The Truthful Story  

"My grandmother taught me when someone tells you a truthful story, it’s not like any other story. You’ll recognize it because it has a special message inside of it, and if you listen close, you’ll find out what it really means. If you use its special powers, the words will jump out from the story and land inside of you and live there forever." 

Genevieve, The Truthful Story



When ten-year-old Genevieve Donovan’s Nannie dies mysteriously in the Lowcountry river she’s loved and lived near all her life, Genny and her family are heartbroken. In 1960s South Carolina, new industry is encroaching on old country, and Genny fears her grandmother may have gotten in the way of so-called progress. Even Daduh, Nannie’s dearest friend and longtime housekeeper, doesn’t know what to make of Nannie’s death. Was it an accident, or did the drunkard son of a local businessman play a role? 

What’s more, ever since Nannie passed, Genny has been hearing and seeing things she’s not sure she can share with anyone except her mother, whose own grief is making it harder and harder to get through to her. Seeking answers, longing for guidance, and unsure if Mama will ever be the same again, Genny gingerly forges a path out of childhood and into adolescence. As Genny struggles to understand justice, healing, and a world in which Nannie is gone but still present, The Truthful Story traces a family’s difficult journey through the pain of loss and the survival of love.

Inspired by works such as To Kill a Mockingbird and The Member of the Wedding, Helen never stopped thinking about writing her first novel and telling what Nannie would call the "truthful story." Based on her personal experiences growing up near Charleston, South Carolina, The Truthful Story allowed her to revisit a place where everything in nature was personified, where the land, trees, and surrounding waters literally breathed alongside the diverse set of people that molded her and convinced her to one day tell their story.  While this book stands on its own, it also sets the stage for the first in a series in which Genevieve will experience many challenges as she realizes the full potential of her gift, taking her through an intriguing and even perilous journey toward adulthood. 

Beautiful and generous. The Truthful Story’s richly rendered Southern Lowcountry provides the ideal setting for its protagonist, the sweet Genevieve—whose youth does not preclude the depth of her
wisdom, love or ability to forgive.”
— Eva Lesko Natiello, New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling Author, The Memory Box