book, Book Review

Truth be Told by Carol Cox

About the Book:Book - Truth Be Told (Cox)
Author: Carol Cox
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2014
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Genre: Fiction; Historical, Inspirational
Rating: 3 out of 5

Trying new authors always suggests there is some kind of “risk” involved. Either we’ll walk away with a beautiful new story to fill our minds for times to come and a new favorite pen to share about with friends or we come away disappointed. Whatever the case, sometimes the happy medium is just enjoying an easy story. This book, the third from Carol Cox’s Bethany House line of novels, introduces us to Amelia Wagner, a smart, opinionated daughter of a journalist father. Ever since her parent’s separation, Amelia has lived with her mother in the city, enjoying every advantage most society girls dream of. Only Amelia isn’t like most girls. She’d rather follow in her father’s footsteps and when she returns to Arizona to learn that her father is ill and soon after he dies, she decides to take up not just his mantle but also the story he was chasing about the Great Western company – a story that leads her straight into the path of Ben Stone, a “company man,” who has his own task to accomplish.

Considering I’d never read any of Carol’s books (I own her prior two), I thought it’d be fun to give one of her novels a shot. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get interested in this one. It has a nice message and some of the morals it explores are interesting, there just didn’t seem to be the same kind of depth that most of its peers do. For starters the characters didn’t shine. Amelia has a moment in the beginning when she puts a young flirt in his place – something that instantly had me liking her and expecting a spunky girl, so the further I read into the story, the more I expected I’d be fond of her character only she never really become “real” beyond that point. Same goes for Ben. Sure, I liked him and respected him for respecting Amelia, but again, he never really “came off the page,” which is something we should search for and not unrealistically expect of a good novel.

What is interesting is the embedded message in this novel about searching for and following our convictions of truth no matter where it leads. In this, there was no disconnect, however the plot overshadowed the ability for the reader to connect with its protagonists. Amelia’s journey led her to the right place, which is nothing to undermine and while I have no intention of doing that, in some ways, the greatest of her strengths was also the overall downfall of the idea. With little time left in the story, there is some breath-catching will-they-or-won’t-they in determining if a dire situation will be resolved with a happier conclusion. There are some cute bits of banter including a consistently interrupted kiss. If you like the western genre or the popular, Mary Connealy, check into Truth be Told. It just may be the summer read you are looking for.

Synopsis: When Amelia Wagner takes over the running of her father’s newspaper in Granite Springs, Arizona, she vows to carry on the paper’s commitment to reporting only the truth. But Amelia soon learns that even the truth can have consequences. Her father’s revealing articles about Great Western Investment Company’s business methods have caught the notice of the wrong person, and pressure mounts for Amelia to retract her father’s statements.

Determined to find the truth, Amelia goes through her father’s notes and begins to interview members of the community. She can’t seem to shake Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee who’s been assigned to keep tabs on her for the good of the company.

The more Ben and Amelia learn, the more Amelia’s father’s claims appear to be accurate. In fact, it’s probably worse than he realized. Even Ben is beginning to wonder if he’s become a pawn in the workings of a corrupt empire. But Great Western isn’t about to stand for a female reporter and one of their own men bringing down their lucrative schemes. Working against time, and never knowing what danger lurks around the next corner, Ben and Amelia set out to reveal all they’ve discovered before Great Western silences them for good.

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

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