[This review is based on an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) digital edition published by The Writing Works Group in 2013, and provided by NetGalley.]
Here’s the deal:
As a blogger, I spend a decent amount of time on social media, and especially on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. A long time ago, I was on Twitter and came across an author named Katherine Owen. I love following authors; I’m always very interested in seeing what they’ve written and what they have to say about life and the world in which we live. I decided to follow her, having no real idea about who she was or what she’d written, and that was it.
Until, one day, this picture came across my Twitter feed from her.
I took one look at that image and immediately hit NetGalley to find the book. (It called to the dancer in me!) After I finished reading The Divorce Papers last week, I wrote that review and then jumped right into This Much Is True. The book is about a ballet student named Talia Landon who, at the very start of the book, suffers a serious tragedy that tears her family apart. However, this tragedy leads to a chance meeting with up-and-coming baseball star Lincoln Presley, which changes both of their lives forever. What Lincoln doesn’t initially know is that Talia avoids relationships; she frequently engages in casual sex but avoids the complications brought about by getting involved with men…until Lincoln enters the picture, that is. Through the course of the book, Talia and Lincoln are brought together and torn apart, and they love each other and lie to each other again and again, all while pursuing their respective careers in ballet and baseball. Will they be able to find each other once more and stick together?
Falling. Failing. Losing.
These are the three biggest fears our main characters share, and the three parts into which the book is separated. We are forced to sit by and watch as Talia and Lincoln both fall, fail, and lose. But will they ultimately win?
WOW. This Much Is True is reminiscent of a soap opera — there’s so much drama — and I loved it! The book is written from both Talia’s and Lincoln’s points of view, which I appreciated as someone who likes getting both sides of stories. One common thread seems to run from beginning to end: no matter where their lives take them, these two need each other. They’re always on each other’s minds, regardless of their personal relationships with other people and where they are in the world. At one point, Talia is in Russia on tour with the New York City Ballet when she comes under attack. Who comes to her rescue? Lincoln who, as it turns out, is in Russia with his girlfriend to see Talia’s performance. She, meanwhile, has taken up with her sister’s ex-boyfriend as a means of trying not only to move past the tragedy that has struck her family but also to help her try to let go of Lincoln.
I also found myself really drawn to both leads’ pursuit of successful careers. Both Talia and Lincoln keep coming back to the same thing, aside from each other: “Ballet is all that’s left.” “Baseball is all I have.” Their chosen fields consume them, both bolstering and hindering them at the same time. I was a dancer in my younger years and, while I obviously never chased the dream of dancing as an adult, I remember reading dancers’ memoirs and hearing stories about how difficult it was to dance full-time. It’s a year-round, all-consuming dream that seriously leaves little room for any kind of outside life including, for some dancers, eating (because, after all, it’s harder for a partner to lift you if you weigh more from enjoying food). I can’t speak to the lives of baseball players, though I imagine it’s similar. Even during the off-season, baseball players are constantly training and conditioning, rehabbing injuries, and studying tapes to keep themselves in top shape for Opening Day. Life as an athlete is tough, and Katherine Owen paints that picture clearly and beautifully.
Aside from all of this, there’s also drama surrounding their friends and significant others. Those dramas run the gamut, from ill-conceived romances and unplanned pregnancies to alcoholism and deception. This Much Is True is full of activity, and it never slows down. Even with all of this happening, though, everything comes back to Talia and Lincoln: you find yourself rooting, for better or worse, for them to find and claim each other. Their story begins with a lie and ends with an unavoidable truth…and that’s all I’ll say on the matter. (I don’t want to give everything away!)
So would I recommend this book?
If you’re a fan of soaps and/or someone who loves lengthy, dark, twisty love stories (because this book is a long one), this is THE. BOOK. FOR. YOU!! I hope you love it as much as I do! And by the way, I’ve spoken with Katherine Owen and she informed me that she’s working on a sequel. I can’t wait for that!!