Review of “That Part Was True” by Deborah McKinlay

This is a charming story about a lonely British divorcee, Eve Petworth, who writes a fan letter to an American author, Jackson Cooper and he replies. A long distance virtual friendship develops between Eve and Jack, beginning with their mutual love of cooking and food, and gradually growing into something deeper. As time passes, the two come to look to each other for support through the highs and lows of their lives.


We get to know their hopes and dreams, their families, and their culinary tastes. And we wonder, of course, if their virtual relationship will ever develop into anything more.

Discussion: The story is told partially in an epistolary format, chronicling Jack and Eve’s developing bonds. (In a humorously meta way, Eve’s writing is much more literary than Jack’s, although it is Jack who is the successful author.) They also frequently exchange recipes, two of which are included at the end of the book.

Some of the non-epistolary writing is quite fun as well, such as this exchange in which Eve’s daughter Izzy is talking to her fiance Ollie about her mother::

“‘She’s changed.’

‘Changed good? Or changed bad?’

‘Just changed.’

‘Be specific.’

‘Last night, when I telephoned her about the weekend, there was music playing in the background.’

‘Well, that’s bloody suspicious.’”

Evaluation: Just lovely; a treat for all the senses. BBC Films, the U.K. public broadcaster’s stand-alone filmmaking unit, has optioned the rights to the novel. I hope that means a sequel is in the works as well!

Rating: 3.7/5

Published by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013


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11 Responses to Review of “That Part Was True” by Deborah McKinlay

  1. Beth F says:

    Well ok. Now I have to get this.

  2. sandynawrot says:

    Ahhhh. Well that sounds nice. I’m wondering why you didn’t rate it higher. Too fluffy?

  3. trish422 says:

    This sounds like a quaint read – and I always feel like I have to explain when I use the word quaint that I do not mean it in that condescending way we tend to use the term. I wish we wouldn’t degrade words like quaint, delightful, sweet, etc. as they are so remarkably useful as positive adjectives.

  4. BermudaOnion says:

    This does sound lovely. I’m wondering why the Eiffel Tower is on the cover.

  5. Heather says:

    I started reading this one and was bored by it in the beginning so I gave up. Sounds like I should have kept reading!

  6. Athira says:

    For some reason, this one is reminding me of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society! I will have to look for this – it does sound interesting!

  7. Aw. I love an epistolary novel. There aren’t nearly enough epistolary novels in this world. I shall get it at the library next time I go!

  8. stacybuckeye says:

    Hmmm. You didn’t love it, but it does look like fun.

  9. aartichapati says:

    Oh, this sounds cute! I admit, it doesn’t sound QUITE your style as it doesn’t take place after a nuclear holocaust …

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