The Dazzling Truth

Helen Cullen (Author)


One Irish family. Three decades. One dazzling story.

"A love letter to family and to the arts. Beautiful."
--Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones

In the courtyards of Trinity College, Dublin, in 1978, aspiring actress Maeve meets pottery student Murtagh Moone. As their relationship progresses, marriage and motherhood come in quick succession, but for Maeve, with the joy of children also comes the struggle to hold on to the truest parts of herself.

Decades later, on a small Irish island, the Moone family are poised for celebration but instead are struck by tragedy. Each family member must find solace in their own separate way, until one dazzling truth brings them back together. But as the Moone family confront the past, they also journey toward a future that none of them could have predicted. Except perhaps Maeve herself.

"A perfect combination of deeply felt tragedy with great hopefulness."
--Anne Youngson, author of Meet Me at the Museum

Product Details

$17.99  $16.55
Graydon House
Publish Date
August 18, 2020
5.3 X 8.0 X 0.8 inches | 0.5 pounds

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About the Author

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.



"A perfect combination of deeply felt tragedy with great hopefulness."
--Anne Youngson, author of Meet Me at the Museum

"Absolute poetry and a love letter to family and to the arts. The empathy in this book is beautiful."
--Maggie Smith, award-winning author of Good Bones and Keep Moving

"An extremely moving read. Helen Cullen handles the complexities of love, grief, family life and mental illness with sensitivity and depth. A truly gorgeous novel."
--Ali Land, bestselling author of Good Me, Bad Me

"I devoured this, falling in love with the setting and with every character--and when I reached the end, I wept because it is just glorious. The Dazzling Truth is a sweeping family saga and at the same time, a close-up on the everyday beautiful details that make up love."
--Emma Flint, author of Little Deaths

"A beautiful bittersweet story of love, loss and families all set in the most irresistible of locations. Tears were shed!"
--Graham Norton, BBC

" Cullen's beautifully observed novel The Dazzling Truth charts a family across 37 years, living through a tragedy on a remote island; portraying mental health and the fall-out around it with enormous humanity and integrity. Tonally reminiscent of recent Colm Tรณibรญn."
--Caoilinn Hughes, author of Orchid and The Wasp and The Wild Laughter

"A beautiful novel. Helen Cullen writes with such deft care and attention about the things that hold us together when everything falls apart."
--Rรณnรกn Hession, author of Leonard and Hungry Paul

"Helen Cullen is so wonderful on the Irish family and the utter complexity of motherhood, family entanglement and love. I was full on weeping at the end."
--Elaine Feeney, author of As You Were

"In The Dazzling Truth, Cullen has woven a powerful and poignant narrative told over a lifetime; exploring unconditional love, heartbreak and the beautiful flaws of human nature set within a family unit. She is an astute and empathic writer and an incredible voice in Irish literature. You'll fall in love with the Moone family and they will linger in your heart long after you read the final pages."
--Cat Hogan, author of They All Fall Down and There Was A Crooked Man

"The Dazzling Truth is such a tender read. Astute and compassionate, it made me cry. It's full of love. And it's quietly magnificent."
--Tor Udall, author of A Thousand Paper Birds

" A beautifully observed saga of abandoned dreams, loss and self-discovery."
--Alan McMonagle, author of Ithaca


"In her mesmerizing debut, one of Cullen's many gifts is skillfully managing the voices, stories, and possibilities of the enchanting world of lost letters. In alternating chapters, Cullen allows William and Clare, both well-developed characters, to present their sides of the story.... This moving treatise on love and the art of letter writing will leave readers eager for more from this very talented writer."
--Booklist (Starred Review)

"A love-letter to letters and a brilliantly written, moving homage to the power of words, The Lost Letters of William Woolf celebrates the magic of pen and paper."
--Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop

"Enchanting, intriguing, deeply moving. The Lost Letters of William Woolf concerns itself as much with lost love as it does with lost letters."
--Irish Times

"A beautiful story celebrating life, love and letters. This is a luminous debut."
--Phaedra Patrick, author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

"The novel is exceedingly well-written and flows incredibly well...quite moving."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A heartwarming novel about love, life, and the lost art of letter writing."
--PopSugar, Best Book of Summer

"A poignant and beguiling world of lost opportunities and love."
--AJ Pearce, Sunday Times bestselling author of Dear Mrs. Bird

"If you liked Harold Fry and Me Before You, you will love Helen Cullen's nostalgic debut... With its themes of love, romance and frustrated hopes, this life-affirming book will draw you in and keep you there."
--Independent (Ireland)