From the co-author 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, twelve-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
Advance praise for The Truth According to Us
“In The Truth According to Us, Annie Barrows leaves no doubt that she is a storyteller of rare caliber, with wisdom and insight to spare. As she subtly unpacks the emotional intricacies of the Romeyn family and their small West Virginia town in the wake of the Great Depression, we’re struck by the slipperiness of history—how the stories we tell each other and ourselves often demand to be interrogated; how the things we’re driven know about our families, our towns, our closest intimates, will always change us, sometimes over and over. Barrows is at her best here. Every page rings like a bell.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
“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
Praise for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“A jewel . . . poignant and keenly observed . . . a small masterpiece about love, war, and the immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends.”—People
“Affirms the power of books to nourish people enduring hard times.”—The Washington Post
“Smart and delightful . . . Treat yourself to this book, please—I can’t recommend it highly enough.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things
This is a well researched novel in a very interesting time period. During prohibition and the depression, Layla must find her way. With the introduction to the Romeyn family, this debutante is exposed to a myriad of characters and experiences that change her life.
This is not just a story about a woman in search of a new life. This is story about family and bitter betrayal.
It is extremely witty in places and is very smartly written. Once I vested myself in the characters, it was very difficult to put down. It was a little slow in a few places, but it was a very good read.
I received this novel from Netgalley for an honest review.