“The Truth Hurts” by Rebecca Reid is an apt title. In this novel, we learn the truth in clever dribs and drabs through the third person narration from the point of view of Poppy, the nanny who gets fired for sticking up for herself. Her narration is in the present, and we also hear from Caroline, who was Poppy’s employer once upon a time. She shares what happened before.
We meet Poppy just as she is getting fired from the job she’s had for years. She’s the nanny for three children and has accompanied the family to Ibiza. The mother arrives home six hours after she had promised, and Poppy, exhausted because she’s not allowed to sleep if she’s the only one with the kids, tells her that this kind of behavior is not okay. Poppy is immediately fired and told to leave, in the middle of the night. She takes the keys to the family car and goes to the nearest bar, wearing the only shoes available in the kitchen, the mother’s expensive dress shoes.
At the bar, Poppy meets someone who changes her life. Drew, an extremely handsome 43-year-old Brit, buys her dinner and drinks and she goes home with him. After a whirlwind four weeks together, he proposes. Everything seems perfect, their wedding, their return to England — even the strange request that Drew makes that they not talk about their pasts. While Poppy doesn’t know what Drew is hiding, she is very happy not to talk about her own past because we know that there is something big that she, too, is hiding.
But as they settle into the mansion that Drew bought for Poppy, Thursday House, named in honor of the day they met, Poppy begins to feel that things are off. The house, so beautiful and huge, seems to resent Poppy. The faucet in the bathroom gets stuck and won’t turn off, a mirror falls off the wall and shatters when Poppy just touches it, and open windows mysteriously shut on their own.
When Poppy learns that her best friend Gina has lost her job, she asks her to come and stay with her. We have grown to truly like Poppy and Drew, and we want them to have a happy-ever-after. But from the beginning, we know that the house will be torn down for a park. We just don’t know why. Assumptions we’ve had throughout the book turn out to be wrong. It turns out that both Poppy and Drew have been hiding much more than we suspected — and that they are not quite the people we thought. The ending is magnificent.
While this is a quick read, it’s one that will stay with you for quite a while. It’s that good.
Please note: This review is based on the final, paperback book provided by Harper Perennial, the publisher, for review purposes.