Book Review | “Search for the Truth” by Kathryn Freeman #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 17 September, 2016 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “Search for the Truth” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. I previously had the joy of celebrating the Cover Reveal for this novel and I was most happy I could finally read the story!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Why I was so very keen on reading this Contemporary!

My best friend from high school went into the Pharmacy Industry, and coincidentally we reconnected after a long search to find each other again whilst she was at the latter stage of graduating as a pharmacist. I still remember our long conversations on the phone about the particulars of what was involved with her studies and how her impression of pharmacy had changed since before she started her studies; as the industry wasn’t quite what she imagined it was to be. I could sympathise as sometimes our initial impressions about something does not match or hold up against further enquiries and research. I oft think about her as she has a demanding schedule of hours and responsibilities, I had hoped might have calmed down after her last promotion.

Even before we reconnected and I knew of her path, I sometimes have found myself intrigued to find stories of women who are working inside this field, as the last time I connected to a story, it was through an indie film starring Katherine Heigl (Side Effects | info on Wikipedia). What I appreciated about Search for the Truth is how it digs into the gritty realities of what is being created and how what is being created may or may not be conducive to keeping a Pharma company on the right side of ‘first do no harm’. I felt seeing how Freeman layered the story whilst building the relationship tension at the same time would prove to be a wicked good read, as it would be anchoured in the reality of an industry few write about and grounded by how life evolves out of ordinary hours. A good time to percolate drama and convincing situations where hard choices would surely need to be made!

I like reading romantic dramas sometimes over romantic comedies, because they dig into the harder issues and they takeaway a part of humanity that might always be cut clear and crystal; there are different ways to approach the stories, and seeing how a writer will make choices for her characters but also for her evolving story of intrigue is what holds me to the pages. I am quite eager to see this going into print (hopefully next year!) so that I can see how Tess finds her mission to uncover the truth might not be as easy to do as she first suspected it could be. The title alone points to the plausible path of finding that truth and supposition can be blinding.

-quoted from my Cover Reveal post for Search for the Truth

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Book Review | “Search for the Truth” by Kathryn Freeman #ChocLitSaturdaysSearch for the Truth
by Kathryn Freeman
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Sometimes the truth hurts…

When journalist Tess Johnson takes a job at Helix pharmaceuticals, she has a very specific motive. Tess has reason to believe the company are knowingly producing a potentially harmful drug and, if her suspicions are confirmed, she will stop at nothing to make sure the truth comes out.

Jim Knight is the president of research and development at Helix and is a force to be reckoned with. After a disastrous office affair he’s determined that nothing else will distract him from his vision for the company. Failure is simply not an option. As Tess and Jim start working together, both have their reasons for wanting to ignore the sexual chemistry that fires between them. But chemistry, like most things in the world of science, isn’t always easy to control.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781781893029

Also by this author: Search for the Truth Cover Reveal, Before You Cover Reveal, A Second Christmas Wish Cover Reveal, Before You, A Second Christmas Wish

Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th July, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 288

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Genre(s): Contemporary | BigPharma | Suspense | Corporate Espionage

Converse via: #ChocLit

About Kathryn Freeman

Kathryn Freeman

Kathryn was born in Wallingford, England but has spent most of her life living in a village near Windsor. After studying pharmacy in Brighton she began her working life as a retail pharmacist. She quickly realised that trying to decipher doctor’s handwriting wasn’t for her and left to join the pharmaceutical industry where she spent twenty happy years working in medical communications. In 2011, backed by her family, she left the world of pharmaceutical science to begin life as a self-employed writer, juggling the two disciplines of medical writing and romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) the romance in her life is all in her head. Then again, her husband’s unstinting support of her career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

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big pharma & medicine:

One of the joys of my readings of this story was actually the back-story involving how a new drug therapy goes through the process of being commercially viable for public use. There was a lot of underwriting history about the process of what Pharma goes through to ensure public safety and the safety of the drugs they are creating to help cure the diseases of today. Yet even with all those precautions in place to make sure there are safety protocols and insurances – there are gaps between where policy and practice collide. This was interesting because it took a more honest step inside an industry that is rarely understood or ever shined in a light that was less than positive.

I liked reading the bits about Helix’s process and getting to see Tessa interact with those employees who were on the front lines of development and research whilst finding that the truth that your sometimes seeking is far more complicated than a resolution your hoping to unearth. Medicine by itself has a certain complexity to it but when you combine the pursuit of experimental medicine and science with the ethics of an industry that is heavily regulated – you have an interesting story to tell and to read! It was a great balance between focusing on the relationships being built together out of the necessities of the job whilst counter-balanced with the insight of how Pharma operates and sustains itself on the ethics that are sometimes a bit blurred. I felt Freeman wrote an engaging story from both perspectives whilst giving you a lot to consider about Corporate Espionage and how sometimes the story your pursuing isn’t the story you were meant to find.

My review of Search for the truth:

I was thankful the story began after the passing of Tess’s Mum, as I have noticed I am quite a bit sensitive to reading stories that involve Cancer. Even recently when I tried to read another story (Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly), I had to take a break from digging inside it as it was moving in a direction of emotional drama I wasn’t sure I was ready to take-on. I’ve always been a bit sensitive to those types of stories but moreso, since I lost my beloved cat earlier in 2016 who tragically died of Cancer. I am finding I’m simply more sensitive than I was previously, and felt blessed this story picked up after this tragedy rather than giving us an up close viewing of the moments leading up to her Mum’s death. I felt where Freeman began her story was quite pivotal – as it’s providing us with a window into the vulnerability on behalf of Tess whilst acknowledging that everyone around her is dealing with the death in their own way.

As I’ve lost my fair share of relatives over the years, I’ve never been a stranger to hospitals or the questions that come to mind after a loved one has passed. I could readily understand then, why Tess and Avril (a woman who approached Tess at her mother’s wake) wanted to find an answer to why both their Mums died suddenly of a heart condition neither one of them had; except that they shared a connection to a new drug that was being pitched for their recovery. It is always a leap of faith to trust the medical community at moments of high risk where experimental drug therapies are considered to help maintain longevity of life. There is such a barrage of new information per year from Pharma – new drugs seem to be arriving every left turn you take to see one of the new adverts popping up on your television with such frequency, it’s a bit disconcerting how all of them can be deemed safe for the long term. Again, there is that leap of faith. Part of the opening bit of this story is examining that leap of faith – is it truly blind or is it too trusting? Where do you stop asking questions and accept what’s happened?! Or should you accept what’s happened if there is evidence proving against the doubt nibbling at your heels?! Freeman presents the vacillations well as she provides the background on why Tess is setting herself up in a joy at Helix Pharmaceuticals. There is the ethical question too, about ‘first do no harm’ that parlays to mind as your reading these opening chapters; has the sanctity of human life fallen to the increase in profit?

When Tess met Jim, she was struck by his appearance as being as aptly described as it were but what caught her attention more was his demeanor. He came out so dearly strong at meeting the staff it leant the impression he was more bullheaded and arrogant that compassionate and kind. His level of focus was to be commended but his execution of his ideas fell short of grace. Tess was at proper loss how to remain professional at a company she had massive doubts across ethical lines yet pulled herself together to put up a facade of a woman in her position her actually liked her job. Her direct boss Georgina bolstered her courage a bit by her calm belief in her abilities but her interactions with Jim had her resolve faltering. He could see through her or at least she felt he could. He unnerved her in other words.

The restructure at Helix had everyone rattled but it was the emotional drain of grief that has Tess questioning her strength to continue to find the truth. As Tessa grew in confidence to sleuth she had to broker a balance between journalist under cover, amateur sleuth and her “real job” the Communications Manager at Helix. Early on she was working a bit too hard outside the comfortable line in the sand drawing a few curious brows that could have ended her search outright. Her passion to understand what was hidden was commendable but even I hoped she wouldn’t spoilt the cover she had in place before the truth leaked out. Her strength in heels and Jim’s allure in the company as a man on his own mission was providing to be an interesting set in match between the two; Jim yielded not to mix his business with pleasure again but Tess had him reconsidering.

Freeman happily pitted the ethics of Jim against the scrutiny of Tessa’s inquisition allowing Tessa to ponder what was the real truth from the suspected truth? What was a man willing to do for the advancement of his job? Was he motivated by his own interest or the greater good of the company is a strong thread running parallel to the heart of the romance. Tessa’s instinct as a journalist had her re-examine every thought or action she observed. Dissecting everything and remaining detached in order to accomplish revealing the truth about her Mum. Yet that’s hard to do when you’re growing closer to certain colleagues and finding the people at Helix are genuine, engaging and hardworking.

One of the joys in reading this story was watching Tess swim out of her depth and still come out on top! The first time she asked a former colleague to help her out with the particulars. The second project Jim pitched to her that had her anxiety fluttering reminded me of the film Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead due to how Tess kept trying to cover up everything that was not instinctive to pull off. Tess definitely is a heroine for working women who want to do a great job even if they fall short, of understanding a few of the skills they should have mastered before they were hired.

The electricity between Tessa and Jim was undeniable but watching these two continuous wrestle with their will to remain professional was a delicious read! It was quite classic how they kept trying to refrain from noticing each other or even thinking about each other in a non professional and highly personable way. They played off each other in their minds yet no words were expressed aloud. This situation did not improve when Tess went on the road with Jim; her insistence left with a smirk. I knew this would make the pulse between them grow as they truly could not handle close quarters without contemplating intimacy.

Yet despite the complications Tess was still trying to find the resolve to sleuth into the back history of the drug her mother took which may or may not have led to her death. Her entire focus was slowly becoming muddled by her growing affection for Jim. In Rome they start to relax around each other and by the time they reached Singapore they were in sync. Rome afforded them the chance to do some ordinary and normal without the precept of business or policy procedure but an honest experience in a city that enchants itself to visitors. For both of them it provided a down turn of stress and a way to drop their barriers and simply be Jim and Tess without their positions getting in the way.

Not all endeavours are as clear in the middle as they are in the beginning, as Tess finds her attraction to Jim is beyond a mere flirtation as her emotions start to vex her about her intentions. She had intended to take down a company for her Mum’s sake and to prove if the drug had known side effects. Yet the closer she feels inclined to contemplate a future with Jim the more anguished she becomes. How can you listen to your heart and still do what is right for others like your Mum? Where’s the balance when you find someone you could love?

There was a tender exchange between Jim and his Mum as it felt fitting they should have this conversation; present circumstances aside. His Mum understood him and knew had to encourage him even if he wasn’t ready to admit he was starting to block off his emotions. Jim used to share more of himself – emotionally, but his Mum knew him best, including what was holding him back from love. Seeing Jim with his Mum was something I felt should be included because both him and Tessa were close to their families. Sometimes I find Contemporaries with singletons remove the family ties completely, but in this instance, I was happy that we saw scenes with his mother as much as we saw Tessa with her brother and father. It anchoured their lives to what grants them a centering of place and how being able to go home and draw strength from those who know you best is truly an important part of their lives.

I love reading this Contemporary it was edgy on the level of taking an inside look into the Pharma Industry and it was sophisticated due to the pacing and slow-building romance. It had a lot of volley between the two lead characters which is something that I love to see as they weren’t exactly the type to admit at having an insta-attraction to each other. Both were cautious for their own reasons but it was how the romance played out in a tightly controlled working environment that had me fondly think back to certain movies that held the same appeal. On a personal note I have no idea how Tessa wore all those high heels! The descriptions made me smile but knowing what they were doing to Tessa’s feet made me cringe! Oy. Oy.

On the contemporary writing style of ms freeman:

I was quite surprised I had overlooked the fact Ms Freeman had previously worked as a pharmacist (like my friend) before she ventured into the Pharma Industry! This made my choice to read this novel as my first by this author even more special! As I was quite excited to see what she would knit into the story given her background. The reason I tend to overlook biographies is because sometimes I have made a connection and/or have connected with an author via Twitter ahead of reading their novel(s). There are other moments where I tend to go into reading a book that catches my fancy to read without looking into the author’s website or reading their full biography until after I’ve read their stories. Although Ms Freeman hasn’t had the chance to attend our weekly meet-ups during #ChocLitSaturday, she did have the joy of attending our ‘reunion’ chat on the 10th of September when we broke our short end of Summer hiatus! I have had the joy though of interacting with her occasionally on Twitter which I was thankful for as she’s quite kind with her time.

Some of the best bits for me were the cheeky moments Freeman knit into the office scenes such as Jim realising his growing attraction to Tessa or how Tessa is noticing the same feelings are returned towards Jim. Freeman cheekily highlights those quasi-embarrassing moments between two co-workers trying to keep secrets from each other. The awkward long looks, the accidental bump-ins and Jim’s growing appreciation for Tessa’s shoes was too comical for words! Likewise it developed the chemistry between the two and each of them were trying to downplay their attraction. Each hoping the other had not picked up on any subtle clues. This is exactly the kind of Contemporary Rom I love to read because it keeps you on your toes! Whilst giving you so many wicked delights as a reader to live through the moments right alongside the lead characters!

Shh! An afterthought courtesy of #ChocLitSaturday 17th September, 2016:

Ms Freeman said she is considering writing another Pharma Contemporary Rom and I could not be more delighted! I seriously would love to read another story – either set in this same setting and locale or shift it completely to someplace new, where new characters will await me! I loved the rhythm of the story but mostly it was how she drew out the humanity within the Industry itself. How due to that focused threading you could view Phrama in a different light without any personal bias to disrupt the truth of how honest men and women strive towards accuracy and truth even if the industry they work in has flaws or errs in judgement. There are always two sides of coin to every story and thus, sometimes the bigger the industry the bigger the risk to let misconstrued truths and misunderstandings of their processes undermine the work by those who seek to keep their fields honest.

I felt Ms Freeman not only found this balance in Search for the Truth but found a clever way to tell a story that has a wicked twist in the end for her readers! A twist that I was thankful to have revealled but also, one that had you re-think everything you had read whilst everything was paced out to be exposed. It’s one of those stories that can be seen two different ways to Sunday and happily cherished! After this introduction I cannot wait to read more of her Contemporaries!!

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I happily review for ChocLitUK!

This book review is courtesy of: ChocLitUK

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I previously hosted the Cover Reveal Celebration via:

Search for the Truth blog tour via Brook Cottage Book ToursFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comVisit my ChocLit Next Reads List on Riffle to see which stories I fancy to devour in 2016!

I originally thought I would start reading Ms Freeman’s stories this year by starting with Too Charming
whilst awaiting the paperback release of Search for the Truth! Except to say, in the end, I kept remembering how much this story reminded me of my best friend’s career path and the hard work she put into getting her degree. For a personal reason, I decided to start reading her novels from the perspective of already understanding a certain level of angst with Pharma & the way in which those involved try to make the best out of things they cannot change.

IF you love chatting about Romance novels, #amwriting adventures and being in a wicked good circle of writers and readers joyfully sharing their writerly & bookish lives, I invite you to join us for #ChocLitSaturday which is an extension of my reviews & guest features on behalf of ChocLitUK! All are welcome! Visit @ChocLitSaturday for more details!

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Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 17 September, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Espionage, Indie Author, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Vulgarity in Literature

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