The Truth About Her

Jacqueline Maley

The Truth About Her
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The Truth About Her

Jacqueline Maley

Journalist and single mother Suzy Hamilton gets a phone call one summer morning, and finds out that the subject of one of her investigative exposes, 25-year-old wellness blogger Tracey Doran, has killed herself overnight. Suzy is horrified by this news but copes in the only way she knows how - through work, mothering, and carrying on with her ill-advised, tandem affairs.

The consequences of her actions catch up with Suzy over the course of a sticky Sydney summer. She starts receiving anonymous vindictive letters and is pursued by Tracey’s mother wanting her, as a kind of rough justice, to tell Tracey’s story, but this time, the right way.

A tender, absorbing, intelligent and moving exploration of guilt, shame, female anger, and, in particular, mothering, with all its trouble and treasure, The Truth About Her is mostly though a story about the nature of stories - who owns them, who gets to tell them, and why we need them. An entirely striking, stylish and contemporary novel, from a talented new writer.

‘I loved The Truth About Her. It’s an intelligent, compelling, nuanced tale of guilt, culpability, pride, shame and atonement. But most of all, it’s a love letter to daughters, from the mothers who raise them. An astoundingly good debut.’ Annabel Crabb 


When I reached the end of this book and read the author bio on the back page, I was not in the least bit surprised to discover Jacqueline Maley is, just like the main character in her debut novel, an award-winning journalist. Maley can, without doubt, tell a story. Not only that, she has created a recognisable and intimate world filled with characters I could have lived with a great deal longer.

The Truth About Her centres on Suzy Hamilton, an award-winning Sydney journalist who writes an article exposing a social media influencer as a fraud. Tracey Doran, the fraud in question, then kills herself, and so begins a summer of unfortunate events for Suzy. Single mother to adorable pre-schooler Maddy (I’m not one to get sentimental about other people’s children, especially fictional ones, but Maddy really is adorable), Suzy keeps most people, especially men, especially the two men she is currently sleeping with, at arms-length. However, when her affair with one of them results in the loss of her job, the poverty line moves uncomfortably close and she has some difficult choices to make.

Working at a bar in the evenings and as a freelance writer during the day only just pays the bills, so when the opportunity to write the story of Tracey Doran’s life presents itself, the money is hard to resist. It may also help assuage some of the guilt Suzy feels about the young woman’s death. As Suzy begins to discover the truth about Tracey, she also starts down a path of self-discovery, a journey which will lead her to some unexpected places.

This rewarding, enjoyable and utterly addictive addictive tale is not your ordinary love story. There is romance, but it is mainly an exploration of the love between mothers and their daughters, a love which can last a lifetime.

Kate McIntosh is the shop manager at Readings Doncaster.

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