Have you met Kristy Woodson Harvey yet? If not, you're missing out. Lies and Other Acts of Love is her second novel and it's just so so good. So good.
I met her (not face-to-face, but someday!) around the time that her first book came out. You'll find my praises of Dear Carolina pretty straightforward. I loved the book. And I loved this one, too.
Such a beautiful book. Yet again Woodson Harvey has captured the essence of family and the beauty of North Carolina living. Her stories weave together the strains that secrets cause on relationships and the way that love can more often than not pull you through. True love. And all that it carries with it.
Annabelle and Lovey are the two women whose voices and thoughts we hear throughout the book. It seems as though Annabelle is our main character, but this takes nothing away from Lovey - her grandmother. If anything we see the impact that the family matriarch held on her granddaughter and her daughters.
The secrets that unravel throughout this book don't necessarily amaze you. It's the characters. Their strengths. Their weaknesses. The amazing part is the way they maneuver through their lives and relationships.
Annabelle is a young and newly married woman. She's had a whirlwind relationship with her husband, and when I saw whirlwind I truly mean it. You'll see. Is he trustworthy? Will they last? Should she go back to her ex? Will she? If so, why? What would be the final straw?
Lovey is, as I mentioned, the family matriarch. She's got so much insight. So much awareness. She knows what secrets can do to relationships. What they can do to a family. And still, holds her own secrets close to the heart.
The family patriarch, D-Daddy, Lovey's husband and Annabelle's grandfather, is ill. He fades in and out of awareness. Sometimes he's so on-point it's like his mind has never left. And other times he does nothing more but grunt in response to loved ones. It's heart-breaking. If you've ever watched a loved one struggle through dementia or Alzheimer's you'll know that Kristy has nailed this character to the point of creating a lump in my throat every time he entered a scene. Or we walked in and he was there. Just. There. Sitting. Quietly. Trapped in his own thoughts. So so sad.
Annabelle's relationships with the men in her life, from her ex, to her husband, to her boss - so many questions stirred up. So many thoughts. I can't say that some of it was unexpected, because as you make your way through the story you kind of expect the bad behaviors, you're given the hints from the other characters. Lovey holds nothing back when she shares with us - so Woodson Harvey sets us up for Annabelle's experiences in that way.
I feel like I could write forever about how much I enjoyed this book, but I'm guessing that by now you get me and think you should understand why it was one of my fave reads of 2016 so far. Which isn't bad considering I'm about twenty books in, give or take.
Lies and Other Acts of Love is the perfect spring release (affiliate link). You're going to love it and find yourself wanting to know more about what happens with Annabelle. Maybe a sequel will be in the works? Or maybe we'll just leave things as they are. Some characters need to wrap up exactly as they do. Either way, whatever Kristy Woodson Harvey releases next? Count me in.
* I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions are entirely my own. I was not compensated in any way for this review. *
Order your copy today. Seriously. You'll thank me.