Book Cover for Hidden Truths by JaeA wonderful tale of the compromises women has been forced to make to live their lives and love who they wanted, set in the glorious surroundings of an Oregon horse ranch.

A story of love and lies…

Life is brutal for the young women who work in the mills in mid-nineteenth century Boston. Rika’s friend Jo has the dreadful cough that signifies brown lung, but she only has a week to go before she will be off West to marry a man who is a stranger.
Luke Hamilton and his wife Nora have built a successful horse ranch in Oregon and raised two independent and strong daughters. Their ranch foreman Phin has given up hope of meeting local women and found a ‘mail order bride’.
When Jo dies and Rika takes her place she will spark a series of revelations that shows that every one of them has a secret.

Will the family survive the disclosures or will the dramatic revelations tear them apart?

Jae is a master at creating scenes and atmosphere. The early chapters construct the harsh reality of life for the poor in 1860’s Boston. Violence, hunger, fear, and desperation surround the young women who are living on a knife-edge. When Rika goes west, we are transported to another world, equally hard work, but filled with sunshine, hope, friendship, and love.
On the Hamilton ranch, Jae has created a wonderful tableau of a family that on the surface seems to be solid and open, trustworthy and reliable. But underneath the surface swirls secrets and lies spanning their histories, their relationships, and, most of all, who they love.
As a reader, we can see these secrets building long before they erupt, often long before the character is even fully aware of themselves. As Nora says “With every day, with every lie, the fear becomes stronger”. And this is, more than anything else, a story about how lies can start out as the best of intentions but build to become potentially destructive to all we hold most dear.
The characters are real, their actions and dialogue feel genuine. Their desire to live an honest life in an era where that was not possible, their compromises, and their love, resonates with us now despite the vast changes to our world in the years between.
This is an excellent sequel to “Backwards to Oregon” giving us a wonderful chance to reconnect with Luke, Nora and Tess, and a chance to find out how the next generation deals with their choices.