Poised to celebrate Christmas Eve on a beautifully scenic island off the coast of Ireland, the Moone family’s holiday is instead marred by tragedy. So begins Helen Cullen’s stirring family saga, THE DAZZLING TRUTH (Graydon House; August 18, 2020; $17.99 USD). Maeve and Murtagh Moone’s love story began in 1978, at Trinity College. As an aspiring actress and potter respectively, the two creative spirits were drawn to each other in an intense and lasting way, able to withstand almost anything, even Maeve’s bouts of crippling depression and anxiety. For a short time, anyway.
Marriage and children are the next chapters in the Moone family story, but Maeve struggles to reconcile her old life with that of the wife and mother she is supposed to be. Until one heartbreaking Christmas Eve in 2005 changes everything. Now each member of the Moone family must learn to confront the past on their own, until one dazzling truth brings them back together towards a future that none of them could have predicted. Except perhaps Maeve herself.
I really enjoyed this story about a family and their struggled over three decades. I will say, as someone who personally struggles with anxiety and depression, this was at times a little hard to read because it was discussing aspects of things I deal with myself. So if you deal with similar things, be mindful going in.
That being said this was a beautiful and heartbreaking story. Even though the story starts out with a tragic occurrence, we then go back to when Maeve and Murtagh first met and then follow them through their relationship. There are many good times, but there are also days where Maeve’s bad days creep in, and the story shows the impact those days have on the whole family.
It really was a lovely story about family and love, but make sure you have tissues handy when giving it a read.
HELEN CULLEN wrote her debut novel, The Lost Letters of William Woolf, while completing the Guardian/UEA novel writing program. She holds an MA in Theatre Studies from University College Dublin and is currently studying further at Brunel. Prior to writing full-time, Helen worked in journalism, broadcasting and most recently as a creative events and engagement specialist. Helen is Irish and currently lives in London.