A guest review by Sirius
Summary: I really liked the narrator in this historical romance
Everyone knows Jack Tulle as a widower, a doting father, and an honest businessman. The problem is, it’s all a lie. For eight years Jack has enjoyed the quiet life in the sleepy little town of Bodey, Colorado where he owns and operates the General Store. He sits on the town council. He dotes upon his eight-year-old, headstrong daughter, Abigail. He is even being sized-up as a prospective new member of the family by the bank president. But when the local saloon announces plans to host a grand prize poker tournament, Jack realizes it could spell trouble. One of the many secrets he’s been hiding is that he used to be a con man — mainly underhanded poker, but he wasn’t above the odd swindle when the situation presented itself. And a contest like the one his town is planning is sure to draw some old business acquaintances — fellows Jack would really rather not admit to knowing. Of course there’s one man in particular Jack is worried about seeing — Tom Jude is the only person who knows the truth behind all his secrets. Tom wasn’t just Jack’s partner-in-crime, he was also the love of his life. And Tom knows things — like the fact that the little girl Jack is raising, really isn’t his… As Jack scrambles to maintain his deceptions by lying to friends and neighbors as well as the child he has grown to love, he discovers the real truth: when your world is built on A Hundred Little Lies, exposing a single one of them can bring the whole thing crashing down.
I liked this story very much. While I can say it felt very realistic to me, I know absolutely nothing about the setting, and I am not even sure where to do a brief research to check some facts to see for myself that author had done his homework. Therefore if you want to find out this point, please seek additional reviews. 🙂
Some time ago there was a book reviewed on this site which to me was an example of how not to write a lying character. Well, this book to me is an example of how much a skilled writer could do with a lying character — or with any character flaw, really. In this case, Jack is our liar. He narrates this story and I have to say that I fell in love with him from the very first pages of this book simply by reading how he interacts with his daughter Abigail. Actually seeing what kind of girl Abigail is, you cannot not help but like a father who brought up a child like her in my opinion. As the blurb tells us, for the last eight years Jack had been one of the pillars of the community in a small town in Colorado, but an upcoming poker tournament which he and several other residents are trying to stop from happening makes Jack feel that all his secrets could be exposed.
I really, really enjoyed the delicate touch the author uses to portray Jack, his determination not to be the person he used to be, him wanting to do the best he can for Abigail and worrying that he may not be enough to do the best he can. At the same time, for me it was easy enough to see that Jack was being pretty hard on himself, and even at his worst in the past, he was a decent enough person to take on the task he did. Jack is a wonderful example of the character I love the most — flawed but likeable and decent overall, just definitely not perfect. I liked how the author could say a lot without actually saying a lot, be it in the portrayal of Jack or other characters. When Tom Jude arrived in town, I was worried at first, because he seemed to be the kind of person Jack used to be, but then again very slowly the author showed me that what matters the most is that Tom was and is the kind of person Jack loved — and still loves — and that just may be enough for both of them.
Regarding Tom, I felt he was somewhat less developed than Jack and that he did not seem to evolve much since he and Jack parted ways. He still loves Jack and wants to be with him, he just has longer way to go.
Several other secondary characters were very well done, but Jack’s daughter Abigail just charmed me. She was such headstrong, smart and well-written character, and her relationship with Jack was often enough just as center stage as him reconnecting with Tom.
A small niggle: at times it felt that the characters knew more than I did of the backstory. It was a bit confusing when they talked about things I did not know, but most of it was eventually revealed, so it was not a big problem at the end.