I would give this book a 4 out of 5. I’m a tough critic.
True Colors is about 3 sisters: the oldest, Aurora, the middle, Winona and the youngest, Vivi Ann.
When this book begins, the girls’ mother dies. Vivi Ann is much too young to understand why their mother isn’t coming back. Their father is inconsolable, and never pulls out of it.
Skip to 10 years later. Aurora is married with two kids, Winona is a successful lawyer in the small town they live in, and Vivi Ann is living with their dad on their ranch that is barely keeping above water.
Although Winona is successful in her career, she struggles with several things. She is overweight, and has never been in love. She is jealous of Vivi Ann who is the town belle, beautiful and vibrant and charming. I felt Winona’s jealousy and disliked Vivi Ann myself for being so charmed never with a care in the world.
Vivi Ann is the only one who seems to be able to obtain their father’s approval. She takes care of him and helps with the ranch and teaches 4-H. She meets every week with her two sisters at their favorite bar to talk and catch up.
Everything changes when Dallas Raintree moves to town. Winona has taken over the responsibility of hiring a decent ranch hand after Vivi Ann proves to be unable to hire one who will stick around, much less do any work. Winona interviews Dallas, and although he scares her, he seems to know how to work so she hires him as the new ranch hand.
Meanwhile, Winona’s childhood friend/lifelong crush Luke comes back to town. To Winona’s disappointment, he falls madly in love with Vivi Ann. Winona is too self-loathing and stubborn to admit to Vivi Ann (who goes through men every 5 minutes) her feelings for Luke. Instead, her jealousy festers, driving a wedge between them. Aurora, who takes a back seat in this story, tries to keep the peace, but all Winona can see is Aurora taking Vivi Ann’s side.
When Winona discovers that Vivi Ann, although engaged to Luke, has been having a secret affair with Dallas, she cannot wait to get the cat out of the bag. She immediately tells Luke, and her father. Both are devastated. Their family has quite a history in this small town, and there is nothing that their father cares about more than appearances.
Vivi Ann and Luke break up, and despite the disapproval of the whole town, she marries Dallas, and they have a son. Dallas and Vivi Ann are madly in love, continue working on the ranch, and make it successful with riding events on the weekends.
Winona and Vivi Ann have been split completely apart by the betrayal, and when Dallas is accused of murdering a woman in town, Winona refuses to be Dallas’ lawyer. Every one in town thinks Dallas did it, including Winona and their father. We come to find out that Dallas had a long criminal history, and he doesn’t deny being involved. He feels like the system is so against him, that anything he does or says will only he held against him.
So Dallas goes to jail, and Vivi Ann is beyond heart broken. The final nail in the coffin for any remaining relationship between Winona and Vivi Ann. Aurora also all but disowns Winona for refusing to help Dallas in his trial. Appeal after appeal after appeal are put in for the release of Dallas, but to no avail. Each denied appeal crushes a little more of Vivi Ann’s spirit. Dallas can’t stand to see this happening to Vivi Ann, refusing to see her and finally divorces her, thinking she will move on.
Another 10 years later, Aurora is divorced, Winona is running for mayor, and Vivi Ann is preoccupied with running the ranch and raising her son, Noah, who never knew his father. Noah is often getting in fights with the other kids who make fun of his Native American heritage and put him down for his murderer father.
Despite the odds against them, Winona and Noah develop a friendship while he is working for her during the summer. One afternoon they are invited to go boating with Winona’s neighbor and his daughter. Noah falls for the neighbor’s daughter Cissy over the summer and begins to pull out of his teen angst. He eventually asks for Winona’s help to release his father from jail.
The story ends after one more dissappointing appeal, when Winona is able to identify the true killer and Dallas is finally set free. The three sisters are reunited, as well as Vivi Ann’s broken family.
Though I think the story was dragged out a little too long, I could appreciate the ups and downs that made it relatable to the ups and downs in life. I was plesantly surprised by the way the author was able to conclude the story with a realistic happy ending that lead to a closer family.