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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 06/2021
  • B08YRYFHRP
  • 370 pages
  • $5.99
The Truth of the Matter
On a cold night in 1877, Laurel Whitman’s father flies into a rage and throws her into the street. His behavior isn’t unusual; he has ridiculed her for years, and Laurel doesn’t understand why. All she knows is that his vitriol has something to do with her grandmother, a woman shrouded in mystery. Laurel goes on a harrowing journey from her home in Philadelphia to Maryland only to discover that her grandmother is on death’s door. She is welcomed with open arms by her extended family but receives a chilly reception from her grandmother who seems suspicious of Laurel’s arrival. Over the next few weeks, her grandmother recovers and her distrust begins to thaw as she tells Laurel stories of her abusive first husband, the young immigrant whom she came to love, and the birth of her two illegitimate children. Laurel learns the secrets of her family’s fractured past, a story of resilience, deception, and forbidden passion that forces Laurel to confront the truths in her own heart. But will unearthing long-buried secrets heal the rift between Laurel and her father, or will the past haunt the present and the future forever?
Reviews
Fleming’s (Whatever It Takes) debut historical romance is a layered family drama infused with the excitement and uncertainty of first love. Laurel Whitman works long days in a Philadelphia textile mill, and during her rushed lunch breaks, she shares her dreams of becoming a textile designer with her close friend Cillian O’Brien. Laurel is an industrious worker, talented artist, and loving daughter, but her alcoholic father often singles her out among her siblings for his abuse. When Laurel at last understands that her father mistreats because she resembles his mother, she boldly sets out to find her paternal grandmother and learn more about the connection they share.

Laurel’s independent spirit and feminist outlook are ahead of her time, but Fleming effectively transports readers to the past by emphasizing the details of daily life in 1870s America. However, the book does not present a polished, romantic portrait of the era, instead incorporating a welcome level of realism that offers a more authentic look at life during that time. The era’s moral values set the stage for the complex web of troubled relationships in Laurel’s family, but lingering grudges and emotionally charged confrontations make this family easily recognizable to today’s readers.

Some romance-oriented readers will be frustrated that Laurel’s time with her grandmother pulls her away from her promising relationship with Cillian, but her grandmother’s engrossing backstory more than makes up for this pause, and most readers will find themselves eagerly anticipating the chapters written from the grandmother’s perspective. Laurel’s quest to know her grandmother takes her on a parallel journey of self-discovery just as significant as her budding romance. While the character of Laurel’s father is not as fully developed, this heartfelt family saga offers readers a deeper understanding of the story’s brave, determined heroine and will inspire them to cheer her on in romance as in all other things.

Takeaway: This sweet period romance will satisfy readers who want more than just a damsel in distress.

Great for fans of: Karen McQuestion’s Dovetail, Kathleen Fuller’s Amish Brides of Birch Creek series.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 06/2021
  • B08YRYFHRP
  • 370 pages
  • $5.99

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