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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Decanted Truths: An Irish-American Novel by Melanie Forde is a multi-decade saga of three Irish families: the Harrigans, the Gavagans, and the Costellos. In a story of secrets, lies, and family values, different characters share their journeys with readers as one particular person takes the brunt of the pressure. Leah Gavagan believes she was cursed. A child of Irish immigrants who settled in Boston for a better future, Leah was an orphan living with her Aunt Theo. Leah had visions she could not explain. She sometimes felt alienated, but she was not the first person in her family to feel that way. As the past revealed itself and we learn more about the previous Harrigans and Gavangans, it became clear that Leah was one piece of a whole picture that slowly unveiled itself.
Interesting and equally fascinating, Decanted Truths had many characters, each with a story to tell. Author Melanie Forde divided the story into three parts for good reason. I appreciated how she introduced each character before the story began and guided us to remember who was who. It was daunting but exciting at the same time. It gave us a timeline and let me picture what was happening in the background. Leah was miserable initially, but it changes as the story progressed. Instead of hiding from the world and herself, she dug deep and looked for answers that always evaded her. I felt bad for Margaret, who was looking for comfort but could not find it. Liam, Theo, Ned, and others were searching for something they longed for, while Leah, Philly, and Teddy were looking for answers while figuring out their place among peers. Melanie ensured the story's setting was beautifully described, the characters developed at their own pace, and allowed the story to mature independently. It all connected so well in the end, and the intricacy of the plot blew me away. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys family sagas with secrets and acceptance.