The Truth of Who You Are
by Sheila Myers
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 28 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 30 Mar 2022
When his family is plunged into poverty during the Great Depression, Ben Taylor takes a job with the US Civilian Conservation Corps, developing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
While working for the Corps, Ben causes a tragic accident which puts him in a dilemma: does he allow his best friend Tony to take the fall so he can keep his position? The repercussions of Ben's decision plague him all the way to the Battle of the Bulge where he reconnects with Tony while escaping the Germans.
For years Ben has kept a secret from Tony, and the truth will change their relationship forever.
Inspired by the people who once inhabited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this saga explores the value people place on stories to hide uncomfortable truths.
A Note From the Publisher
"Beautifully written with careful attention to historical detail, this book is one I highly recommend." -Gail Olmstead, author of Landscape of a Marriage
"Set primarily during the Great Depression and in what is now known as the Smoky Mountains National Park, The Truth of Who You Are is a sweeping family saga full of love, heartbreak, hard times, and the sustaining power of family." -M.K. Tod, author of Paris In Ruins
"Author Sheila Myers crafts a coming-of-age saga of both a young man fighting to keep his family intact, and of the entire Great Smoky Mountains region. She also captures the spirit of the Civilian Conservation Corps, its rejuvenating impact on the landscape, and its transformative influence on the young men who served." -Robert Hilliard, author of A Season on the Allegheny
"The Truth of Who You Are is an emotional tale of loyalty and family told through the eyes of a country boy with a big heart. Myers uses emotional stakes and lively historical details to take us on an adventure through America's turbulent 20th Century." -Kerry Chaput, author of Daughter of the King
Average rating from 5 members
Magnificent book! I am a sucker for books set in the time of the Great Depression and this one was very interesting. It read like a family biography. You could tell there was a lot of research that went into it. Set in the Great Smokey Mountains we follow the life of Ben Taylor from early teens to work for the Civilian Conservation Corp. to getting married and then in the war. It was a beautiful heartwarming story.
Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this amazing book!
Wow! Absolutely loved this novel. I went for my first visit to the Great Smoky Mountains this past summer – I’m only sorry this novel hadn’t yet come out when I was hiking in these picturesque mountains. Will need to reread on my next visit.
This luscious historical novel had me fully grounded in the hillbilly life of rural Tennessee in the 1920s and leading up to the Great Depression.
This compelling story is told through the perceptive eyes of young Ben Taylor, the oldest of five children of a land-rich, cash-poor hillbilly family. Ben is the ideal protagonist, a sensitive boy well grounded in his beloved mountains and the life and traditions of his kinfolk, one who can observe the world around him with intelligence and a dose of innocence.
The novel opens with our protagonist working at the local newspaper. We are soon transported back to the 1920s, when young Ben is one of five children living in the Appalachian mountains. His father is a local and his mother a northerner, and Ben has aunts and cousins living on the mountain slope. Life is difficult for a large family, and becomes even more difficult when his younger brother suffers from consumption (tuberculosis) and requires expensive cures. Falling into debt, the family falls prey to competing interests: the local lumber companies and the federal government – each eager to buy up their land for a pittance.
Ben, like many of his community, will eventually work for the government that destroyed the way of life for Ben and many of the mountain-dwelling community. Ben works for the WPA program that develops the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The entire novel is filled with lush descriptions and compelling historical details. Ben makes for an insightful protagonist, bringing the era and the mountain people to life. I highly recommend this novel.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this novel, in exchange for an honest review.
The Truth of Who You Are is a really lovely coming of age historical novel about a young boy and his trials and tribulations of growing up poor in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee in the Depression years. Protagonist Ben Taylor, the eldest in a family of five living children, is sensitive to the strengths and foibles of his close and extended family, as well as the folk in the nearest town. His family owns a good amount of heavily forested land, but has very little income, and Ben does everything he can to earn his keep and assist his family.
When the Depression reaches its darkest days and the family is unable to sustain itself, selling land to logging companies or the government is the only way out of abject poverty. Ben eventually begins working for one of the many WPA programs devised by the government to employ the jobless masses; in this story it’s the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Told entirely from Ben’s point of view, Sheila Myers' evocative tale invites readers into Ben’s mind and heart as he struggles to provide for his siblings, retain his dignity in the face of overwhelming odds, and eventually become the sort of man he wanted to be. Myers’ prose is beautifully polished and evocative of a past era in a specific corner of the US during the 1920s and 30s. I loved learning how a WPA project worked from the life of an insider, especially so because the historical details were so skillfully woven into the story. I highly recommend The Truth of Who You Are to fans of 20th century US historical fiction..
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read a copy of this book for my review.
The story is about the hillbilly life during the 1920s thru the depression in the Smokey mountains of Tennessee. A family that owns land and a cabin in the woods which will be taken by the government for a National park.
The story is told by Ben Taylor the oldest of five children. The story gives an excellent picture of what life was like when the depression hit, and when money and work were nearly gone..
Ben tries to care for his family and joins the Civil Conservation Corp. He has skills to raise to writer for the news. He has to write and embellish the great achievements of the Corp and men who work there. However, the reality in the story is about the situations that Ben goes thru to survive the everyday, hardships,, fights, protections, friendships and family interactions.
The story reads easily and you can feel for the characters.