The Dazzling Truth by Helen Cullen

Publisher: Harlequin Books
Publication Date: August 18, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

In the courtyards of Trinity College, Dublin, in 1978, aspiring actress Maeve meets pottery student Murtagh Moone. As their relationship progresses, marriage and motherhood come in quick succession, but for Maeve, with the joy of children also comes the struggle to hold on to the truest parts of herself.

Decades later, on a small Irish island, the Moone family are poised for celebration but instead are struck by tragedy. Each family member must find solace in their own separate way, until one dazzling truth brings them back together. But as the Moone family confront the past, they also journey toward a future that none of them could have predicted. Except perhaps Maeve herself.


Thank you NetGalley, Harlequin Books & Helen Cullen for a copy of this novel exchange for an honest review.

This story follows Maeve and Murtagh Moone over 37 years. They first meet in Dublin at Trinity College where they quickly fall in love, get married and have children. You follow them and their stories to 2005 where tragedy strikes their family. You aren’t sure what’s happening until you start to see what’s been going on in their lives throughout this entire timeline.

I found the beginning to be a little slow. Stories that take place decades ago are very much not my cup of tea, and for that I thought it might’ve just been me. However, after we started to get closer to the reason why the tragedy happened the way it did, it really picked up well.

This story was very original. I loved learning about Maeve and Murtagh. Their stories were separate but together at the same time. Helen Cullen wrote hard hitting topics very well. There were a lot of mental health references that were able to be related to and that was very important for this type of story.

The feelings that this book has is sad, but also hopeful. It’s very sad to see how mental health can affect so much in one’s life, but it’s hopeful to see the potential of getting through these things and watching family come together.

This book reminded me of the movie Across the Universe which is the movie about the Beatles songs written in. It goes through the years, watching the characters, seeing their stories and where they end up all those years later. Sad, but hopeful. This was my first Helen Cullen novel, and even though it is something I normally wouldn’t go for, I’d definitely read another book of hers. The writing was done very well and I’d recommend this book those who really enjoy fiction stories with hard hitting topics.


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