Book Club: Moment of Truth

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Author: Mandy Magro
ISBN: 9781489241177
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Harlequin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher/NetGalley

Mandy Magro is becoming quite a prolific Australian author and I have read quite a few of her books now, I think over half but there are still gaps in my reading.

Moment of Truth is set in North Queensland with much of the action taking place on Diamond Acres Horse Sanctuary, the place Alexis Brown and her sister Katie grew up. Mr Brown worked at Diamond Acres and the family lived in a cottage on the property until the night Mr and Mrs Brown died in a shooting that was ruled a murder-suicide. Alexis and Katie moved to Townsville with their grandparents and never went back, but that didn’t mean they stopped looking back. Years of therapy and Alexis still hasn’t managed to move on, she still hasn’t faltered in her belief that it was not her father who pulled the trigger and she has still lost all memory of the events of that night.

An anonymous note arrives out of the blue confirming the long held belief that there was someone else there that night and Alexis is determined to track down the sender of the note and find out what they know. But after all these years is she actually ready to return to Blue Ridge?

There is a lot to love about Moment of Truth, the suspense side of the story is well drawn out and there are some pretty interesting twists that I wasn’t expecting. I really enjoyed the suspense side of the story and I was hooked, always with the one more chapter to try and find out what was going on; trying to discover if Alexis ever recovered her memory.

I am struggling to find the right words because the romance was sweet, if a little predictable, but it was also very repetitive. I think I heard how they felt and the reactions to each other more than I was made to see and feel their reactions and it seemed a little repetitive to me. I am sure there will be plenty of readers who swoon all over it but it got a little over the top for me. I found myself skimming some scenes with a ‘yeah, we get it, you’re connected and the crush never went away and the chemistry between you is electric, I’ve heard it all already just get to the action’. The romance was predictable but I thought it was realistic and I thought it played out in a way that I found completely conceivable.

There are hurdles, as there are with any romance, and there are secrets but some secrets are deal-breakers, and that too was written believably. I think my big issue with the romance was the repetition in the lead up and the predictability but having said that it was still quite a sweet romance and it was one that I couldn’t help but cross my fingers for them. Alexis and Ethan have both done it pretty tough in their lives and they deserve their happy ever after, and it’s quite clear that now they’ve found one another again no-one else will ever be enough.

Diamond Acres is a horse sanctuary and this is what really showed the depth of Ethan, early on he rescues a group of brumbies from an abbattoir and the way he treats them, the care he shows, is amazing. Brumbies are a majestic animal and they are one that certainly evokes very varied reactions in people. Ethan is one of their champions and he treats them well, the respect he has for them is palpable. I love the idea of brumbies but have never been close to one so reading their stories is always interesting. I love to read of the connection people have with horses, and horses with people too.

Mandy Magro is a prolific Australian author whose work I have read more than 50% of and have enjoyed all of them. The story has definite promise and played out well, the suspense was intriguing and unfolded at a good pace with some great twists but the romance was a little predictable and repetitive. Definitely a book I would recommend and I think fans will be thrilled.

Moment of Truth is published by Harlequin Mira and available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Mandy Magro can be followed on Facebook and her Website.

Moment of Truth is book #50 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading Moment of Truth so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.


19 thoughts on “Book Club: Moment of Truth

  1. Once again a call out of thanks to the publisher Harlequin and Beauty and Lace for offering the book ‘Moment of Truth’ by Mandy Magro for review.

    A super duper story of love, loss and triumph mixed into one. The story revolves around the life of the main character Alexis Brown at the age of 13 and also jumps to modern day at her age of 30.

    The story begins with a very disturbing scene, the suspected murder/suicide of Alexis’ parents on an outback property in Northern Queensland. We are introduced to Alexis waking late one night to overhear her parents fighting and then her fleeing to safety with her much younger sister Katie, amid gun fire.

    Another crucial character in the book is that of Ethan Brown, step grandson of the property owner and close pal of Alexis. He’s taken over running the family property, left to him by his aging, dementia addled grandfather. We learn of life on the land, his own experience of loss and his battle to accept the imminent loss of his mother to cancer.

    Within the chapters we learn that Ethan’s stepfather Peter has had past affairs. Early in the book we learn also that Alexis’ mother has had an affair and I quickly put two and two together. I guessed from that point on in the story that Peter was responsible for the murders. Having this information did spoil it for me a bit but I was still able to thoroughly enjoy the journey of understanding the relationship of the books characters, particularly that of Ethan and Alexis.

    The author presents a very relatable book, showing life is never just stars and sunshine but can be full of hardships, sadness, physical and emotional turmoil. I didn’t always agree with how the author presented the characters reactions however. I can’t believe that Alexis, after 17 years separated from Ethan wouldn’t have instantly hugged and acknowledged him. I also found Alexis reaction to Ethan arriving at her doorstep at the end of the book, too perfect, her total acceptance even after such emotional turmoils had occurred. Having said that I still very much enjoyed this great story.

    Mandy Magro is brilliant in her skills, describing in such detail the environment and character’s emotions. It is a book you will find very satisfying. A great read.

  2. Moment of Truth is a story about two innocent young girls, growing up with loving parents in a remote area of North Queensland. Their idyllic world is suddenly shattered with the apparent murder/suicide of their parents, an event which will scar the girls for life.

    Alexis and Katie were taken to Townsville to live with their grandparents and it is here they have rebuilt their lives. Now in their late 20s, their world is turned upside down again with the arrival of a mysterious letter, someone who admits to knowing what really happened to their parents; someone claiming their parents were murdered.

    Alexis chooses to investigate this further and heads back to her childhood home, revisiting all of the painful memories, asking the many questions that remain unanswered and at the same time, rekindling old feelings with her childhood friend, Ethan.

    This was a very easy and enjoyable read, a definite page turner for me. A good dose of drama, suspense and romance against a beautiful rural Australian backdrop; a perfect blend for this lovely story.

    Thank you very much to Beauty & Lace Bookclub and Harlequin Mira for the opportunity to read Moment of Truth.

  3. I quite enjoyed the storyline but the romance was repetitive & i got a bit bored with it. It seemed like just a page filler. I guessed in the beginning who the culprit was so a bit predictable. Other than the negative comments the storyline was good & like i said i enjoyed the book.

  4. I absolutely loved this book!! I couldn’t put it down and just had to keep reading until the end. I have read a few of Mandy’s books and really enjoyed them.

  5. I totally agree with Michelle’s comments about the romance in this story being very repetitive. I’m a person who will usually read every word in a book, but I found myself skipping parts thinking, ‘I get it, I’ve heard it all before’. Apart from that, I really enjoyed the story. Lexi’s memory loss kept me going wondering when and if she would recover more of her memory and I must say I was led down the wrong track completely with regards to ‘who done it!’ That was a nice surprise for me to not have guessed correctly and meant that that part of the story wasn’t predictable. I was disappointed to find some spelling errors as I think that published novels shouldn’t have any excuse to have any errors in them.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for another great book to review. It’s one that I highly recommend as a great book to read over the upcoming summer holidays. >:o)

  6. OH MY GOD!!!
    Want a fantastic novel… once I started I couldn’t put it down.
    From the very first chapter I was hook line and sinker.
    I shed so many tears in this novel, from the first novel to the end.
    It was written perfectly… well done Mandy Magro.

  7. This was a great book to come home from holidays to – I loved it. I “discovered” Mandy Magro via “Walking the Line,” also courtesy of Beauty and Lace so “Moment of Truth” was my first choice selection for November books and I wasn’t disappointed.
    I agree completely that the story line was repetitive and somewhat predictable because I’d worked out who the murderer was way before it was apparent but this didn’t spoil the book for me in any way. The characters were lovely for the most part, the story well written and very easy to read. I was very interested in the element of brumby horses too, something I knew little about.
    This is definitely a book for when you want/need something light, interesting and enjoyable but not necessarily heavy going or indepth. It was the perfect book for the right time for me and one I will happily share with favourite people. It is always satisfying to find a lovely Australian author who I am perfectly happy recommending to book lovers. Mandy Magro is one of those people.
    Thank you so much for the opportunity, Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Mira. I loved “Moment of Truth.”

  8. Loved this book!
    From start to end, I just wanted to keep reading!
    As an avid reader of rural fiction, I knew I would most likely enjoy this book. I have read lots of Mandy Magro, and enjoyed them all.
    What I liked most about this book was that it was different to most other rural fiction that I have read as it had a big suspense/ mystery element added to it.
    It had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next, especially when Alexis starts visiting Ethan’s grandfather in the nursing home!
    Yes, sometimes the Romance was a bit over the top and really driven home that their feelings had never changed, but I didn’t find this a big deal.
    I found from the chapter of Alexis going back to the nursing home I could not put this book down! In fact I stayed up wayyy past my bedtime to finish this book!
    I loved it and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of rural fiction.
    Thankyou as always to Beauty and Lace, Mandy Magro and Harlequin for the chance to read this book.

  9. An absolutely wonderful novel.
    Moment Of Truth by Mandy Magro is an engrossing novel, so much so that I read this book in its entirety in one day.
    Already a fan of Mandy Magro’s books I was hoping for another enjoyable read and Moment Of Truth certainly delivers.
    A great rural fiction novel that is also filled with some great mystery/suspense aspects.
    This is a story of two young girls growing up with loving parents in remote Nothern Queensland. Their lives are shattered when their parents are murdered in an apparent murder suicide .
    Alexis and Katie are taken to live with their grandparents and we pick up in their 20’s when a mysterious letter arrives claiming to know who murdered their parents.
    A great read. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Mira for the opportunity to read and review another great Mandy Magro novel.

  10. 3 stars Mystery, with heart. I really enjoyed the way this quiet, engaging, mystery unravelled, each layer peeling away as the characters got to remember past life. Each girl has dealt with the ordeal in different ways, and thus all gets reawakened as does relationships. The country backgrounds and horsemanship are beautifully crafted, lovely read, based here in the North.

  11. Moment of Truth is a lovely descriptive novel. The stunning landscapes, Brumby rescue and even the inside workings of a hospital Demture Ward makes this a great read.
    A shocking tragedy changes 13 yo Alexis Browns entire life. She does not belive the police findings of murder/suicide.
    Alexis returns to her childhood home seeking answers.
    We follow her blosseing romance with Ethan her childhood friend.
    As the romance unfolds we lean of a deadly secret that may drive them apart.

  12. The Moment of Truth by Mandy Magro

    When she was only 13 years old, Alexis Brown Encountered a terrible event- her parents were shot, and the police investigation said that her father shot her mother, and then killed himself. Alexia and her younger sister Katie were taken from their farm to live in Townsville, Qld, with their Grandparents.

    Alexia spends many years in counselling trying to come to grips with her parents deaths. Her memories of that night are lost, and try as she will, she just can’t manage to recall what happened.

    Seventeen years later, the sisters receive a letter telling them that their parents were murdered. Alexis decides to return to the farm and do some investigations to see if she can find out anything. Perhaps by going back there, her memory will return?

    Running the farm now is her child hood friend Ethan King. His business is to rescue injured wild brumby horses, and relocate them when their health is restored. Alexis and Ethan rekindle their friendship, and each of them wonders if a romance between them is possible.

    Alexis has snatches of her memory flash back to her, but she still has no answers to her parents deaths. Who wrote the letter about their murder, and is it true

    The Moment of Truth is a good read, with a rural Queensland, Australian setting. It is more than a romance, and I enjoyed it. I found the ending to be sensible, and it rounded off the story well.

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace Book Club, and to Harlequin Books for the chance to read this book.

  13. 3 Stars, 4 for the romance genre as there really was a mystery to unravel amongst the romance, that kept everything going nicely. The writing was engaging and the characters carefully crafted. Don’t laugh but I really liked to hear about the country and the horses, it gave a great backdrop to the story. It could be any kind of murder story but it was not, it was absolutely Australian, with a real Australian heart, set in the outback. The way the girls handled the distress of the deaths felt very real, as was the keeping of various secrets, right to the end to protect family- such things really do happen. I enjoyed it.

  14. Moment of Truth was a really enjoyable read centring on Alexis and Ethan. It was well written with the perspective flicking between both characters to give a well rounded view.

    Alexis has returned to town to try and find out more about the night of her parent’s death, with the aim of clearing her father’s name. It is traumatic for her to return and she ends up with much more than she ever hoped for when she meets her childhood best friend Ethan again. Alexis and Ethan haven’t been in contact for 17 years, but they are able to pick up right where they left off, although this time as two adults.

    It is tricky for Alexis and Ethan to nurture their relationship as they would desire due to a range of complexities such as their pasts and current living situations, but as the days pass we watch it unfold. By the end of the book, Alexis does uncover the truth about her parent’s death but it threatens her relationship with Ethan to the point that it is not clear if they will recover.

    At times this was a very emotional read, not only as we find that Alexis and Ethan have both been dealt a difficult hand in life, but particularly towards the end of the book when there was a specific chapter that left me feeling so heartbroken that I could have almost cried.

    I can’t comment on the ending as I don’t want to spoil it but it does end cleanly with no loose threads, and I thought it finished well.

  15. Seventeen Years after being separated by a traumatic event , Alexis goes back to Blue Ridge. After receiving a letter, she decided it was time to find some answers which in turns changes many things on ALexis’ journey. ** A moment in Truth is delivered “”

    On a reunited journey Alexis rents a place from a childhood friend and in turn Ethan and Alexis discover feelings and a romance blooms, but will the past destroy what future they may have.

    I enjoyed the way in which the author leaves the suspense till the very end, we don’t find out the truth, until the last pages. The characters are well defined and given definition, she entwines them well within the story line, giving us suspense , romance and many discoveries as the pages unravel. .

    The story shows the readers the consequences of lies and truth being omitted, living rural and the after effects of damage done and memory loss from head injuries. Mandy Magro gives us vivid descriptions and well fleshed out characters with a smooth flowing story line , that is easily read and very much enjoyed.

  16. Hmmm…what can I say that everyone else hasn’t?
    The storyline was ok…yes predictable but I find most romances are these days.
    Now the way the author described the environment that’s a different thing altogether. That was superb. I do love it when you feel like you are there with the characters.
    Overall it was a pretty good read but the storyline didn’t quite pop for me.
    Thank you to Harlequin Publishing and Beauty and Lace for the advance copy of this novel for an honest review.

  17. When Alexis Brown was thirteen years old, her parents were killed in their home. Alexis lost her memory of the night when she hit her head. The deaths were labelled a murder-suicide, however Alexis doesn’t believe her father would have killed her mother.

    Seventeen years later, Alexis receives an anonymous note, telling her that both of her parents were murdered. She decides to return to her childhood home to do her own investigating. When she arrives at the cottage, she comes across her old friend Ethan King.

    I can appreciate the author’s writing style. Her descriptive writing allows the reader to feel that they are in the story, and I was able to clearly see in my own mind what was happening, and where characters were. The language used really helped to set up the story.

    However, the way the story unfolded really threw me. At first, it was coming off as a mystery novel. When Alexis and Ethan came face to face, it seemed to take a huge turn purely into a romance novel. I’m not a big fan of novels that can’t seem to decide which path they want to take. I would probably feel differently if the story started with a mix of mystery and romance, however it just seemed to suddenly change.

    I didn’t really feel a connection with any of the characters. They felt a bit distant, and unrelatable. However, I was able to see them clearly in my mind, which helped me to see the bigger picture, along with the descriptive settings.

    It took me 2 months to get through just over 100 pages. In the end, I just skipped to the end to see what the outcome was. I just couldn’t keep reading past the point where Alexis and Ethan come face-to-face for the first time, when the story completely changed. This was my first novel by Mandy Magro, and it’s unlikely that I will read another of her books.

  18. Absolutly loved this book. From start to finish i read it in the space of 2 days. This was the first of 3 books iv read of mandy mangros and i have to say she is fast becoming my favourite author.

    I loved the characters of ethan and alexis and i loved that the ending had no loose ends. Im suprised some readers wrote they found it predictable because there were quite a few times i was very suprised.

    Without taking u through the plot of the whole story i would highly recommend reading rhis book especially if u like romance or xrime fiction novels. I liked this book because the plot was not like anything iv read before and despite what others have said i found the twists at the end very unpredictable.

    Loved it!!!

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