Beth G.'s Reviews > Truths

Truths by Rebecca S. Buck
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's review
Jan 09, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, british, books-for-grown-ups, historical-fiction, ebooks, lesbian, romance, author-female, 2010
Read from December 29 to 30, 2010 — I own a copy

In 2008, Jen is working as a costumed tour guide in a Victorian Nottingham gaol. Fresh out of an unsatisfying relationship and unsure about future career prospects, Jen feels most comfortable in the enclosed exercise yard, tucked away from the modern world. Her ease there is disturbed by some strange noises in the dark passageways, and a vision of one of the long-ago prisoners. On a trip to the library to research the name that pops into her head, she meets Owen. Her first date with him is pretty miserable, and she makes an escape with a cute charity collector who happens to be a girl. Over the course of the novel, Jen has to begin figuring out who she is and what she wants in life.

In 1808, Elizabeth Cooper has just been sentenced to death for the crime of "stealing in a dwelling house". Conditions in the prison start out miserable and quickly get worse; her only comfort comes from one of her fellow prisoners, a woman facing transportation to Australia.

The two stories alternate throughout the book. Jen's story is told in first-person, while Elizabeth's is in close-third-person, so the reader only sees events through those two particular viewpoints. Both stories are about truth and lies and the cost of both living lies and embracing the truth. The two women are connected in a way that is gradually revealed.

Overall, the writing is good, but I had a few quibbles. For one thing, there was really only one Elizabeth Cooper in a couple hundred years of prison records? Also, the mystery behind the vandalism really wasn't much of a mystery; Jen just seemed a little slow in figuring it out.

Equal parts historical fiction and contemporary romance, with dashes of mystery and paranormal, it's an enjoyable (though predictable) read. Buck is clearly a promising writer, though, and this is her debut novel. I look forward to her future work.

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