Book Review: True Colours by Kristin Hannah

True Colours…

Book Description:

True Colours is New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah’s most provocative, compelling, and heart-wrenching story yet. With the luminous writing and unforgettable characters that are her trademarks, she tells the story of three sisters whose once-solid world is broken apart by jealousy, betrayal, and the kind of passion that rarely comes along.

The Grey sisters have always been close. After their mother’s death, the girls banded together, becoming best friends. Their stern, disapproving father cares less about his children than about his reputation. To Henry Grey, appearances are everything, and years later, he still demands that his daughters reflect his standing in the community.

Winona, the oldest, needs her father’s approval most of all. An overweight bookworm who never felt at home on the sprawling horse ranch that has been in her family for three generations, she knows that she doesn’t have the qualities her father values. But as the best lawyer in town, she’s determined to someday find a way to prove her worth to him.

Aurora, the middle sister, is the family peacemaker. She brokers every dispute and tries to keep them all happy, even as she hides her own secret pain.

Vivi Ann is the undisputed star of the family. A stunningly beautiful dreamer with a heart as big as the ocean in front of her house, she is adored by all who know her. Everything comes easily for Vivi Ann, until a stranger comes to town. . . .

In a matter of moments, everything will change. The Grey sisters will be pitted against one another in ways that none could have imagined. Loyalties will be tested and secrets revealed, and a terrible, shocking crime will shatter both their family and their beloved town.

With breathtaking pace and penetrating emotional insight, True Colours is an unforgettable novel about sisters, rivalry, forgiveness, redemption–and ultimately, what it means to be a family.

 

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My Thoughts:

True Colours was SUCH a fabulous book. I had high expectations for this, as the only other Kristin Hannah book I had previously read was The Nightingale. Needless to say, my expectations were met and I am now a definite fan of her work and intend on reading every one of her books.

Kristin has a way of reaching your feelings through her words, and True Colours has lines and passages within it that simply shatter you. I read most of the second half of this book on the verge of tears.

For me, it’s the honesty of her story telling that makes this so wonderful. Three sisters, motherless, an emotionally crippled father; their deep seated need to present a united family presence to the community their ancestors founded. Yet this family is fractured and has been for the longest time. Kristin portrays each of the sisters in their individual roles to perfection. Yes, they are a little clichéd, but it works in this case, and as the story progresses, this becomes less of a factor. Their father is a hard man, and I appreciated Kristin’s ability to maintain the distance with him. Reality is predominant within this novel, never more so than when showing their father’s ‘true colours’. Sometimes people never recover from grief and sometimes they never become the person the people who love them want them to become. This was portrayed very well in this instance.

The character development of the sisters was excellent. I felt slightly cheated that we weren’t given more of Aurora, she was present more as a linchpin for ViviAnn and Winona, and she never had a single scene in her own POV. The way she was woven into the story though ensured we got to know her, just not as much as I would have liked.

Winona was a character I feel I travelled quite a journey with. She’s one of the best types of characters: likeable yet easy to fall out with. She willingly hurt her family, was selfish and unkind, judgmental and conceited. Yet she was also in pain, deeply scarred emotionally, and often times full of contempt for her own actions and thoughts. Her journey towards atonement was moving and cemented her as a favourite literary character for me, a fine example of how an author can take a person and shape them to perfection. In the end, her true colours came through for her.

ViviAnn was a character I didn’t take to at first, not until she met Dallas, and it’s impossible to talk about ViviAnn without including Dallas. The connection between these two was truly beautiful, the type of moving love story that I long for, epic and lasting. ViviAnn became a woman of substance throughout this novel, yet she was by no means perfect. Faced with incredible challenges, she didn’t always make the right decisions, but she hung on, as much as she possibly could, and her hope was always her greatest asset.

Dallas was perhaps the most beautiful and broken man I have come across in a book. His story was a deeply touching one, the injustice dealt to him quite disturbing and entirely thought provoking. You can’t help but dwell on how many people have faced the same kinds of injustice and I’m grateful to discover that there are organisations working hard at overturning wrongful convictions. The devastating affects this has on a family was depicted so well. It was simply heartbreaking at times, considering ViviAnn’s and Noah’s loss, and these scenes, where their pain was most raw, never failed to move me to tears.

I can’t leave this review without mentioning the gorgeous relationships between horses and humans brought to life in this story. Renegade’s attachment to Dallas and ViviAnn’s with Clem; beautifully done.

This novel covers a lot of ground and spans a long time frame. I was completely immersed in the story and found it impossible to put down. The dynamics between the sisters, the petty jealousy and deep abiding love, was truly realistic. The small town community was vividly brought to life. This was a convincing and engaging story with well developed characters; an excellent book all round.