eve Petworth writes to Jackson Cooper to praise a scene in one of his books, they discover a mutual love of cookery and food. As their letters criss-cross the ocean that lies between them, friendship and then romance blossom despite Jackson’s colourful love life and Eve’s tense relationship with her soon-to-be-married daughter. Little by little, Eve and Jack begin to believe that they may have a chance to change their lives and possibly get a second chance at happiness. They just need to actually meet.
Here’s a sample:
Eve, nineteen years old and nine weeks into her first trimester, had thought she might faint then, but she hadn’t. What she had done was resign herself, over the sound of her mother’s laughter, to the swift loss of her husband’s affections. Like a bird, whose heart gives out before the cat has killed it. (p21)
Themes of food, friendship and falling in love proved a tasty and timely treat. A short read, one I knocked over in a matter of hours, it’s surprisingly deep, with themes of ageing explored from both genders’ perspectives, motherhood, self-confidence, doubt and anxiety also featuring. That Part Was True is one of those books that looks light and fluffy on the outside but reveals more complexity as the words are savoured. If you like books where the characters connect through letters, read this!
Available from good bookstores and Hachette (RRP $24.99). My copy was courtesy of Hachette Australia.
Bookish treat: There’s a recipe for “Grandmother’s Christmas Cake” at the end of the book that I’m looking forward to trying.