Cost of Truth
by Julie K. Parrott
BookVenture Publishing

"And now I knew I was meant to be with a woman. It was who I was and who I still am."

Even from a young age, Donna knew that she wanted to join a convent and serve God as a nun. The only girl of five children, Donna grows up as a bit of a mischievous tomboy before heading off to boarding school. At boarding school, she excels at sports, particularly netball, but fails to focus more than necessary on her classes. Set on the convent, after a year’s sabbatical at her father’s request Donna becomes a nun. At the convent, she continues to be something of a minor rebel, dedicated to her mission but set in her ways. When she finishes her initial years and moves into a teaching role, she learns that her path was not what she imagined it would be like and pivots to pursue a role in nursing.

This conflict of expectation versus reality becomes a bit of a theme for her later on but not before she falls in love with Michael, a man with a similar past who traded in time at the seminary for a career in real estate. Together, Donna and Michael are married for over a decade and have five children, but Donna can’t shake the feeling that something in her life isn’t where it needs to be. A friendship with another mother in the area soon begins to blossom into something else, and Donna has an epiphany that she has not realized before this point—she is actually attracted to the same sex. Determined to be true to herself no matter the cost, she must give up her marriage, her children, and her religion in order to be the person she now knows herself to be.

Powerful, honest, heartbreaking, and also funny, Donna tells her story in a way that provides a nearly complete picture of her upbringing, her personality, and how she must negotiate a lifestyle in opposition to her faith. Obviously, coming to terms with her sexuality is the turning point in the story, but a significant portion of time is dedicated to the events that lead up to that realization. This frames the difficulty for Donna on a personal level, dealing not just with society’s and Christianity’s views on her homosexuality but also the impact that it created on her life, particularly as it put a strain on her relationships with her ex-husband, her children, and her mother.

The latter portion of the book finds Donna achieving some level of normalcy in her life, and this changes the tone significantly. After escaping her restrictive, unfulfilling first relationship post-marriage, she reunites with her children, makes peace with Michael, and learns how to communicate again with her mother. From here on out, the story becomes a bit of a showcase of relationships, highlighting the ups and downs of her various relationships before finding the one. With a mixture of her adventures in employment and relocation around Australia, the reader experiences a kind of lightness following along with Donna’s journey. Now that she knows who she really is, life becomes a question of figuring out where and with whom she best belongs. An uplifting yet initially challenging read for anyone dealing with the terms of their own sexuality, this book on its own serves as a personal, entertaining, and emotional story that captivates its readers and keeps them hanging on through the hard times, promising better days to follow.

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