The Kindest Lie; Nancy Johnson

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A promise could betray you.

It’s 2008, and the inauguration of President Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated Black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He’s eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to—and was forced to leave behind—when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she’d never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past.

Returning home, Ruth discovers the Indiana factory town of her youth is plagued by unemployment, racism, and despair. As she begins digging into the past, she unexpectedly befriends Midnight, a young white boy who is also adrift and looking for connection. Just as Ruth is about to uncover a burning secret her family desperately wants to keep hidden, a traumatic incident strains the town’s already searing racial tensions, sending Ruth and Midnight on a collision course that could upend both their lives.

Powerful and revealing, The Kindest Lie captures the heartbreaking divide between Black and white communities and offers both an unflinching view of motherhood in contemporary America and the never-ending quest to achieve the American Dream.

February 2, 2021


About the Author

Nancy Johnson is the author of the debut novel THE KINDEST LIE, which is available now everywhere books are sold! This is the story of an unlikely connection between an Ivy League-educated Black engineer searching for the son she walked away from and a poor, young white boy who finds himself adrift in a dying Indiana factory town. The novel explores race, class, identity, and the pursuit of the American dream.

The Kindest Lie is a Book of the Month selection, an Amazon Editors' pick, as well as an IndieNext and LibraryReads pick. This novel was reviewed by the LA Times and The Washington Post. It has been named a most anticipated book of 2021 by O, the Oprah Magazine, Shondaland, Marie Claire, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Post, Good Housekeeping, Amazon Book Review, Popsugar, and more.

Nancy’s work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine and has received support from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, Tin House Summer Novel Workshop, and Kimbilio Fiction.

A native of Chicago's South Side, Nancy worked for more than a decade as an Emmy-nominated, award-winning television journalist at CBS and ABC affiliates in markets nationwide. A graduate of Northwestern University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she lives in downtown Chicago and manages brand communications for a large nonprofit. The Kindest Lie is her first novel.

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