When Truly Plaice's
mother was pregnant, the town of Aberdeen joined together in betting how
recordbreakingly huge the baby boy would ultimately be. The girl who
proved to be Truly paid the price of her enormity; her father blamed her
for her mother's death in childbirth, and was totally ill equipped to
raise either this giant child or her polar opposite sister Serena Jane,
the epitome of femine perfection. When he, too, relinquished his
increasingly tenuous grip on life, Truly and Serena Jane are
separated--Serena Jane to live a life of privilege as the future May
Queen and Truly to live on the outskirts of town on the farm of the town
sadsack, the subject of constant abuse and humiliation at the hands of
Serena Jane's beauty proves to be her greatest
blessing and her biggest curse, for it makes her the obsession of
classmate Bob Bob Morgan, the youngest in a line of Robert Morgans who
have been doctors in Aberdeen for generations. Though they have long
been the pillars of the community, the earliest Robert Morgan married
the town witch, Tabitha Dyerson, and the location of her fabled shadow
book--containing mysterious secrets for healing and darker powers--has
been the subject of town gossip ever since. Bob Bob Morgan, one of
Truly's biggest tormentors, does the unthinkable to claim the prize of
Serena Jane, and changes the destiny of all Aberdeen from there on.
Serena Jane flees town and a loveless marriage to Bob Bob, it is Truly
who must become the woman of a house that she did not choose and mother
to her eight-year-old nephew Bobbie. Truly's brother-in-law is
relentless and brutal; he criticizes her physique and the limitations of
her health as a result, and degrades her more than any one human could
bear. It is only when Truly finds her calling--the ability to heal
illness with herbs and naturopathic techniques--hidden within the folds
of Robert Morgan's family quilt, that she begins to regain control over
her life and herself. Unearthed family secrets, however, will lead to
the kind of betrayal that eventually break the Morgan family apart
forever, but Truly's reckoning with her own demons allows for both an
uprooting of Aberdeen County, and the possibility of love in unexpected
Baker created a beautiful story for us about young Truly, who is born as an outcast and looked down upon her entire life. When her mother dies giving birth to Truly, the entire town seems to blame the girl for her existence.
Life is hard for Truly, having to deal with her enormous difficulties without a mother, but at least she has her older sister Serena Jane to help her through some of it. Disaster will strike their family once again, sending the girls in different directions. Although they will be living in the same town, circumstances will keep them apart, causing a rift between their relationship.
Truly becomes the butt of many jokes as she continues growing throughout her life. When she does not get any taller her body just grows in other directions. Her proportions are so unreal she does not have any choice but to have clothing specially tailored for her. Through all of Truly's trials and tribulations she longs for Serena Jane to be a part of her life again. Remembering Serena Jane's dreams and goals she knows their relationship is in the past as Serena Jane will be leaving this small town the first chance she gets.
As hard as Truly's life was, she never really had a pity party for herself. She accepted the hand that life dealt her and embraced the things in life that gave her happiness. One day she stumbles upon a secret that the whole town considered a myth. This secret made people look upon her more favorable giving her a higher standing within the community.
A few of the ladies in my book club thought this book had a dark theme to it, so they didn't enjoy it as much as I did. With themes of secrets, family, and forgiveness, you may love this book also. I highly recommend this novel for either personal leisure or as a book club discussion.
My Rating: 5/5
Disclosure: This book is from my personal library and I read it for my own entertainment and as a book club discussion.