The Truth According to Us

The Truth According to Us

A Novel

Book - 2015
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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.

Praise for The Truth According to Us
"As delightfully eccentric as Guernsey yet refreshingly different . . . an epic but intimate family novel with richly imagined characters, an intriguing plot and the social sensibilities you would expect of a story set in the South . . . Willa's indomitable spirit, keen sense of adventure and innate intelligence reminded me of two other motherless girls in literature: Scout Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and Flavia de Luce in Alan Bradley's big-hearted British mystery series. . . . Just as we did in Guernsey, we empathize with the characters as if they're our neighbors." -- The Washington Post

"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
Publisher: New York : The Dial Press, ©2015.
ISBN: 9780385342940
Characteristics: 491 pages :,genealogical table ;,25 cm


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Aug 26, 2019

Tea & Talk Book Club / January 2019

Mar 12, 2019

If you have read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," you have already have a taste of Annie Barrows' delightful style. Once again, the story develops in a small community, where Layla - a young, spoiled daughter of a Senator - is sent to work as a punishment. I don't want to spoil the story for you, so I will only say that she meets a rather unconventional family that will change her life forever. The narration alternates between first person (the twelve-year-old Willa) and third person, to give the novel a variety of perspectives. There are also several flashbacks that help understand the relationships and the behavior of the characters. The story is well told, touching and humorous at the same time. It's a coming-of-age story, a description of an American town in the grip of Depression, and a love story that goes beyond death. No more, I truly recommend this book, it's a little jewel that I was very sorry to have to put down.

ArapahoeAnnaL Mar 29, 2018

Golden childhood memories, a coming of age tragedy, wonderfully compelling characters - all in this depression era West Virginia town; and then a stranger arrives on the scene.

Jun 26, 2017

I enjoyed this book. Interesting storyline, great characters, wonderfully descriptive. I am not giving five stars because it took me a bit to become engaged, and I think it could have been just as good if it was about 100-150 pages shorter. Well worth the read, though.

Apr 10, 2017

An atmospheric novel set in a small West Virginia town during The Depression. It had good characters, some southern wit & humor, a little bit of mystery, and an overall charm to it, but it dragged on way too long. Could have easily been just as good, if not better, if it had been condensed a little.

DBRL_KatieL Feb 10, 2017

Humerus, with characters so real you imagine seeing them at the store.
Willa and Jottie are the two main characters, and narrators. Jottie is the matriarch of the family as much as a woman was allowed to be in the 1930's. She runs the house, manages the money, and manages two of the family farms along with her younger brother. Jottie is also raising her nieces; Willa and Bird, from her brother's marriage (which ended in divorce shortly after the second child was born). Jottie will do anything for the girls, and seeks to make the family as respectable and 'first class' as it was when she was a child.

Layla Beck, sent to write up the history of the town and boarding with the family, is the catalyst in this story. Her arrival in town causes Jottie to see face how a tragedy from her youth has effected the family's status, and is having an effect on how the girls are treated. Jottie older brother, Felix is not help in this, a bootlegger and the center of scandalous gossip, as well as a cad who sleeps around with every available woman, he still holds Jottie's loyalty.

Willa is entering the transition between child and young lady. She knows there are things the adults aren't telling her, and won't tell her. She decided to embrace her inner sneak and not only find out what they aren't telling her, but to understand why. With Layla already stirring up old history, and catching the attention of her father, Willa has much to observe and learn.

The characterization in this novel is amazing. Each character is unique, and the two narrators each have their own voice-I was never confused about who was narrating at any given time. I also loved how the characters didn't have much more information than the reader, so there wasn't the feeling of being in the same shoes as young Willa, even when adult Jottie was narrating, of feeling everyone else knows something you don't. The setting is also very well done. Each time the heat of the day is described, it is different, and while you feel how the characters are desperate for a cool breeze you don't grow bored with the descriptions of how hot it is. This would be a great beach read, or book between intense books, when you need something to warm your soul, hold your interest, and make you smile.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 10, 2016

A well written and interesting family saga that can get predictable but you feel you know the characters so well that it doesn't bother you. There is great atmosphere, very much a small town feel to this book. Well done.

JCLKatieS Jul 29, 2016

When Layla Beck appears in Macedonia, West Virginia, basically excommunicated from her posh world back home, Willa Romeyn knows she will be trouble. Anyone that goes poking into the town's history is bound to uncover some secrets and the Romeyns would like for them to stay just that - secret. This story is sweet and funny and reads wonderfully. If you like Southern historical fiction, this one is for you.

tuscany1 Jun 23, 2016

An absorbing read - got totally engrossed in the little town of Macedonia, its history and its many quirky characters.

LoganLib_LW Jun 02, 2016

Enjoyable read for a rainy weekend.

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Aug 12, 2015

A piece of sass. -BEST QUOTE

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