The Truth of the Matter

Written by Robb Forman Dew
Review by Trudi E. Jacobson

The Truth of the Matter continues the story of the Scofield family of Washburn, Ohio, whom we first met in The Evidence Against Her. In the earlier novel, we were introduced to the eldest Scofields, who built the three houses that are to become their homestead, and to Agnes and those of the next generation, including Warren Scofield, whom Agnes marries. In this new book, Agnes, who is the mother of grown children and soon becomes a grandmother, has become the standard bearer of the Scofield families. The time period ranges from just before WWII to a few years afterward, with some flashbacks to earlier times. Agnes’s children all leave for military service or for jobs during the war, but shortly after it ends, they and their families return, filling the house: something Agnes thought she looked forward to.

Agnes, both as a young girl in her own family, and now as a mother with her children, seems not quite to fit in. She is always striving to be the best she can be, but is amazed to find that others don’t see her and her actions the way she herself views them. I found her to be a more sympathetic character when she was young and finding her way in the world. In this book, she comes across as less likable, more contriving. However, readers of The Evidence Against Her will find the continuing story of the family interesting. While the effects of the war are at times seen obliquely, small but telling details give excellent insights into the period.