Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Truth of Who You Are

Rate this book
When his family is plunged into poverty during the Great Depression, Ben Taylor takes a job with the US Civilian Conservation Corps developing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A tragic accident puts him in a dilemma: does he let someone else take the fall for what he did so he can keep his position? The repercussions of his decision plague him all the way to the Battle of the Bulge in World War II where Ben is reunited with an old friend from his time with the Corps. Inspired by actual events and the people who once lived in the Smoky Mountains before it became a National Park, this saga explores how people use stories to hide uncomfortable truths.

284 pages, Paperback

Published April 28, 2022

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Sheila Myers

5 books116 followers
I'm an award-winning author of historical and contemporary novels. I like to venture out into the wilderness, swim in lakes, climb mountains, and make the occasional trip to a cemetery to find inspiration. Human failures and passions are always good starting points for a plot and there is plenty of that to go around. I've been adapting my stories to screenplays, because why not? Website https://www.sheilamyers.com/

or follow me on BookBub


Instagram @SheilaMyersAuthor
Facebook @SheilaMyersAuthor

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
61 (54%)
4 stars
37 (33%)
3 stars
11 (9%)
2 stars
1 (<1%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 47 reviews
Profile Image for Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader.
1,181 reviews142 followers
April 22, 2022
The main character Ben was something else. He made this book a real hit for me.
The writing for me was so good the descriptions and the way it all flowed. This was a hit for me and I can't wait to read more from this author. 4 stars and one you don't want to miss. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required, and all views expressed are our own.
Profile Image for  Bookoholiccafe.
695 reviews108 followers
April 21, 2022
I really loved Ben’s story of living through the great depression. He was a strong and caring character. the story was an emotional one for me, the story can be read like a memoir since it is from Ben’s perspective.
I liked the pace, setting, and characters. A very descriptive writing style that I truly enjoyed.
Profile Image for David.
Author 13 books88 followers
April 1, 2022
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Which is always a little unsettling, because as an author myself, I'm always a little nervous when I send my books off to folks. What if they don't like it? Similarly, when I get books from folks to read and review, it's like they've sent me their beloved offspring. What if I don't like it? What do I say then?

Fortunately, THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU ARE is a really lovely read. Myers' novel of a young man living through the Great Depression reads like memoir, as her protagonist leads us through the story of his life in a rural, mountain community. Ben is a good sort, and the genuine struggles of his family to survive read deeply true. Family, friendship, love, and heartbreak? In some novels, they can be played to pull synthetically on the heartstrings. Storytellers, as Myers' protagonist notes frequently throughout the book, often manipulate or overstate for effect.

Myers doesn't do that. Drawing her inspiration from true life stories from the Great Smokies, she tells a tale that conveys the subtle, nonlinear, organic drama of human life. Things happen, but at a real pace. There aren't plot points, carefully constructed to lead to a preordained ending. Illness and sorrow, unexpected setbacks and moments of grace? They all arrive as they would in life. This is all neatly woven up with details of the historical period, along with some lovely prose lighting up the natural beauty of the Great Smokies. It's not fast paced, but life often isn't, either. If you're looking for bang pow action or overblown "reality" TV-style bathos and drama, this one may not be for you.

A four point three, and again, a really lovely read.
Profile Image for Corrine Ardoin.
Author 6 books27 followers
October 28, 2022
I was very impressed with this well-written tale of loyalty and family. It is told through the eyes of one young man, named Ben, who grows up in a mountain region pressured by timber companies and the government to give up their land and its trees. What can never be lost or taken away is his character he carries with him throughout his life. In the end, the painful lesson Ben must learn, from keeping the truth secret, eventually leads him homeward to the people he most loves.

Historically significant, The Truth of Who You Are conveys the crushing heartbreak and impoverishment experienced during the Great Depression and World War II. Changing times, greed, cowardice, ignorance, and class-ism, impact rural mountain people and the regional life-ways they have faithfully handed down through the generations.

The story contains some profanity and violence that is true to the times and the historical events in which the story is conveyed. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy a deeper, soulful look into characters and setting through storytelling.
Profile Image for Kerry Chaput.
Author 5 books260 followers
December 9, 2021
From the Great Depression through the war years, into the 1950s, The Truth of Who You Are is the story of one man's connection to the land and people of his home in the Great Smoky Mountains. It's an emotional tale of loyalty and family told through the eyes of a country boy with a big heart. Myers uses emotional stakes and lively historical details to take us on an adventure through America's turbulent 20th Century.
Profile Image for Kimberly Sullivan.
Author 5 books108 followers
March 23, 2022
Wow! Absolutely loved this novel. I went for my first visit to the Great Smoky Mountains this past summer – I’m only sorry this novel hadn’t yet come out when I was hiking in these picturesque mountains. Will need to reread on my next visit.

This luscious historical novel had me fully grounded in the hillbilly life of rural Tennessee in the 1920s and leading up to the Great Depression.

This compelling story is told through the perceptive eyes of young Ben Taylor, the oldest of five children of a land-rich, cash-poor hillbilly family. Ben is the ideal protagonist, a sensitive boy well grounded in his beloved mountains and the life and traditions of his kinfolk, one who can observe the world around him with intelligence and a dose of innocence.

The novel opens with our protagonist working at the local newspaper. We are soon transported back to the 1920s, when young Ben is one of five children living in the Appalachian mountains. His father is a local and his mother a northerner, and Ben has aunts and cousins living on the mountain slope. Life is difficult for a large family, and becomes even more difficult when his younger brother suffers from consumption (tuberculosis) and requires expensive cures. Falling into debt, the family falls prey to competing interests: the local lumber companies and the federal government – each eager to buy up their land for a pittance.

Ben, like many of his community, will eventually work for the government that destroyed the way of life for Ben and many of the mountain-dwelling community. Ben works for the WPA program that develops the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The entire novel is filled with lush descriptions and compelling historical details. Ben makes for an insightful protagonist, bringing the era and the mountain people to life. I highly recommend this novel.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this novel, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Elaine Schroller.
Author 2 books27 followers
March 25, 2022
The Truth of Who You Are is a really lovely coming of age historical novel about a young boy and his trials and tribulations of growing up poor in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee in the Depression years. Protagonist Ben Taylor, the eldest in a family of five living children, is sensitive to the strengths and foibles of his close and extended family, as well as the folk in the nearest town. His family owns a good amount of heavily forested land, but has very little income, and Ben does everything he can to earn his keep and assist his family.

When the Depression reaches its darkest days and the family is unable to sustain itself, selling land to logging companies or the government is the only way out of abject poverty. Ben eventually begins working for one of the many WPA programs devised by the government to employ the jobless masses; in this story it’s the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Told entirely from Ben’s point of view, Sheila Myers' evocative tale invites readers into Ben’s mind and heart as he struggles to provide for his siblings, retain his dignity in the face of overwhelming odds, and eventually become the sort of man he wanted to be. Myers’ prose is beautifully polished and evocative of a past era in a specific corner of the US during the 1920s and 30s. I loved learning how a WPA project worked from the life of an insider, especially so because the historical details were so skillfully woven into the story. I highly recommend The Truth of Who You Are to fans of 20th century US historical fiction.
Profile Image for Brittany.
736 reviews
March 27, 2022
4.5 stars

This story follows the life of Ben Taylor from the age of 11 during the 1920s, through the Great Depression, working for the Civilian Conservation Corps in The Smoky Mountains, The Battle of the Bulge, life as a newspaper reporter, his family, and all of the ups and downs through it all. A tragic accident while working in the Corps has him questioning his choices for years to come. The only other person to know the true story of the accident happens to be a dead man. His choices haunt him until he happens to be reunited with an old Corps friend during The Battle of the Bulge.

This story is written in such great detail. I was able to imagine it all from Ben’s point of view. I loved the parts of the book when he would talk about his aunts in the mountains or the grove of large old trees. There were parts that could break you, enrage you, curse the government, plot the downfall of some bad men, cheer Ben on, want to shake his parents, and so much more. It was beautifully written. The story of a life based off some real people and events. She wove a tale full of life, loss, fights, friendships, inequality, poverty, and so much more.
Profile Image for Gail Olmsted.
Author 8 books204 followers
January 7, 2022
The main character in The Truth of Who You Are is Ben Taylor, the oldest son of a poor family living in the Great Smokey Mountains. When we first meet Ben, he is a young man of thirteen with more responsibility than any one person should shoulder. Despite being surrounded by a large number of extended family members in Taylor Woods, it is frequently up to Ben to put food in the table by working his family's land, taking on odd jobs and taking care of his younger siblings. Despite his humble beginnings, Ben succeeds by joining the Civilian Conservation Corps where his work ethic and leadership skills propel him to a life far from the mountain. As readers, we get to experience all of the tumultuous events in the first half of the 20th century through his eyes: Prohibition, the Great Depression, WWII and more. Beautifully written with careful attention to historical detail, this book is one I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Dianne McMahan.
500 reviews4 followers
July 13, 2023
A great book of fiction,but loosely based on the truth.
It mostly takes place in the Smokey Mountains.
This story is during the mid 1920's & thru WWII.
Mainly focuses on one of the families who lived in the mtns.in a log cabin.
The family endured many hardships but the children grew up & a few even went to college.
A good novel with too few pages for me,but I did enjoy all of the characters & what they contributed to the story.
Profile Image for Chelsie.
1,040 reviews
April 24, 2022
I learned a lot from this novel- such an interesting read! Ben Taylor and his family for generations have lived in the Taylor Valley, a part of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. They have learned to live off the land, have learned it secrets and respect it. The Great Depression hits and even though they always have been trying to make sends meet, things get even more tight with the Taylor family. Ben's father finds work in town when he can and Ben gets given an opportunity he cannot pass up to to help protect their forest that's been cut down and quickly dwindling away by lumber tycoons who see nothing but profits. The US Civilian Conservation Corps comes in to try and help protect what is happening to the Great Smoky Mountains and Ben's knowledge proves valuable to them. He is helping his family survive with his pay as well as protecting the place he grew up when WWII breaks out and they are now needed to right for their country.

I really enjoy reading about the history of this area of the US and had no idea about the UCCC. It is interesting to read about how families survived during the Great Depressions and Wars. Thank you to Suzy Approved Book Tours for the invite and to the author for the free novel.
Profile Image for Susan Ballard.
1,495 reviews59 followers
April 22, 2022
Thank you to @suzyapprovedbooktours and @sheilamyersauthor for this poignant and historical coming-of-age story.

Ben Taylor’s family lives in a cabin up in the Smokey Mountains. There they live off their land, for the most part, except when his pa takes work in town, and ma sells a painting.

Life is hard. Sickness takes its toll, and the lumber company comes to buy up the rich forested land. When the Great Depression hits, Ben’s family suffers more loss, and Ben applies for the Civilian Conservation Corps. He is accepted into the camp that would be developing a National Park.

After Ben’s time in the CCC, he and his wife move to Washington D.C. to start his new job with Corps Administration. With the US entering WWII, Ben enlists as a correspondent for the Army. And many things come full circle.

This is a broad stroke of history from a young boy’s youth in the Smokey Mountains in 1926 to the planning of a National Park, then across the ocean to the Battlefield of the Ardennes in 1944. While the story itself feels very personal, it does reflect on some key topics: women forging new fields, the horrors of war, deforestation, and even truth in journalism.

Profile Image for Dawn Hogan.
Author 1 book13 followers
July 19, 2022
The Truth of Who You Are is wonderful family saga which chronicles the struggles of the Taylor family in the Smoky Mountains during the depression, World War II and beyond. Sheila Myers descriptions of the backwoods life is visual and pulled me into the story. The endearing family relationships kept me invested and hoping for good outcomes in the troubles they experienced. I particularly enjoyed the parts with the maiden aunts and their skills with herbs, beekeeping and spinning sheep’s wool. Myers’ vast research on the Civilian Conservation Corps gives great insight into the devastating tradeoffs that were made, which displaced families, took their land by way of eminent domain, yet brought jobs, roads and electricity to communities facing certain starvation. In doing so they created one of the most treasured national parks we can all appreciate today. This is a book that will stay with me. It’s a great read.
Profile Image for Debbie Rozier.
813 reviews43 followers
April 18, 2022
I stayed up way past my bedtime to read this historical fiction novel.

This book is set in the years between 1926-1959 in which our main character, Ben is between 13 and 46 years old.

With the setting mostly taking place in the Smoky Mountains, I loved the story the book tells about the logging industry and the US Civilian Conservation Corps. I learned a ton about what the Corps did and their role in creating National Parks. The book also takes us briefly to Washington, DC and to a European battlefield in World War II.

But this book isn’t just a history lesson. It also portrays loyalty and love among families and within friendships.

The author did the most amazing job through her descriptions of making me feel like I was with Ben during the different time periods in his life. Ben faces adversities and he has to make tough choices that impact not only him but also those around him.

There are secrets, scenery, and a sense of survival that are found in those Great Smoky Mountains.

Sheila has shown just like her main character, Ben, to be a gifted storyteller.
11 reviews
January 21, 2023
This book held my attention through the entire historical fiction 1926-1959. While I am familiar with the Civilian Conservation Corps; I haven’t been to Tennessee nor the Great Smoky National Park developed by the hard working corps members. The author does a great job developing each character. I would like to read more of her books.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard.
Author 3 books265 followers
June 18, 2022
If you enjoy historical fiction packed with true grit, action, and plenty of heart, I highly recommend THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU ARE, the latest novel by Sheila Myers. Set primarily in the Depression Era, it is the story of a young man born and raised in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee who must face poverty, the destruction of the land he loves, and the dissolution of his family. But Ben Taylor is not one to give up. With keen intelligence and the will to survive, he rises through the ranks of the US Civilian Conservation Corps as it recruits young men from across the country to develop the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The author clearly has done her research. From Ben’s impoverished childhood to his time in the Corps work camp to his experiences under fire in World War II, the details of setting and historical background are impeccable—and fascinating. I didn’t know anything about the Corps and its mission, nor did I appreciate how the US government’s actions tore apart families, communities, and an entire way of life. However, the Corps also provided much-needed employment and, for some, it was their only salvation from an economic crisis that caused suffering unlike anything this nation had experienced before. Myers’s story follows Ben through the unique challenges of his early life in a rural community struggling to survive and into adulthood, where his work ethic and ability to read and write help him achieve some measure of success. Finally, we see Ben thrust into the midst of battle in World War II, with everything at stake and little time left to make peace with his past.

Ben is troubled by two tragic incidents in his life that forever change the way he sees himself and
others. How he deals with these emotional and moral challenges is at the center of Myers’s first-person narrative. I found Ben Taylor, as well as the novel’s other characters, to be completely authentic and utterly captivating. The dialogue is fantastic, giving the reader a genuine “feel” for Ben and the people surrounding him, many of them poor and illiterate but with uncommon ingenuity and determination. Interesting details of rural life in that era, living off the land, forestry and logging, the day-to-day work of the Corps, and, finally, the hardships of war are seamlessly woven into a tale about human dignity and frailty. An American saga, this book shines a light on the country’s history of diversity. It reminds us that, while injustices are often committed in the name of progress, strong people somehow find a way to hold on to hope and, ultimately, to thrive.

The author’s language is rich, her understanding of human nature is keen, and the story is one that I won’t forget. Five stars for THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU ARE.
238 reviews1 follower
June 9, 2022
An amazing historical book.

I love some of the old history based stories and this was is exceptionally good.Beautifully told and very strong people. Their way of life as" Hillbillies" but actually a fantastic way of life.It then goes on showing how they were driven off their land for greed and the beatifull trees that were in their possession. It all plays in the background of 2 wars and the depression. Very well written and entertaining and the characters were well chosen and very courageous.
Profile Image for Regina Buttner.
Author 2 books160 followers
June 20, 2022
An engaging story that explores the intricacies of loyalty, perseverance in the face of hardship, and the twists and turns a young man's life takes as he struggles to preserve the dignity of his home and family.
Profile Image for M.K..
Author 6 books204 followers
February 11, 2022
I had the pleasure of an advance copy of Sheila Myers new novel. It's a sweeping family saga full of love, heartbreak, hard time, and the sustaining power of family. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sheila Myers.
Author 5 books116 followers
Currently reading
September 20, 2023
I know some of my book club friends only listen to audio now. So I'm happy to announce that The Truth of Who You Are is now available on audio on all major outlets! Enjoy the listen!
Profile Image for Joan Fernandez.
125 reviews20 followers
March 5, 2022
It’s a starkly honest start – this story begins with an obituary reporter in a newspaper office looking out a window. He thinks about his doctor’s pronouncement that he will die soon. He witnesses the furtive movements of an abused wife and then her intrepid abuser. Each of these notes swirl into a mix of introspection. He’s had the role of writing about others’ lives after death, smoothing over uncomfortable secrets, and now knows that his will end. Will his life reveal the hundreds—hundreds of thousands—of small untruths he’s told throughout his own life? The choices and inevitable regrets? Author Sheila Myers covers impressive terrain while exploring these themes.

The narrator, Ben Taylor, begins his story as an uncomplicated big brother, entering young manhood in the hills of the Smoky Mountains in the 1920’s, His upbringing has been a simple life of living off the land, where the undulating hills and forests of old and new growth trees are deeply familiar. But as he comes of age, while a part of him is tied to his family life, another part is drawn to the curious changes coming to their mountain by logging companies and the wealth it rewards its workers. It’s an age-old conflict of preserving the old against the destruction of inevitable progress that Ben will witness again and again throughout his life. His story takes us into the Great Depression, inside the Civilian Conservation Corps across the ocean to the Battle of the Bulge and into the 1950’s and more. Stepping back, it’s an impressive sweep of history; yet, Myers makes it all personal by keeping the story close to Ben. An emotionally scarred neighbor, Finn, reflects the haunting horror of WWI’s trench warfare. A botanist-inspired sister, Mary, mirrors women forging into new career territories. No one can stay untouched by the times they live in—even in the back hills of an old forest.

And as for Truth, Myers forces Ben to grapple with it by becoming a writer. He’s asked to embellish CCC’s accomplishments to help it curry political favor. He’s called upon to fabricate heroic stories of fallen soldiers to their next-of-kin in WWII. Each of these incidents and more leaves him in that newspaper office at the end of the book with insistent questions about how his own life should be reviewed. What was the truth? Was it all worth it? I found Myer’s insistent examination stayed with me long after I finished the book.
Profile Image for Penn Gates.
Author 6 books4 followers
January 27, 2022
This is a pre-publication review of The Truth of Who You Are by Sheila M. Myers, coming out in April, 2022.

As a reader, I want the words of a novel to be put together so artfully that I forget that I’m reading and allow myself to be carried away by the story. This is such a book.

In 1926, the year Ben Taylor turns 13, he first begins to tell us of his family, mountain folk who have lived for generations in Taylor Valley in the Smoky Mountains. He sees the world as his father does, a man he admires for his intimate knowledge of the land and everything that grows.

Even as the two of them visit a grove of ancient trees to harvest ginseng, they can hear the logging company cutting trees. Pa Taylor is determined to protect his own land at all costs. But as those costs to the family’s wellbeing mount, Ben begins to realize that his father is also headstrong and inflexible. In the end, the family is torn apart by the elder Taylor’s inability to change.

Ben grows to young adulthood during the Great Depression, and faithfully continues to chronicle the events of his life. When the federal government decides to make the area into a National Park, he finds not only a way to support his mother and sisters, but a measure of peace as he goes to work for the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps and helps replant trees and repair the scars of logging.
Like most of those who would one day be called The Greatest Generation, Ben is called on to serve his country during WWII. Unlike many of his friends, he survives the war, and returns home to accept a life much different than his ancestors lived.

A single person’s perspective on the vast upheavals that occurred over a span of thirty years is complicated enough to write, but Myers also subtly changes that perspective from that of a boy to a man in a way so natural as to be almost imperceptible.

This book hits all the bases: great writing, characters that live and breathe, and a subtle message: we should all think twice before we disrespect nature. Even with the best intentions, humans cause unforeseen consequences when they treat nature simplistically as a mere resource for their own species.

Most importantly, though, the story of the Taylors reminds us that the human spirit is able to endure and thrive under the worst of circumstances.
Profile Image for A.M. Clyne.
Author 1 book1 follower
February 6, 2022
Sheila Myers’ new book, ‘The Truth of Who You Are’, is a fictional homage to the bygone residents of the Great Smoky Mountains, many of whom were uprooted by lumber companies (looking to line their pockets) and conservationists (looking to preserve the area and turn it into a national park).

At first, we see the humble lifestyle on the mountain as idyllic — picturesque, unspoiled wilderness surrounds the characters in a world where (as the author says right up front) ‘distances are measured in hours instead of miles’. The characters are seen as poor folk by outsiders, but in truth, they may be richer for their connection to nature and each other.

However, as the story unfolds, and the main character Ben grows up, we see that far too much is placed on his young shoulders. With four siblings, a father who is stuck in the past and doesn’t want his world to change, and a ‘transplanted’ mother who sees and experiences her husband’s world only by drawing and painting it, Ben is forced to focus on the present and future. While his choices over the years grant him an education, take him to the big city and, eventually, Europe during WW2, his heart is never far from Hickory Run and Taylor Grove. Like his father, he chooses not to expose the many truths that have shaped him and others.

It’s ultimately a story about people: family, relationships, dysfunction, secrets, loss, life and death.

Sheila Myers has an innate talent for not simply describing a story world, but submerging you in it, so much so that you can feel the icy water of a clear, mountain brook numbing your bare feet, smell the yeasty scent of freshly baking bread, and hear the insects buzzing around your head. She is an incredible storyteller.
Profile Image for Carolyn Anderson.
9 reviews3 followers
January 11, 2022
When Sheila Myers put out a request for people to review her latest novel, “The Truth of Who You Are,” I immediately volunteered. The story focused on two very interesting backgrounds: The Civilian Conservative Corp. (CCC), part of the New Deal ,which focused on developing our National Parks and Battle of the Bulge during WWII . I became very interested in the National Parks after watching the PBS special, “The National Parks” produced by the iconic Ken Burns. Since my father fought at the Battle of the Bulge, this also was a strong draw.

The story follows Ben Taylor from his poverty-ridden childhood in the Smoky Mountains to the Civilian Conservative Corp, to Washington D.C., to the Battle of The Bulge, and lastly back home to the Smoky Mountains. The Civilian Conservative Corp. would prove to be a turning point for Ben in many ways.

The author does a fantastic job describing life during the depression along with the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. I could feel their poverty and despair while also feeling their pride in areas with such names as Hickory Creek and Ravens Bull. I could smell the blossoms, the trees. I could visualize their threadbare clothing and “holy” shoes or no shoes at all.

The visual descriptions set the mood; however, it was the character development that made the story. I felt both the heartaches and joys of Ben and his family. I melted at the enthusiasm and loyalty from his friend, Tony, who would prove to be my favorite. Both Ben and Tony were changed by enlisting in the CCC. Lessons were learned and secrets were revealed. Ultimately, it would be those secrets that would bond these two friends together for life and make for one very interesting story.
Profile Image for Janis Daly.
Author 1 book96 followers
March 20, 2022
Sheila Myers deftly brings setting and characters to life in THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU ARE with her descriptions of the Smoky Mountains of 1920s and 1930s Tennessee. Having visited the area several years ago, her words immediately transported me back to soaring trees bracketing winding roads with streams, creeks, rivers, and waterfalls running alongside the highway. After reading THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU ARE, I am even more grateful for the sacrifices and work of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the men, like Myers' main fictional character, Ben Taylor, who built those roads while preserving the natural beauty surrounding them.

Before, during, and after his service in the Corps, Ben Taylor matures along a coming-of-age storyline complete with doubts which challenge him to seek the truths of his life, even the uncomfortable ones. Fraught with family turmoil, Myers presents and resolves issues which trigger strained relationships, adding complexity to her characters. By exploring another slice of life during The Great Depression, THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU ARE exposes the trials of those years as families sought to confront unbearable evils of the times.

I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Profile Image for Stacy Hawks.
84 reviews6 followers
February 1, 2023
In her novel The Truth of Who You Are author Sheila Myers takes readers back to The Great Depression in rural Tennessee and introduces readers to a character who loves both his family and the land he grew up on. As a result he takes a job with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) to help make ends meet, rising through its ranks and is an asset along the way. However, as so much begins to change in his life, with his family, and the world Myers' poignant description of the land begins to reflect the shift. This book is beautifully written, and well researched. Myers effortlessly weaves a story full of heart, adventure, and resiliency while preserving the history and impact those who worked for the CCC camps had on the Southern US, and honors the struggles of the Greatest Generation. This story will stay with readers who love historical fiction, and will leave them wanting more. I look forward to reading more of this authors work.
Profile Image for Bernie Brown.
57 reviews32 followers
February 8, 2022
This is a story of loyalty, hardship, first love, and family that follows Ben Taylor through the takeover of family farms by the lumber industry in Ben’s beloved Great Smoky Mountains. He survives the hardscrabble life of the depression and joins the Civilian Conservation Corps to make enough money to send home to his family. In the Corps, Ben becomes good friends with Tony. They both get caught up in a morally ambiguous situation that results in a man’s death that haunts Ben forever after. Ben goes on to get married and serve in World War II. Myers has thoroughly researched the major events of the first half of the twentieth century, mountain life and the depression’s effect on it, the CCC, and the war years. You will enjoy reading about Ben Taylor living through all of it while searching for the truth of who he really is.
January 13, 2022
"The Truth of Who You Are" tells the story of Ben, a boy who comes of age in the rural mountains of Tennessee as the world is changing around him. The hardscrabble life of hunting, fishing, raising bees for honey and subsistence farming changes forever, as lumber companies eye the old growth forests and the government looks to preserve land for the national park systems. Ben adapts joining the Civilian Conservation Corps. Sheila Myers brings the CCC alive through Ben and the other young men, many uneducated and poor, who learned their trades and built the schools, community centers and parks that are still in use today.
Profile Image for Rebecca Hodge.
Author 2 books168 followers
February 11, 2022
Set in the Smoky Mountains during the years from the Great Depression through World War II, THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU ARE traces the life of Ben, a young man growing up in the midst of overwhelming change as the mountain forests and the people who live there are uprooted first by the lumber companies and later by the creation of a National Park. With meticulous attention to detail, this book provides a window into a lost way of life and explores the accomplishments of the CCC. An emotional tale of family and resiliency, this is a quiet book that will stay with the reader long after the final page.
Profile Image for Susan .
48 reviews
May 7, 2022
Hauntingly Written

Ms Myers pulled me in immediately. The Truth of Who You Are tells of a way of life that for so many has been lost (whether or not this is ‘progress’ is anyone’s guess). As I am the great-granddaughter of ‘mountain folk’ aka ‘hillbillies’ - on both sides of my family - I found this novel beautifully haunting. The Author did a great job of researching her subjects (from Mountain Life, to the Depression, to the Civilian Conservation Corps and the creation of Smoky Mountain National Park, and on to parts of WWII, as well as life in a small town). I could absolutely picture the mountains, valleys, the magnificent trees (and the loss of the mammoth trees as they were cut by lumber companies); I was sorry to see the end of this book!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 47 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.