I confess I picked The Truth According to Us based solely on the fact that Annie Barrows was involved in the writing of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which has been one of the few book club style books that I’ve really enjoyed — it’s light and funny in tone despite its occasionally grim subject (some World War Two anecdotes), and it includes my favourite trope: characters who love to read. Generally this will catapult it onto my list of comfort reads, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was no exception.
12 year old Willa Romeyn, one of the main characters in The Truth According to Us, is obviously a kindred spirit. Throughout the book she surreptitiously re-reads her aunt’s copy of Gone with the Wind several times, and she has to visit the library every day in order to replenish her reading material. Willa is also unspeakably nosy, a trait I’m afraid I share. Being on the cusp of adolescence she is starting to notice the half-truths and lies adults are telling, and she sets about finding out their secrets for herself. (This always ends well, right?)
In 1938 senator’s daughter Layla Beck arrives in the Romeyn household as a boarder, a new member of the Federal Writers’ Project, having been cut off from her allowance for not marrying her father’s choice of husband. Initially she sees her time in the town of Macedonia as an ordeal to be got through until her father relents and lets her come home; however, she is soon captivated by the town, the Romeyn family, and, to her own surprise, the history she is writing.
While it’s not a slim read and the point of view does jump around a bit, Jottie Romeyn (Willa’s aunt and caregiver) won me over. Witty and clever and betrayed by the past, she tries unsuccessfully to protect her family from the judgement of the town. I wish I could invite her over for a big jug of iced tea.
I’m in the mood for another comfort read, so I’ve compiled a list of Bookish Books. Are there any I’ve missed that I should add? Or, if you’ve read The Truth According to Us, what did you think? It reminded me a lot in tone of Crooked Heart, so if you liked that (or vice versa) perhaps try the other.