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Book Club Choices: The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

It’s 1938 when Layla defies her father by refusing to marry the man he has chosen for her. As a punishment he arranges to have the young socialite removed to Macedonia, W.V., to write its history for the New Deal Federal Writers Project.

As Layla enters the home of the Romeyns, where she will be boarding during the course of this project, she is not enthusiastic, but she is determined to show her father that she can do this. The Romeyn family, once prominent manufacturers in town, includes the father Felix (mysterious and rumored to be a bootlegger or perhaps something even worse), his two young daughters Willa and Bird, and Felix’s sister Jottie, along with other relatives and townspeople who create the character and atmosphere of this wonderful novel.

Macedonia’s history is full of halftruths, myths, and mysteries — not necessarily the history that the town or the Romeyns want to have uncovered. Nevertheless, the past is slowly revealed as the story unfolds through letters written to and by Layla and through the determination of Willa and the honest, humorous, and usually sacrilegious stories of Aunt Jottie.

As she has done in her bestselling The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Barrows takes us to a small place and time where we are given not only a great and beguiling story, but a bittersweet look at family and forgiveness. Highly recommended for book clubs that enjoy history, family, literary fiction, and a darn good read.

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows. Dial Press/Random House, 2016.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Click for a Discussion Guide.

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