After 10 years Serena Gorringe and Poppy Carlisle are back!
I am a huge Dorothy Koomson fan, I’ve followed her career and read her books since picking up My Best Friend’s Girl years ago. I’ve enjoyed her move towards thrillers, I was gripped by The Ice Cream Girls when it was released, I wasn’t a fan of the TV adaptation and I wasn’t sure it needed a sequel.
So, a quick recap on the first book: In the 80’s, as teenagers, Poppy and Serena are branded the ‘ice cream girls’ and accused of murdering their teacher who’d groomed and abused them. Poppy is found guilty; Serena is found innocent. 20 years later, upon her release Poppy is determined to clear her name and sets about stalking Serena in the hope of getting her to admit her guilt. Serena’s family don’t know about her past. There is a big twist in the tale and the book ends with Poppy and Serena parting ways agreeing never to see each other again.
In ‘All my lies are true’ the two are thrown back into each other’s lives ten years later.
Serena’s daughter Verity has been having a relationship with Poppy’s brother Logan for the best part of a year. Verity is about to be arrested for attempted murder, Serena and Poppy are both desperate to discover the truth, but just who is telling the truth?
Firstly, I would be inclined to suggest reading the first book before starting this one, The Ice Cream Girls is brilliant so well worth the read, but if pushed you could treat All My Lies Are True as a stand-alone tale.
I have to admit it did take me a couple of chapters to get into this book, but I did end up completely gripped. Each chapter is narrated by Serena, Poppy and Verity – with the odd chapter from Logan’s perspective later on. It does also flit between present day and recent years as we find out what the characters have been up to and find out more about the relationship between Verity and Logan.
As with the original, there are a lot of twists in this story and Koomson deals sensitively with tough topics.
It looks at the impact the abuse Poppy and Serena suffered at the hands of their teacher has had on them both over a 30 year period. They’re still coming to terms with it and dealing with what happened, the trauma still seeps into their present day lives – try as they may to stop that from happening.
There’s still the media frenzy around them as the ice cream girls. Poppy is still dealing with only being seen as an ex-con despite building a business and a life for herself. Serena is still seen as the ‘one that got away with it’. People still react to them when they recognise them and still believe what was said during the trial and in the media.
I loved getting the chance to get reacquainted with these characters and to see where their lives had taken them. I enjoyed the relationship between Poppy and her siblings. I loved seeing a now grown up Verity as a main character and seeing the dynamic between her and her mother.
This story could have gone wrong, it could have felt unnecessary but – for me – it hit the right note and was the sequel I didn’t know I needed. It can be brave to go back to an old tale, find a new spin on it and stay faithful to the original, something Dorothy Koomson noted herself on her website:
“All My Lies Are True is the sequel to The Ice Cream Girls that I didn’t know I needed to write until I started. As well as hearing the stories of Serena and Poppy, we get to hear from Verity, Serena’s daughter, who was a teenager in the first book. It was so incredible telling this story, but it wasn’t easy. I had a huge responsibility to get it right and to add to the first book. I like to think I did that”. Dorothy Koomson
There are parts that make uncomfortable reading. It does go into detail about abuse and challenges different perceptions, it makes you question if all is as it seems. It explores the psychological effects of both physical and mental abuse and the confusion that comes with that.
Logan and Verity’s relationship is dark, he left me feeling very uneasy fairly early on, I just didn’t trust him, there were subtleties that had me on edge. However, despite this I couldn’t be sure about what had happened and who was telling the truth throughout.
This story is a rollercoaster, I feel there’s more to come from The Ice Cream Girls and wouldn’t be surprised if there is a part 3 – I’d welcome it because there is an interesting dynamic and future to be explored.
This story constantly had me questioning and second guessing. It made me think about truth, different perceptions of truth and how far people will go to discover the truth.
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