Winona Grey was fifteen years old in 1979 when her mother died of cancer. She was the oldest of three daughters living on the family ranch, Waters Edge, in a small coastal town in Washington State with their hard-nosed father. Being the oldest, Winona felt like she needed to be the strong one for her sisters, Aurora and Vivi Ann. Being a Grey came with a lot of responsibility and family tradition and if the girls ever started to forget, their father was quick to remind them. Oyster Shores was a small community and the Grey name was a big part of the town’s heritage.
Through the years, as hard as Winona tried to win her father’s approval, she never achieved it. Her father lived and breathed the ranch that was in their family for generations, but as much as Winona tried to find a place where she ‘fit’ on the ranch, it just wasn’t her niche. She grew up to become an attorney and had a successful practice but she still longed for her father’s praise.
Her middle sister, Aurora, was the peacemaker of the family, and was married to a physician and had two children and a seemingly perfect life. But it was Vivi Ann, the youngest and most beautiful that had always been the light of their father’s eye. She knew the ranch and worked it as hard as her father did. Like their mother, she was a skilled horsewoman and had an easy, gentle way with them.
There had always been an unspoken jealousy between Winona and Vivi Ann and it only got worse when an old friend of Winona’s moved back to town. Luke was the standard to which Winona measured all men. She had been secretly in love with him since high school but Vivi Ann was too young back then to remember. Now, with Luke back, Winona was filled with new hope.
But when Winona hires a drifter named Dallas Raintree as a ranch hand, no one could foresee how life would change at Waters Edge. The strain between two sisters becomes unbearable, their father is openly prejudice against Dallas’s Indian heritage and as much as Vivi Ann tries to ignore it, there is an undeniable attraction between them. To complicate things further, choices are made and loyalties are tested to their limits when a local woman is murdered and Dallas is the only suspect the police are interested in.
In TRUE COLORS, Kristin Hannah takes us on a journey through one family’s most difficult life choices. Choices that will forever change how they look at one another and the repercussions of those choices.
This was my first Kristin Hannah novel and I was thoroughly engrossed from the beginning. For me, I felt an instant connection to the Grey sisters. I’m the same age as Winona, I grew up showing quarter horses, going to shows and cuttings on weekends with my family and I have a sister, although she’s older than me, that was my dad’s right hand and always a step ahead of me concerning the horses. I felt I was always in her shadow, so I can relate strongly to these characters in many ways.
I liked the story itself, even as heart wrenching as it was sometimes. Part of me though, feels it was a bit long. That said, I never got bored with it, I just felt the same outcome could have been achieved with a few less pages. Obviously with the connection I felt to them, the characters were very believable to me, which made the story all the better.
My least favorite character was their father, who had a smaller role, but was consistent in his unpleasant behavior throughout. I don’t think I have a favorite character, but Vivi Ann would probably be the closest. At times, I thought Winona was so blinded by jealousy that she brought a lot of things on herself. And other times she came across so arrogant, I didn’t like her at all. Thinking back, maybe that’s exactly the way Ms. Hannah wanted her to be perceived. She didn’t hide Winona’s flaws and that made her even more real.
What I took away from the story is that if you’re going to make serious choices that affect your family, you better be sure you make them for the right reasons. You may not always get a second chance to make things right.
TRUE COLORS is Kristin Hannah’s seventeenth novel. You can visit her website at www.kristinhannah.com
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Published: February 2009
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars