Book Title: The Truth She Knew (The Truth She Knew, #1)
Author: J.A. Owenby
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Release Date: September 12, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
“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.
Lacy is unwanted and unloved. Her family, especially her mother, has trained her to believe she is broken and can only bring pain and trouble to anyone she is around. While her friends know life at home is tough, Lacey keeps the worst to herself, afraid that if they knew her secret. When Walker comes into her life and the truth is exposed, Lacey learns that there are people that do love her, and what was happening at home was not normal. But as soon as the light of hope starts to warm her life, “Mama” brings a storm with clouds so dark Lacey may never see the light again.
The Truth She Knew is an emotional tale of abuse. J.A. Owenby did not sugarcoat the effects of abuse on a young woman, and how her every day life is affected by it. Lacey’s character is quite realistic, bringing the story to life. I can empathize with Lacey, especially as she is making excuses for her abuser and holding on to a sliver of hope that she will one day be loved and accepted. The ending is satisfying enough to not leave readers in turmoil, but does leave them wanting more. I am greatly looking forward to learning what comes next!
*ARC provided for honest review
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.
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.