Book Review: What Lies in Truth
Reviewed by Manik Chaturmutha
Love, based on a true story—entangled in a web of lies
Truth has a way of coming out, even if it is buried deep down or coated with lies. What Lies In Truth is the story of the author’s grandparents—a truth that was buried for decades that resurfaced after the death of the author’s grandmother. Trish Mastel Stricklin has collected bits of memorabilia and fact, compiling them into a beautiful novel of love, lies, and truth.
Henrietta first meets Father Martim Ferrera on Easter Sunday at St. Bernard’s church. The thirteen-year-old immediately becomes infatuated with the handsome, honey-voiced priest. And next time they meet is six years later, at St. Albert Abbey, where Henrietta is starting work as a servant and Father Ferrera, now an ordained priest, is teaching Theology and Engineering. On seeing Father Ferrera again, Henrietta’s long-buried feelings come back to play.
Although a kind and gentle soul, Father Ferrera struggles with his past. He is a wanted man in Portugal for rebellion against the government, who escaped to America and assumed priesthood to run away from his past and follow the path of God.
But frequent encounters with Henrietta make him question his will to keep his oath to God as he becomes enticed by her strong-headedness. When living in close quarters, not giving in to their feelings becomes increasingly difficult for the two. They eventually give in and sin in the eyes of God, but not without consequences.
How will they protect their forbidden love from the scorn of society, and how will they atone themselves in the eyes of God?
The story follows a linear timeline, which makes the story easy to follow. Stricklin has provided the dates and places for each of the incidences. Although, some names and other tidbits of information are altered. Her writing feels authentic and intimate, and the research is evident on the page.
The book provides the perspectives of both protagonists. Henrietta is a strong powerful woman of the early 20th century who dares to follow her will and pursue her heart. Although Father Martim Ferrera is the other part of the narrative, it most definitely is Henrietta’s story.
Stricklin has come out victorious in novelizing this tale and capturing the realities of the Great Depression. At its core, What Lies In Truth is a story of love, a love so afraid to be scorned that it wrapped itself in a thick web of lies.
What Lies In Truth is the Stricklin family’s story, and we are better off with Trish Mastel Stricklin telling it. If you love family history and historical fiction, this book is an excellent blend of both.
Genre: Historical Fiction / Romance
Print Length: 275 pages
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