Review: Everything is Lies by Helen Callaghan@hecallaghan

Everything is LiesNo-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?


It is hard to believe that this is Helen’s second book. I loved her debut, Dear Amy and this one definitely exceeded my expectations. It is such a brilliant read!

Everything is Lies tells the story of Sophia, a regular, young lady living a somewhat carefree life away from home. However, her life is quickly turned upside down when her parents are involved in what police believe to be a murder-suicide attempt. Soon, things get crazier as Sophia starts uncovering long, buried family secrets.

This wonderful story is narrated in two main timelines. Sophia’s narrations are set in the present and mostly focus on her discovery of her family’s secrets. There is a second timeline set in the past narrated through notebooks discovered after the murder-suicide attempt.

I am deliberately being vague because this is the kind of story that you need to discover for yourself. The less you know about the book, the better your reading experience.

I won’t say anything more about the plot apart from the fact that it is totally captivating. I was thoroughly immersed in the narrative that I completely forgot everything else around me. I liked the character development and how well the author researched different themes. I also love the fact that story kept my mind so active. I desperately wanted to figure it out so I kept guessing and changing my guesses. I was right a few times but I ended being surprised most of the time. Even when I was right, it was because the author left enough clues that practically led me to the answers. Helen’s writing is everything! It is beautiful, descriptive and captivating.  If you enjoy books about secrets, lies, manipulation and family drama then you dare not miss this one!

Definitely recommended!

Book Review: Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

Synopsis from goodreads

dear amyMargot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received: Dear Amy,
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me.
Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . .

Review (no spoilers)

I received this ARC, thanks to (Michael Joseph) Penguin UK Publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan is a fantastic psychological thriller. It has everything that makes a good, suspenseful read. The book starts on a fast pace right from the start when a young girl, Katie is kidnapped. Then Margot(the agony aunt) receives a letter from Bethany, another young girl kidnapped years ago. At the same time, Margot’s life is falling apart with an impending divorce and possible dismissal from work. There were so many twists and reveals along the way that makes this book quite a page turner.

The Narrative

I liked the fact that there were so many events going on at the same time. There were also different perspectives given by the characters hence heightening the mystery . Margot is the main narrator and so we get to see things from her perspective as she receives the letter and starts trying to figure out what was going on. We also have a few chapters that were narrated by Katie while in captivity. We also get to experience things from the captor’s point of view especially in narrating about Bethany’s kidnapping.

Apart from the different perspectives, there are also two main timelines in the narratives that help in explaining current events. We get to learn more about Bethany’s kidnapping years ago and then we come back to the present and try to solve the mystery behind the letters and also the kidnapping of Katie.


DEAR AMYI also liked the protagonist, Margot. There were so many different sides to her that makes the narration quite suspenseful. Her character is also so complex; there were instances where I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t. Her voice in the narration is perfect for this kind of book. I think that the author did a brilliant job of taking readers through Margot’s twisted thoughts and helping us see things from that construed standpoint. I also liked the fact that as readers, we get to find out about stuff at the same time with Margot. The truth about her own life is revealed to us at the same time as she unravels it.

Final Thoughts

My only issue with this book is that at some point, the narration sort of became unrealistic. Halfway through the book, improbable events start occurring that could only be explained as  sheer luck or random coincidences.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan. The suspense and endless twists make this quite an enjoyable read. I found myself questioning and mistrusting characters throughout the book which added to the suspense and thrill of the story. I also liked Helen’s writing. Her prose is easy with a nice flow to it while at the same time, it is gripping in the way that it sucks readers into the narration.

I recommend this book to all readers who like fast-paced, ‘unputdownable’ ,psychological thrillers.

Random Mention- The Red Queen makes an appearance…

Throughout the book, there were a few mentions/comparisons to the Red Queen. I have never read the book series since it is not in my usual genre but I was definitely intrigued.

About the Book

Title: Dear Amy

Author: Helen Callaghan

Kindle Edition, 348 pages

Published June 16th 2016 by Penguin

My rating: 4 Stars