Friday, July 3, 2015

Truth is Fiction

The Truth According to UsThe Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Truth According to Us takes place in West Virginia in the late 1930s; it’s a story about history and stories and truth and mystery and growing up. It’s more Ivy & Bean than Guernsey, but that is fitting. No question that Annie Barrows is a good writer and no question that her aunt was, too.

This book has the leisurely pace of the South. To read it, you need to be able to “come to the porch and set a while.” If you’re in a hurry, you’ll think the book is too long; if you take your time, you’ll enjoy the atmosphere and subtlety that the writer’s eye has created. Barrows has built a layered portrait, literary time travel. Carefully placed backgrounds and vignettes bring to life a forgotten time…

Layla is a socialite on a mission: to get back to socializing in wonderful Washington, D.C., after her stint on FDR’s Writer’s Project has softened her father’s wallet. She’s stuck in West Virginia writing the town of Macedonia’s history until that blessed day, though.  Layla is rooming with the Romeyn family, once the most prominent in town. There’s some history there, she learns.  Twelve-year-old Willa Romeyn is also beginning to wonder why her family isn’t top dog in town any longer. And how come her father’s comings and goings are so mysterious? And does her aunt Jottie have a tragedy in her past? Forget the New Deal. What’s the real deal? What’s the secret? What’s the story?

Enlivened and intrigued by questions, Layla and Willa and the reader find that history may be facts and lies mixed up together to make a cohesive story. Like fiction. Like life. 

Recommended for summer reading and book clubs. I received an EARC for review from the publisher and Netgalley.

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