Title: All the Truth
Author: Laura Brodie
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Berkley Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the author
First line: Emma was smoothing a blanket across her daughter’s shoulders when she first heard the voices.
Goodreads blurb: Emma Greene enjoys living in rural solitude with her husband and five-year-old daughter, Maggie, far away from her college students in Jackson, Virginia. But late one night, with her husband away and her daughter upstairs in bed, some of Emma’s students trespass on her property. The ensuing confrontation changes Emma and Maggie’s life forever.
Nine years later, still plagued by nightmares from that evening, Maggie is living with her father in the same small town, and entering her first year of high school. She develops problems in class when her math teacher, a strange and lonely woman, begins to exhibit an odd interest in her.
In order to let go of the past, Maggie begins to piece together all the truth of what happened that night — and discovers a story of anger, guilt, and redemption.
Laura Brodie is a versatile author, one whose previous books, The Widow’s Season and Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter’s Uncommon Year, I enjoyed very much. When she offered to send me a copy of her latest for review, I was more than happy to oblige.
All the Truth did not disappoint, though it’s going to be very difficult for me to explain why, because I don’t want to spoil anything for you. Just when I was sure what direction the book was going to take, it took another, better direction.
Because of what she witnessed as a child, Maggie’s life has been changed in ways that are impossible to understand. When she enters high school, the nightmares start again and she is forced to face her past, like it or not. Brodie does a fantastic job of showing how a child’s perceptions can grow and change and shape a person as they become an adult – and how if those perceptions were incorrect, the consequences can be devastating.
Not only does the author deal with family drama, but she also tackles the issue of how women are perceived. Are women of strength celebrated, or merely tolerated? What does it actually mean to be a strong woman? Why are behaviors that are lauded in men considered wrong in women? Without being preachy, Brodie’s character-driven novel addresses topics that effect the nuclear family, as well as the world of academia and society at large.
With this second fiction outing, Brodie has solidified her place as an accomplished author of contemporary fiction, and I will gladly seek out any future titles.