Thursday, March 16, 2023

Book Review: The Other Side of Certain

About the Book:

For the love of love...and books

Mattie Mobley planned to be a teacher, but when times grew tough during America's Great Depression, and there were no teaching positions in her hometown of Asheville, NC, Mattie found work starting a school and helping the Pack Horse Librarians just over the mountains in the rural town of Certain, Kentucky. She's not certain at all that this is a good situation, but she's determined, and honestly, a little desperate. Of all the things that Mattie does have-money, comforts, a good name, she doesn't have what matters most-friends, love, and a purpose of her own.

Daniel, "The Grizzly Bear," Barrett had a lovely life for a little while. Overcoming his family's bad name and worse reputation, he made a life for himself in Certain. He was married with children and a figure of respect in his church, but desperate times called for desperate measures and a terrible tragedy was the result. Now exiled with his children along the wily run of the Hell for Certain Creek, Daniel has gotten used to being the town pariah again. It's in his blood after all. Right? Maybe not, but he'll need the powerful influence of love not only to change his own mind about himself but to convince his estranged extended family and the whole town as well.

Can one librarian with a saddlebag full of books make people see the difference between fact and fiction? Mattie loves a good story, and this may be her best one yet. Fiction tells the best truths and the best truth of all is love.

My Thoughts:

The Other Side of Certain by Amy Willoughby-Burle takes the reader to the rural Kentucky town of Certain where secrets and pain stay buried… until they can’t. The first-person point-of-view drew me into the characters’ minds but got a bit confusing when it jumped between heads within the same scene. Otherwise, it was effective for the story.

The Other Side of Certain brims with family drama. Past events slowly unfold, and we learn the truth at the same time Mattie does. I liked the mystery of not knowing what truly happened in Daniel’s past until later in the story. Daniel stars in this book as he has the most character growth and challenges to overcome. I loved that Mattie’s personality was exactly what Daniel needed to be drawn out of isolation and toward healing. The Other Side of Certain begins the A Love for Certain series by Amy Willoughby-Burle. Four stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

1 comment:

  1. I like this time period and setting. Terrific review, Jolene.