My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have read some really outstanding books recently and this one surprised me so much.
It got my attention via the blurb.
This book shows how a mental health illness can impact on others. However, it also shows how one cannot see what is not 'normal' in one family compared to another.
Lacey is a young girl, she goes to college, she has a job, she lives with her Mother and her Mother's 'helper'.
We first think that her Mother is slightly over bearing, over protective and then we see the extremes. But is it Lacey that needs to be curbed in life growing up or is it her Mother with the problem? And why didn't the 'helper' get involved.
I can only assume she was frightened of her because of her outrages.
Its by far a normal life for Lacey.
Then she meets Walker. Walker has a grown up years emotionally, knowingly and an awareness that any young person his age wouldn't have, his maturity shines out of the book.
We know that a lot of kids have to grow up fast when they have ill parents and have to take on responsibilities beyond their years and I see this very much so in Walker.
Although I could ring his bloody neck at the end.
This is so well written I read this yesterday in one sitting, I was glued to this book.
Maybe its the subject matter, no.....its the way it was written.
I could see so well how Lacey would question herself.
Did I say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this? Well, I'm saying it again.
Not having read any of this authors books or knowing even if she has any others, has thoroughly surprised me.
My thanks to the host Debra for my copy.
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“A bittersweet story of young love, independence, and soul-crushing manipulation. J.A. Owenby shines a light on the impact that mental illness can have on a family.” —Dr. Sheri Kaye Hoff, PhD, Professional Life Coach
Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me.
For eighteen-year-old Lacey, life at home is a rollercoaster. She doesn’t think she’ll ever be good enough to truly deserve Mama’s love.
But when Lacey enters college and meets Walker, everything starts to change. Suddenly, Lacey is face to face with the realization that maybe what she’s always seen as normal really isn’t. Her entire life—and everything she’s ever believed about herself and her family—is abruptly hanging in midair.
Lacey is left facing two paths, and she has to make a choice. The first means walking away from everything she’s ever known. The other means never really knowing the truth.
The Truth She Knew offers an honest and powerful glimpse into mental illness, the meaning of true love, and the psychological waltz that a daughter dances as she endures her mother’s unpredictable emotions, manipulation, and abuse.
J.A. Owenby lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and two cats.
She's a published author of six short stories, and she is currently working on her second full-length novel. She also runs her own business as a professional resume writer and interview coach—she helps people find jobs they love.
J.A. is an avid reader of thrillers, romance, new adult, and young adult novels. She loves music, movies, and good wine. And call her crazy, but she loves the rainy Pacific Northwest; she gets her best story ideas while listening to the rain pattering against the windows in front of the fireplace.
You can follow the progress of her upcoming novel on Facebook at Author J.A. Owenby and on Twitter @jaowenby.
Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me. She reminded me of this on a consistent basis, and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t change her mind. Finally, I had to make a choice: her or me.
My heels clicked against the cold tile floor of the hospital and my heart fluttered as I searched the room numbers.
I rubbed my clammy hands against my jeans as I saw the ladies’ restroom and hurried toward it. I needed a minute before I reached her room. I pushed the door open and scanned the bathroom for anyone else. It was empty.
My purse landed with a thud on the bathroom counter. I turned the cold water on, splashed it on my cheeks, and wiped my face with a paper towel.
“Breathe,” I muttered. “She can’t hurt you anymore. You’re grown.”
My pep talk wasn’t working. Fear was gnawing at my stomach.
I reached into my bag, grabbed my powder compact, and touched up my makeup. My green eyes shone brighter against the redness left from my tears. I ran a brush through my long, blond hair and dabbed a hint of gloss on my lips, more out of habit than need.
“Let’s do this, Lacey. Suck it up,” I said to my reflection. I released a slow, deep breath and headed out of the restroom and down the hall toward the ICU.
We followed her to the couch; Linda sat in the chair on the other side of the coffee table and folded her hands in her lap. Walker took my hand as an uneasy gnawing tugged at me. I had plenty of experience with sensing uncomfortable situations, and I didn’t like this one. I was confused as to why Linda was staring at me, too.
“It’s okay,” he whispered and rubbed his thumb across the back of my hand.
“I can tell by the surprise on your face that you’re confused about why Walker brought you here other than to say hello,” she said. “I’m a mental health therapist, Lacey.”
“What?” I jumped off the couch. “Walker? How could you? You brought me here to lock me up?” I tried to step around his feet to leave, but he was too fast. He grabbed me and pulled me into his lap.
“Lace, wait, it’s not you. Aunt Linda isn’t here to diagnose you or anything close to it—please give her a minute to explain . . . for me.”
“I’m sorry, Lacey,” Linda said, “I didn’t mean to scare you. You’re in no way being diagnosed with anything. It’s the opposite, actually. Walker told me a little bit about your mother.”
“Walker!” The humiliation crushed my chest. “How could you? I told you that in confidence. I trusted you.” I tilted my head back and closed my eyes. If I squeezed them hard enough maybe this would all disappear.
I took my seat belt off and turned to face him. His blue eyes captivated me. I could lose myself in them forever and never care. A soft patch of hair shadowed his upper lip. My gaze lingered as I wondered what his lips would feel like against mine.
“What are you thinking?” he asked and trailed his finger lightly across my cheek.
I blushed and silently cursed my pale skin as I reached for his hand. His fingers intertwined with mine. They were strong, rough, and soft all at the same time.
“I’m not good for you, Walker.” I glanced down, embarrassed that those words had slipped out of my mouth. No way had I intended to say anything like that, but my mouth had a mind of its own. My plan had included ending the night with a thank-you and letting Walker go, but instead, it was turning into a tug-of-war between my heart and my brain.
“Lacey, I highly doubt that,” he replied and squeezed my hand.
“How would you know? We just met.” I dared to glance at him. If he knew what I meant he would kick me out of his car right then, leave, and never look back.
Walker leaned his head against his seat as he ran his free hand through his hair. His eyes settled on my face.
“If we date, you’re going to hear things about me and my ex-girlfriend. You and I share some mutual friends and enemies.”
- Who has been your favorite character to write thus far?
I’m not sure I have a favorite, but the most complex and challenging character I’ve written so far is Mama. She first appeared in my short story “Tears in the Sun”, and after several people had nudged me to write a novel, I did. Writing about a character that is mentally ill was an emotional ride. I spoke with therapists and read several books concerning mental disorders. There were times I actually cried while writing a scene because imagining that people live through those situations is heartbreaking.
- What was the hardest story for you to write and why?
I’ve had several short stories traditionally published, and now my first novel is here. However, the second book in this series has been the most difficult to write. It deals with abuse and how it’s a cycle that must be broken. For those affected, this means reaching out for and receiving help.
- If you could no longer write, what would your profession/interest of choice be?
If I no longer wrote fiction, I would continue to operate my careers business. I work with people who are looking for their next job. I help them identify the value they bring to a prospective employer and create marketing documents including resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters. I also coach clients to be effective during the interview process.
- Do you have any advice for authors?
Yes, work with a professional. You will learn to write well much quicker than attending workshops, reading books, and classes. I support and do all of those things, but when I had the opportunity to work with my editor who previously edited for Harper Collins and Routledge Publishing I saw my writing grow exponentially. In my opinion, you can’t beat one-on-one, hands-on training.
- What are you currently working on?
The Truth She Knew is book one in the series. I’ve completed book two, which is currently with my editor for developmental editing. I’m now writing the opening of the third book.
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