Monday, 2 June 2014

All the Truth That’s in Me – Julie Berry - Carnegie Review 2014

To be honest when we were divvying up the Carnegie short list books for review, I chose All The Truth That’s in Me because of the authors name, her surname is what mine was prior to saying I DO, and us Berry’s should bunch together I feel. I had no expectations, and was not aware of what was in stall between the cover of the book, but I was not disappointed at all, All the Truth That’s In Me, is AMAZING.

The premise sounds dark and depressing here’s the blurb from the back of the book…

“After two years missing. Judith returns home –her tongue cut out, her best friend dead. No one knows what has happened and Judith cannot speak of it.”

Depressing this is not. All the Truth That’s In Me, is full of hope, as the Judith tells her story, her inner monologue, as if she were sharing all her thoughts, fears and experiences to the boy who she has always loved; Lucus. Julie’s writing is strong and confident, penning Judith’s strength of character and wit. Set sometime in Amercia’s infancy within a highly Purist community of settlers, Judith is ostracised by her community and shunned by her own mother. Treated as, sinner, victim, and prey, Judith’s must use her wit to survive.

When her beloved Lucas is betrothed to the village Belle, and then goes to war to save the village from invaders, Judith must face her fears and sacrifice herself, to give her love and the town it’s best chances, enlisting the help of Lucas’s father, her captor, to lead the battle.

Judith tells the tale like a sonnet to Lucas, her fears, memories of her captivity and aspirations to win her love and regain her life with passion and honesty. Despite seeing and experiencing horrors and the continued cold-shoulder and suspicion of her community she is a strong and formidable character, enduring harassment from the schoolmaster as she learns to read, and the painful process of re-finding her voice, which when both her life and her beloved Lucas are in the balance may have the power to save them.

I thought long and hard to think of any book for which I could compare All the Truth That’s in Me to, and it’s tricky, the writing, the originality of the story and the amazing twist at the end, (which completely took me by surprise which is not an easy task) however, I think the closest is Celia Rees’s Witch Child, as the voice of the female characters are both wilful and the setting are similar too, especially the purist community so quick to point fingers and succumb to gossip. However All the Truth That’s in Me has a thriller who-done it undertone which is more akin to films, The Village and The Woman in White coming to mind.

Julie Berry has done the bunch proud, with All The Truth That’s In Me, it is a stunning and amazing read, with a strong wilful female protagonist, that transcends genre and is truly a stand-alone masterpiece.

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