Truth of the Matter
by Jamie Beck
Release Date: September 22, 2020
Book #2 in the Potomac Point series
Number of Pages: 334
Source: Net Galley ARC
Read 9/8/20 to 9/10/20
Seventeen years ago, two pink stripes on a pregnancy test changed Anne Sullivan’s life. She abandoned her artistic ambitions, married her college sweetheart before graduation, and—like the mother she lost in childhood—devoted herself to her family. To say she didn’t see the divorce coming is an understatement. Now, eager to distance herself from her ex and his lover, she moves with her troubled daughter, Katy, to the quaint bayside town of Potomac Point, where she spent her childhood summers.
But her fresh start stalls when the contractor renovating her grandparents’ old house discovers a vintage recipe box containing hints about her beloved grandmother’s hidden past. Despite the need to move forward, Anne is drawn into exploring the mysterious clues about the woman she’s always trusted. Gram’s dementia is making that harder, and the stakes intensify when Katy’s anxieties take an alarming turn. Amid the turmoil, uncovered secrets shatter past beliefs, forcing each woman to confront her deepest fears in order to save herself.
Another heart wrenching story in this series. Jamie Beck really knows how to get you to care (deeply) about her characters. She puts them in extreme situations that could easily teeter into “over the top”, but never do. That being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t give some content warnings here. There are a lot of issues being dealt with in this story, one of them being cutting. Along with that goes depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues. While I think this book tells an important story, I know there are certain people that should skip this one.
Although this story is the second in a series, you absolutely do not need to read one in order to understand the other. The stories share a town and an overall feeling, but they are truly standalone books.
The author does a beautiful job capturing a mother’s worries when it comes to her teenage child. Anne has made some missteps in her life, but she has done her best to be the model mom and wife. Everything falls apart when her husband leaves her for another woman, so she decided to move to her grandmother’s house in Potomac Point, a place of fond memories and feelings of being loved. That’s where our story picks up. It’s very evident Anne does all she can to be a neutral spot for her daughter to land. Of course Katy is upset her parents split, not to mention the way her dad went about everything. But Anne is determined to take the high road. The more she bites her tongue, the more she bottles things inside, the more stressed she feels.
As for Katy, she has always tried so hard to live up to her dad’s expectations. He’s not a bad father, but he’s not great. (The cheating and leaving his family aside.) He really doesn’t see how much pressure he puts on Katy, he’s in his own bubble where his daughter earns top grades, is a top athlete, and doesn’t get into trouble. He doesn’t look outside that bubble to see how much of a toll keeping it all up takes on Katy. But Anne sees, and Anne worries…with good reason.
Watching this family navigate the roller coaster that is divorce broke my heart. Along the way Anne is also looking in on her grandmother who is not in a nursing home due to memory issues (dementia, possibly Alzheimer’s) and learning some family secrets. Things that could effect Katy and the way she’s handling the divorce.
Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. Anne reconnects with an old crush, Dan. He’s often the voice of reason and reassurance for Anne during the turmoil with Katy. They decide to be friends since she has so much going on her life and isn’t ready for more, but she can’t seem to stay away. He’s just too nice and too good of a person. Anne has spent all of her adult life taking care of everyone else. Having someone attempt to take care of her is almost irresistible for her.
I know one of the reasons this story hit me in the gut so hard is because the situations are so real. The oblivious dad, the “evil” stepmother, the first wife and mom that’s trying too hard to keep things “normal” while her world is falling apart around her. I have to remind myself, next time I’m going to pick a Jamie Beck book up, to be in the right emotional head space before beginning. She gets me every time.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**