Title: The Ones We Trust
Author: Kimberly Belle
Publisher: MIRA (July 28th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
A moving and evocative exploration of grief and guilt in the wake of one family's devastating loss.
When former DC journalist Abigail Wolff attempts to rehabilitate her career, she finds herself at the heart of a US army cover-up involving the death of a soldier in Afghanistan -- with unspeakable emotional consequences for one family. As the story of what happened comes to light, Abigail will do anything to write it.
The more evidence she stumbles upon in the case, the fewer people it seems she can trust, including her own father, a retired army general. And she certainly never expected to fall in love with the slain soldier's brother, Gabe, a bitter man struggling to hold his family together. The investigation eventually leads her to an impossible choice, one of unrelenting sacrifice to protect those she loves.
Beyond the buried truths and betrayals, questions of family loyalty and redemption, Abigail's search is, most of all, a desperate grasp at carrying on and coping -- and seeking hope in the impossible.
Three years ago, journalist Abigail Wolf wrote a story uncovering a deep secret; unfortunately her story had dire repercussions for one of the persons involved. Those repercussions marked Abigail’s life with guilt and led her to abandon her career. Now she works as a website content curator for a health company, writing about interesting things for seniors, a safe work that wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Abigail misses her old days of investigating leads and uncovering secrets, but after what happened with her last story she can stomach making the same mistake twice, because she knows words can be deadly; but when a confidential military report is left at her doorstep Abigail knows she needs to do something. The report clearly shows a military cover-up involving the death of a soldier in Afghanistan. Abigail knew the soldier; she interviewed him before his deployment. Zack Armstrong was a famous actor who decided to join the military, months later after his deployment he died in crossfire in Afghanistan. She knows his family are suing the military and accusing them of a cover-up and now she has the documents that proved them right. Although she doesn’t write or report anymore, Abigail is a fervent believer in the truth and she knows Zach’s family deserve to know the truth.
Abigail also receives an unexpected visit; somebody that has information about the story that ended her career, something that she overlooked and now feel responsible to investigate.
The meeting with Zach’s family doesn’t go too well. Zach’s brother, Gabe doesn’t want to know anything about her and doesn’t trust her. His mom, Jean, is an extraordinary woman, but asks of Abigail something she doesn’t know she can do, write Zach’s story. It’s not only that she quit her job three years ago; it’s also that somehow, her father, a decorated retired army general is also involved in the cover-up.
Even though Gabe doesn’t want to know anything about reporters, he knows he needs Abigail to uncover the truth. But not always the truth is what you expected it to be and some secrets are better left buried.
Abigail is a character that is easy to like and to connect with. I really admired her strength and her idealism. She believes people need to know the truth, but she also knows the power words have. I understood why she felt responsible for what happened due to her last story and why she was afraid of writing again. I really liked that despite her misgivings she knew what she had to do and did it.
To like Gabe you have to understand him. He is full of anger for what happened to Zach and for the cover-up. Despite this, he is a good person that always put family first. One thing I really liked about him was that he was honest and asked for forgiveness when he was in the wrong. I also liked that everything he did he did it to protect his family.
Since their first encounter there is a clear chemistry between Gabe and Abigail, but because of trust issues it takes a while for them to be together. I really liked that they become friends before anything else happened between them.
The secondary characters add complexity to the story. I really liked Gabe’s mom, Jane and Abigail’s father. They both did their best to protect their kids, even if they have to hurt themselves in the process.
The story has many twists and turns that will keep you reading wanting to know what is coming next and even though I guessed what they were going to discover pretty early on, I just couldn’t put the book down. Belle also throws some curveballs that surprised me and if there is something I like is when an author surprises me.
Kimberly Belle knows how to tell a highly charged emotional story and how to keep her readers glued to the pages. The Ones We Trust was my first book written by her, but I’m sure it won’t be my last.
I recommend The Ones We Trust to fiction fans or to anyone who want to read an engaging story about redemption, forgiveness and healing.
My Verdict: 4 Paws
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