Review of That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay

Published: 10th February 2015
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 240


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. Their friendship blossoms against the backdrop of Jackson’s colorful, but ultimately unsatisfying, love-life and Eve’s tense relationship with her soon-to-be married daughter. As each of them offers, from behind the veils of semi-anonymity and distance, wise and increasingly affectionate counsel to the other, they both begin to confront their problems and plan a celebratory meeting in Paris–a meeting that Eve fears can never happen.


Thank you to Orion for kindly sending me a review copy.

The narrative begins with a simple, kind gesture from Eve to Jackson, which doesn’t go unnoticed and soon enough, their friendship begins. The chapters aren’t divided between the two main characters and in actual fact, we hear from them both within the same chapters which is an aspect which I really enjoyed. Back-to-back thoughts sometimes work better than waiting until a fresh chapter to hear what the other character thinks. Straight away, Deborah gave off a strong sense of comfort and it instantly reminded me of It’s Complicated with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin.

The relationship between Eve and her daughter, Izzy was particularly awkward. Most of their scenes together gave me the impression that Eve continuously had to walk on egg shells around Izzy which obviously isn’t the best form of a mother/daughter relationship. I did hope that Deborah would give them a back story as to why they’re like this with one another in order for the reader to understand and slowly, yet surely, the pieces were put together.

“Like a bird, whose heart gives out before the cat has killed it.”

The general pace of the plot was a little bit slower than I had expected and I hoped that if the narrative moved to Paris, that it would hopefully pick up a little bit. I thought the overall idea of the book was a wonderful one and in my eyes, it was nice to read how two middle aged people could become friends over their love of cooking. Deborah’s writing style can be poetic at times which didn’t really work for me as a reader. I had hoped that I would find this to be a cute read as I love reading books based around cooking, but sadly, it simply wasn’t for me.

Twitter: @YourAuntLola