From the coauthor of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society comes a wise, witty, and exuberant novel, perfect for fans of Lee Smith, that illuminates the power of loyalty and forgiveness, memory and truth, and the courage it takes to do what's right.
Annie Barrows once again evokes the charm and eccentricity of a small town filled with extraordinary characters. Her new novel, The Truth According to Us, brings to life an inquisitive young girl, her beloved aunt, and the alluring visitor who changes the course of their destiny forever.
In the summer of 1938, Layla Beck's father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers' Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom. But once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is drawn into their complex world and soon discovers that the truth of the town is entangled in the thorny past of the Romeyn dynasty.
At the Romeyn house, 12-year-old Willa is desperate to learn everything in her quest to acquire her favorite virtues of ferocity and devotion - a search that leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried. Layla's arrival strikes a match to the family veneer, bringing to light buried secrets that will tell a new tale about the Romeyns. As Willa peels back the layers of her family's past and Layla delves deeper into town legend, everyone involved is transformed - and their personal histories completely rewritten.
©2015 Annie Barrows (P)2015 Random House Audio
"The Truth According to Us is an irresistible novel, a sly charmer of a story about a small town in Depression-era West Virginia whose history is rewritten by a debutante on the run. Family histories, too, are unraveled, but mended by the fierce, strong women who dominate this delightful page-turner, a tribute to the power of love and forgiveness to heal even the most heartbreaking betrayals." (Melanie Benjamin, author of The Aviator's Wife)
"Core narrators Ann Marie Lee, Tara Sands, and Julia Whelan offer clear and consistent character readings that steer listeners through the novel's varied voices, while also highlighting the characters' diversity of experience. Another nine actors provide added depth and color." (AudioFile)
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
I loved "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" it spoke to my heart... and I was thrilled to find something new by one of the authors. I guess Annie Barrows did some rewriting of her Aunt's book after it was accepted for publication and Mary Ann Schaffer was too ill to finish it... thus earning the co-authorship of the "Peel" which prompted me to purchase this book.
Have to admit this wasn't a favorite listen for me... and I had a hard time figuring out why. Took me literally days to wade through it. First, I hated the narration and voice of Willa... a feisty child whose point of view makes up a substantial portion of the book and I thought perhaps if I was reading it, I would like it better.
But then it was more than that, the author used so many devices, voices and view points to communicate... there were letters (predictably), flashbacks, conversations with thoughts of one character weaving though it, the never ending child overhearing and not understanding, daydreaming, preaching, vague visions, interviews going on for a book... I was way too aware of how the story was being presented. I was also not sure who was the main character... as there was just soooo much going on, so slowly from so many points of view. I couldn't suspend my disbelief in some very vital events and while waiting for the shoe to drop is a good thing... if it never drops, something is lost.
The plot, setting and complex motivations involved have a lot of potential and it isn't a horrible read. I wouldn't recommend it, but won't be surprised if some readers really like it. I could see this being revamped into a great movie. However, I think the editor of the book did Annie a great disservice allowing the book to go to print in this form... the Potato Peel Society was so popular and rather than spending the time to edit this down to perfection it was allowed to go out resting on the "Peel's" laurels.
This was s dimensional tale...the debutante that would become a wiser woman, the charming sociopath that was a beloved father, the child that would become ageless, the Good man (in eyes of society) who lacked dimension, the historical knowledge of prostitutes. Lots of story here.
This was a great book! I expected it to be good, but it exceeded my expectations. It has mystery, romance, humor. The characters were so well drawn that I felt like I knew them.
The only thing I felt was a little jarring was the transition between narrators, but the story was so good that I consider that a minor point.
After listening to the book, I'm going to read the print version. I hardly ever do that. I either listen or read - that's how good this book is!
I loved the author's previous book, but I found it very hard to get wrapped up in this one. It just wasn't convincing on an emotional level. The "irresistibly charming rogue" wasn't given any charm, so he was simply a jerk. The "whip-smart twelve year old" seemed like a much younger child, and rather clueless. The "big reveal" was completely obvious from the start. And the pacing dragged for long stretches.
This book turned out to be a little gem. An interesting tale of depression era West Virginia, it is also so much more. Delightful, believable characters with an interesting story to tell. The narration is spot on, with believable accents done to perfection and not overdone. Do give it go. I believe you will be delighted.
This was a lovely story. I fell in love with the characters. The audible book was so good that I pretty much listened to it nonstop. The actors/readers were perfect!
And that is "slow"! I did finish it and the most enjoyable aspect was the West Virginia twangy voice of sweet little Willa.
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