Published by William Morrow on January 28, 2020
Source: the publisher
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International bestselling author Susan Lewis’s riveting, unforgettable novel of a woman determined to protect her children—at all costs.
A mother’s worst nightmare becomes a reality…
Angie Watts once had what seemed like an idyllic life: a house in a small town in the English countryside with her beloved husband Steve and their three adored children. She never could have predicted how her life would one day turn out.
When her oldest son, Liam, grows from a sweet-natured boy to a troubled teen, Angie’s world begins to crumble. Expelled from school and disappearing from home for days on end, Liam falls in with a notorious local gang. After arriving home one day to find their 5-year-old son with a syringe Liam has left lying around, Steve makes a rash decision that will have lasting repercussions on their family.
Two years later, Steve is gone, Liam is missing, and with money running out, Angie and her other two children are on the brink of eviction. Then Angie is called into the police station and informed that there’s been a murder—and Liam is a suspect. As Angie’s desperation to save her family leads her to take drastic measures, her daughter secretly devises her own plan to save the family…which could put everyone in danger.
Alternating between Angie’s blissful life as a young mother and her present-day nightmare, Home Truths is a searing exploration of the lengths one mother will go to survive and protect her children.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Angie and Steve have three children. Their oldest son, Liam, is addicted to drugs and is involved with a violent gang. The same gang ends up violently killing Steve while their son watches on, and Angie ends up banning Liam from coming back to the house. Angie does everything she can to scrape together a life for herself and her remaining two children after Steve’s murder, but she isn’t able to make things work out before getting evicted from the home they all shared together in happier times.
Truly, this story felt intense. Angie has so much to deal with. Grief over the loss of her husband, of course, but also low wages that aren’t enough to cover her bills, getting further and further behind on her bills, a son involved in bad activities and practically missing, and how to handle everything when it catches up with her. I love that she has a supportive sister, Emma, but there’s only so much that Emma can do for Angie. Their bond is a really good one and it made me feel good for Angie and her children. But I also felt frustrated that various government programs that could have really made a difference in the lives of Angie and her kids but held back because they expected Emma to take them on and provide for them. Emma does what she can, but she has some issues of her own. The whole “You have relatives in the area. You can stay with them.” argument was something that I was not expecting and it definitely increased many of the feelings that I had while I was reading.
ALSO: watching Angie’s young teenage daughter, Grace, navigate social media throughout all of the hardship was probably the most intense and stressful part of the story for me. Grace is quite young and clearly does not fully understand how dangerous and scary the internet and direct messaging can be when we aren’t careful. I cringed over and over and over at how she was so out there and forthcoming and comfortable with her social media posts. I have three teenagers myself and occasionally I wonder if I’m a little too involved and/or restrictive with their social media/messaging allowances, but watching Grace navigate all of this alone (albeit some of her motives are good ones) was terrifying.
One thing that is abundantly clear from the very beginning of the story is Angie’s total love for her children. She seems to make her decisions with them in mind, which I completely understand. Still, there are times that I’d probably have done things a little differently than Angie. Made some different decisions. The difference here, I suppose, is that I am able to make different choices because of my where I am situated in life, and I fully realize this.
Home Truths really made me think a lot and I felt a lot of emotions throughout the story. While her previous book One Minute Later was written about entirely different things, I remember feeling a lot of emotion throughout that story too and I remember all of those intense feelings. Susan Lewis definitely has knack for writing about subjects that really pull our heart strings, especially where family is concerned, and I’m genuinely curious about her extensive backlist.