Grace Monroe has the perfect life: a wonderful husband, loving daughters, a supportive mother, and a successful career in politics that has just earned her a position as a Los Angeles city councilwoman. But when she finds out that her husband has a child by another woman, her whole life must be re-imagined.
This is not your mother's faith fiction. Murray knows how to make the sex scenes sizzle in her latest novel about Christians and the power of forgiveness. African-American couple Grace and Conner Monroe have had a bumpy life together: Grace once had an on-again, off-again affair, but she and her husband have rebuilt their marriage with love and prayer. Now, with Grace newly elected to the Los Angeles city council, it seems their life together has never been better. "...They'd danced through their storms, and now their future was clear of any clouds." But then Conner reveals that he was unfaithful years ago with his now-dying former assistant, and their adolescent son, Solomon, needs a father and a home. In the midst of her disillusionment, Grace must also deal with her 15-year-old daughter Jayde's rebellion and with Grace's competitive sister, Mabel (aka Starlight), whose career as a charlatan motivational speaker is catapulting her to fame and fortune. The plot (illegitimate child comes to light years later and threatens Christian marriage) is shopworn, but Murray (Temptation; Joy) is a competent writer who knows how to give it fresh zing. One scene is especially memorable: Starlight and her lover, Lexington, have sex while Starlight chats breathlessly on the phone with a pastor she contemplates later seducing. Grace's battle with forgiveness and her dilemma about opening her heart to Conner's son--and to her spiritually lost, power-hungry sister--makes even this too-long novel an enjoyable read.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 14, 2004
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Excerpt from Truth Be Told by Victoria Christopher Murray
"You're going to be the first female mayor of Los Angeles!"
Thunderous applause exploded inside the Biltmore's Colonnade Room.
"You forgot the first black female mayor," a woman bellowed above the noise.
Grace Monroe smiled into the crowd of rainbow faces. She motioned with her hands to quiet her supporters. "Thank you, but my focus is not on the mayor's office. I want to serve the people of the Eighteenth District -- you, who with your confidence and countless dedicated hours have elected me today as your councilwoman."
A roar reverberated through the room. Grace glanced over her shoulder. Behind her, Conner beamed. Next to him stood their daughters, whose smiles matched the ones in the crowd. Jayde, her fifteen year old, raised her thumb in the air.
Grace turned toward her constituents as the cheers faded. Her smile disappeared. She scanned the quieting crowd for unfamiliar eyes. She shook her head to dislodge those thoughts. Out of more than two hundred people in the room, she knew fewer than fifty. Eager faces stared back at her, and she cleared her throat.
"I will fulfill my campaign promises -- the most important being that our children receive the education they deserve. We're going to begin with morals and ethics." Minutes passed before she was able to continue through the applause. "We will address the questions that are important to you. We will provide solutions to the challenges of drugs and teenage pregnancy." Another eruption of applause. "I thank you for your commitment, but remember, this is the beginning. We must work hard to make the Eighteenth District of Los Angeles a model community, an example for the nation." She paused for just a moment. "God bless you."
Silver globes, reminiscent of the disco decade, glittered from the high ceilings as strobes swept rainbow meteors across the room. Bass tones blasted, and then Jeffrey Osborne's baritone serenaded the crowd, turning Grace's feelings into song.
We're going all the way.
Grace swayed to the music as her family joined her at the podium. Conner entwined his fingers in his wife's and raised her hand in the air in victory. "I am so proud of you. Congratulations, Councilwoman." His lips grazed her ear.
She shined with pride as he kissed her cheek, and the crowd cheered their approval. She could feel her daughters on her other side.
Amber giggled. "Mommy, the music is so loud."
Grace laughed, stooped, and hugged her seven year old. Then she pulled Jayde into her arms.
"Congratulations, Mom," Jayde grinned.
Grace smiled, relieved that her teenager was in the mood for the celebration.
"Well done, dear." Grace turned at the sound of her mother's voice. Lily had squeezed between her grandchildren to stand at her daughter's side. Grace hugged her mother.
Lily patted her daughter's back as they embraced. "I'm proud of you." As Grace pulled away, her mother whispered, "The only thing missing is your sister...." Grace shrugged from her mother's arms, her smile gone.
Before a tick clicked on the clock, Conner stepped between the two women and put his arm around his wife. "The cameras, honey," he said through lips that hardly moved. He motioned toward the crowd with his dimpled chin.
Grace returned to center stage, her practiced smile in place. She waved, then took Conner's hand and moved toward the curtains behind them. Lily and the girls followed. Before she was two steps backstage, Zo�, her campaign manager and now chief of staff, ran toward her with headphones covering her braids and a clipboard in her hand.
"Grace, Channel 2 wants the first interview. We should give it to them because their polls supported us, and they were the fairest in reviewing our platform." She took one glance at the clipboard, then added, "Next, we'll go to Channel...."
Grace held up her hand. "Zo�, take a breath."
Zo� stared speechless for a moment, then smiled. "Have I congratulated you?" She squinted, as if trying to remember.
"No, you haven't." Grace hugged her. "And I haven't thanked you." She squeezed Zo�'s hand. "Tell Channel 2 that I'll be right there." Zo� nodded and rushed away. Grace shook her head, knowing that in five minutes, she'd be back with three more interviews arranged.
"Girl, girl, girl!" Devry clapped, and Grace laughed at her sister-in-law. "You did it!"
Grace hugged Devry, then stepped back when she felt the gentle swell of her sister-in-law's belly between them. "Don't want to hurt the baby."
Devry laughed. "Girl, Baby Monroe is having a blast. Just like the rest of us." She took Grace's hand. "I'm so proud of you."
"It's still unbelievable," Grace said. Then her eyes wandered over Devry's shoulder into the face of Conner -- only the man didn't have her husband's eyes. Chandler's were a tint lighter than Conner's dark brown ones. As she hugged her brother-in-law, she thought for the thousandth time that the doctors had been mistaken -- they couldn't be fraternal twins.