Sweet Honesty by Lee James is a romance novel that has a plot so swirled and dynamic, it feels like a mystery, a crime novel and a love story all in one.
This book is in the running for my favorite Indie book this year. Sweet Honesty is the story of Cherry Winslow and the people around her who shape her life – very directly. Cherry has to get control over her life but everyone has their ideas for what she should and should not be doing.
Goodness, where do I start with the characters? First off, the connections between each character is GENIUS. James has done an amazing job with these characters because even the evil characters, I like them! The people who have wronged Cherry’s family for so many years weren’t unlikeable. They had their own issues with the world and this is what made them human. Even the biggest bad guy in the book had family and business issues that made him relatable, to a certain degree. This is how characters need to be done, especially in this genre.
This book is about the real world during a time where the railroad was the most important thing and life was hard in many ways. The world building in this book was pretty good. There are some vivid settings which are well described. I would have loved to have more details about the town itself but this didn’t detract from the story. The most important locations were well detailed.
The theme in this book that I can most identify is trust. Learning who and who not to trust is absolutely Cherry’s job through her journey and what a task! There are people every where who are trying to influence her and she has to make good choices, given her situation.
I want to say one thing about the plot, this first part of the multi-part story has such a neat plot, but as I said above, the swirls and dips in the story left me on the edge of my seat, wondering who was doing what, why they would do that and who else was involved. I don’t know if the mystery element here was intended, but James did an awesome job leaving me with subtle questions about characters motives and how their behavior would effect everyone else.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book! The romance feels real and as a bonus, you get some mysterious doings and a few crimes to boot!