Review of The Awkward Truth by Lee Winter
This is a “sidequel” to The Brutal Truth, a funny term to convey that a secondary character from a previous book is featured as a lead. Readers got to know Felicity Simmons as the chief of staff of media mogul Elena Bartell in The Brutal Truth. Felicity is also featured in Lee Winter’s short stories collection Sliced Ice. The story, called Five Times Felicity Met Elena, acts as a prequel to this book and I recommend reading it before this one as it gives context to this story, or even better, listening to the fantastic audiobook version narrated by Angela Dawe.
When Felicity’s boss, Elena Bartell, asks her to investigate how a homeless people’s pets charity used her generous donation, she wants to impress her boss who is about to promote her. But Felicity wasn’t expecting how the charity’s work would change her perspective on homeless people or how attractive Sandy Cooper, the head veterinarian, was…
It’s well known in the world of women-loving-women fiction that Lee Winter writes ice queens like no other. Ms. Winter shows their aloofness brutally (no pun intended) and, at the same time, provides hints of the almost imperceptible cracks on the ice of her characters. Seeing them melt, not for anyone, just for the person they cannot help to fall in love with, is an absolute delight and something I always look forward to reading in her novels.
I have to admit that I couldn’t warm to Felicity completely. I think I needed the perspective of a woman adoring her, a bit like Maddie’s infatuation with Elena in The Brutal Truth which makes the reader also love her from a distance. As this novel is told from Felicity’s perspective, being in her headspace almost constantly didn’t help me to admire her, not even to like her much. I might be in a minority here but the character defensive walls, her prejudices and her isolation from family and friends made her too icy for me and the melting process wasn’t hot enough. I clarify that this is a matter of personal taste and has nothing to do with Ms. Winter’s ability to write a good story.
Having said that, I really enjoyed the mini mystery aspects of the book and the descriptions of the lives of homeless people and their pets. I like when a book gives me food for thought and this was definitely one of them. It even managed to challenge some of my misconceptions along with giving me an interesting insight into a world that I know very little about. It’s really commendable to deal with homelessness in such a critical manner in the context of a romance. It goes to show Ms. Winter’s amazing talent as a writer.
Overall, this was a very good read despite that I couldn’t connect with one of the mains. 4 stars.