Layla Beck lived the good life, pampered by her wealthy father, a Senator of some renown and power. All is going swimmingly; until she spurns the man her parents find acceptable son-in-law material. After years of life in the lap of luxury, Layla is turned out of the parental home and told to earn a living, see how the rest of the world is faring during the Depression. Her uncle runs the Federal Writer’s Project and it is his task to find her suitable employment. He settles on the small town of Macedonia, West Virginia where Layla will board with the Romeyn family and write a brief history of the town. The Romeyn’s used to be a force to be reckoned with in the small community, Jottie and Felix’s father was president of the local factory where he employed much of the population and ruled with a gentle hand. That was the past, by 1938 Jottie is taking in boarders, hence becoming Ms. Layla’s landlord, and Felix is a traveling salesman and possibly a bootlegger. Felix has two daughters, doted on by their aunt and father. It soon becomes apparent that both the Romeyn family and the town have deep secrets. While Layla embarks on a quest to uncover the town’s secrets, twelve year old Willa becomes obsessed with discovering the dark secrets in her family. Add to the mix Layla’s beauty and Felix’s proclivities with women (somewhat reminiscent of those of a tom cat) for a combination sure to cause trouble in a long, hot summer. Barrows brings the same gentle touch and humor to the story that served her so well in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.— Deon Stonehouse
June 2015 Indie Next List
“In 1938, as America is in the throes of the Depression, Layla Beck, daughter of a senator, is sent to Macedonia, West Virginia, to write a history of the town under the auspices of the Writers' Project of America. She boards with the unconventional Romeyn family, whose many members live under one roof. Willa, who is 12 years old and the inner voice of this intriguing story, will remind readers of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird with her bravado and curiosity. As Macedonia's history is written in an upstairs room, downstairs the family's long-held secrets begin to unravel, and eventually each person has to take responsibility for events long kept under wraps. A compelling page-turner!”
— Susan Diffenderfer, Tall Tales Book Shop, Atlanta, GA
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - 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 . . . 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."--The Washington Post
"The Truth According to Us has all the characteristics of a great summer read: A plot that makes you want to keep turning the pages; a setting that makes you feel like you're inhabiting another time and place; and characters who become people you're sad to leave behind--and thus who always stay with you."--Miami Herald "It takes a brave author to make the heroine of a new novel an observant and feisty girl . . . like Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. . . . But Barrows . . . has created a believable and touching character in Willa."--USA Today " A] heartwarming coming-of-age novel that] sparkles with folksy depictions of a tight-knit family and life in a small town . . . full of richly drawn, memorable characters."--The Seattle Times "A big, juicy family saga with warm humor and tragic twists . . . The story gets more and more absorbing as it moves briskly along."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Annie Barrows leaves no doubt that she is a storyteller of rare caliber, with wisdom and insight to spare. Every page rings like a bell."--Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
About the Author
Annie Barrows is the co-author, with her aunt Mary Ann Shaffer, of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a runaway New York Times bestseller that was named one of the ten best books of the year by Time and USA Today. She is also the author of the children's series Ivy and Bean as well as The Magic Half and its sequel, Magic in the Mix. She lives in Berkeley, California.