Charming and entertaining

The Truth According to Us - Annie Barrows

"The Truth According to Us" is really two stories: how 12-year-old Willa Romeyn starts snooping through her family's secrets, and how well-to-do Layla Beck gets by on relief as an employer of the WPA's Writers Project during the Depression. Both stories are delightfully told, and make the novel an entertaining reminder of both "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Peyton Place."


The Romeyn family lies in a small West Virginia town, Macedonia, and Layla boards with them when she comes to write the town's history for the WPA. There are scandals and secrets to learn ... many of which the town fathers do not want to come to light. Willa is determined to learn the virtues of "ferocity and devotion," while Layla is determined to learn more about Willa's handsome and mysterious father, Felix. How the two quests intertwine constitutes the majority of the novel, with occasional subplots about Willa's aunt Jottie and why she is still unmarried at age 35 slowly being revealed as well.


The author has created three-dimensional characters, revealed through events and letters shared in the tale. The insight to small-town life during the period demonstrates high levels of storytelling skill and attention to research.


This is not a brief read; it comes in at more than 500 pages. It is, however, one that will keep you entertained.