For Jack McCall, the battles may be over but the war never ends. When an injury ends his military career, Jack finds himself adrift and dealing with a multitude of demons. Poor choices nearly ruin his life, but he finds his way back and pours his energies into the charity, Those Returned. Hard work and little downtime help Jack keep the darkness at bay. And then he meets Edward Marston.
Rich, charming, philanthropist Edward Marston, Viscount Routhsley, finds himself intrigued when Jack approaches him about supporting Those Returned. He finds the ex solider clever and witty and a spark quickly ignites between them. But the very private Jack must daily confront the reality of Edward’s existence. He is forever in the public eye and starting up a romance with Jack could lead to unintended consequences for both of them and for Those Returned. They must decide if the risk is worth the gain and if love can really heal a wounded soul.
Private Truths is a wonderful novel about two men joining together under seemingly impossible odds. The book is well paced and save for a few rather odd typos, it is written in a smooth, relaxing style that flows effortlessly. There is a comfortableness about Private Truths that makes it seem less like a novel and more like a story retold by good friends. This style of writing really appeals to me and, as a result, I all but devoured the book.
Jack and Edward are the driving force behind Private Truths and from the start we are bound up in the natural ebb and flow of their developing relationships. They are each, in their way, a trope of a kind — the wounded soldier and the wealthy playboy — but neither of these ideas confine or consume them. As a result, they become so much more than caricatures and have a realism that goes well beyond the ordinary. The struggles they face, especially Jack’s legal troubles, all add to that realism as they are stumbling blocks that could happen beyond the confines of a book. And that was refreshing because while I love a good shootout or rampaging dragon, sometimes being relatable is just as appealing. While we as readers might not know a solider or a wealthy aristocrat, we certainly know they exist and, at least in Private Truths, their portrayal feels approachable and warm.
My only complaint is the ending. The narrative is drawn out for several chapters without really needing to be. There were several natural end points for the book and instead it continued on and while bits and bobs were wrapped up, it felt a bit like filler. These chapters seem rather out of place and they could have easily been whittled into one final section. It was the only blip in an otherwise excellently paced book.
Private Truths was a fantastic novel that, save for the last few chapters, was marvelously engaging. Jack and Edward have an easy, yet strangely elegant relationship that draws readers in and never falters. I don’t think there are many out there who wouldn’t enjoy this story.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.