Everything Is Lies Review

Friday, 24 November 2017


By Helen Callaghan
Rating: 5/5
Source: Netgalley

No-one is who you think they are

Sophia's parents lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she's always believed.

Everyone has secrets

Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother is hanging from a tree. Her father is lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death.

Especially those closest to you 

The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn't a killer. As her father is too ill to talk it is up to Sophia to clear her mother's name. And to do this she needs to delve deep into her family's past - a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there . . .

What if your parents had been lying to you since the day you were born?


I went into everything is lies without reading the blurb, I didn’t know what it was going to be about at all -I just saw Helen’s name and downloaded the book from Netgalley on the spot. When I found out that it was about a cult I got really excited because the two books this year I have read about cults have been brilliant. 

Helen Callaghan has written about a woman called Sophia Mackenzie, whose mother stayed at a place called Morningstar, the hub of a spiritualist cult, prior to her birth. 

Sophia learns the truth Morningstar only through the tragic loss of her mother, who takes her own life early on in the story, but was it really suicide? Sophia certainly doesn’t think so. Nina Mackenzie had been hand-writing a memoir and by reading her mother’s journals, Sophia begins to piece together the violence and horror that went on in her mother’s youth.

The story alternates between the present, where Nina is dead and her husband is critically injured in hospital, and the past in which she is essentially a prisoner in Morningstar. Unsavoury things are going on in both storylines and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Sophia thinks the past came back to haunt her mother when the news of the book hit the original cult members, everyone else thinks that the stress of losing her mother so suddenly, and mounting pressure at work, has left Sophia tired and stressed.

I was suspicious of everyone. They all seemed so quick to dismiss Sophia’s worries, especially childhood friend Rowan who seemed to know more about Sophia’s parents personal lives than she did. When Sophia finished the second journal and couldn’t find the third and final part of the story, there was a whole list of suspects who might know its whereabouts.

This was a brilliantly paced, suspenseful story that tackled some really tough elements in a well-rounded way. It showed the ugly truths of what cults can do to people, but also the way that people deal with their grief and trauma -there was also a really eye opening anecdote about pyramid schemes and the workplace sharing graduate with the more familiar
religious/spiritualist cult.

As well as loss, grief and the other traumas discussed in this book, like the vulnerability of young people, in this case it is predominantly an example of how young women can be coerced by charm, fame and promises of love. The manipulation in this story is what makes Everything Is Lies so powerful, so I’d recommend you consider that before reading if this is something you think will affect you.

I really enjoyed Sophia as a character, she’s a career girl with mostly good morals and her faults only made her seem more real. There wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about this book, other than the awful things some of the characters got up to of course. I’m really looking forward to the final version of this book as Netgalley always messes things up a little, plus this was the pre-final edits version of the book. 

Everything Is Lies comes out February 22nd from Penguin, I highly recommend you keep an eye out for this one. You can preorder by following the links for Book Depository or Amazon.

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