Last year I read Helen Cullen’s delightful debut, The Lost Letters of William Woolf, reviewed here. This novel about a chap who works at the Dead Letter Depot, reuniting lost letters and parcels with their intended recipients, sometimes years later, was an ideal spring into summer read for me (in paperback) with a great premise and a central romantic mystery.
August sees the publication of Cullen’s second novel, The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually. Here’s how the blurb describes it:
On an island off the west coast of Ireland, the Moone family are shattered by tragedy.
Murtagh Moone is a potter and devoted husband to Maeve, an actor struggling with her most challenging role yet – being a mother to their four children. Now Murtagh must hold his family close as we bear witness to their story before that tragic night.
We return to the day Maeve and Murtagh meet, outside Trinity College in Dublin, and watch how one love story gives rise to another. And as the Moone children learn who their parents truly are, we journey onwards with them to a future that none of the Moones could predict . . .
Except perhaps Maeve herself.
The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually is a celebration of the complex, flawed and stubbornly optimistic human heart.
The novel itself begins in 1978, in Dublin when Murtagh and Maeve meet. It’s love at first sight for Murtagh, a student ceramicist. As he plucks up courage to approach Maeve, he’s stung by a bee – and an opening is created for Maeve to help him…
I was instantly hooked, being an absolute sucker for anything 1970s! Sadly though, I’ve not read more than the section in which Murtagh and Maeve first meet, as print review copies weren’t available due to the pandemic. I find reading novels on screen, after days spent staring at one too straining for the eyes.
HOWEVER – I can share that section with you too – see below. I can’t wait to read the rest of the book.
Extract used with permission. Helen Cullen – The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually (Michael Joseph, 2020) Hardback, 336 Pages.