All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry
Judith lives in the small rural town of Roswell Station with her mother and her older brother. The time is not clear, but certainly everyone uses a horse and wagon, with farming the major occupation. Judith loves her brother and her mother, and the neighbor boy, Lucas, whom she has loved forever. People, however, avoid Judith. Four years ago, she and her best friend Lottie disappear, and Judith returned with her tongue cut out. Lottie was found floating face down in the river.
To please her mother, Judith avoids talking at all, and in reality becomes a servant in the house. Townspeople think she might have been sexually abused (she wrote in a city fathers’ meeting that she was not) and/or gone slightly mad. Lucas announces his engagement to the prettiest and most popular girl in town. Then the town is attacked. Judith knows how to save the town, but doing so will bring dire consequences, some very unintended.
Each character is well defined, with a personality that will surprise you. We are not simple people, we humans. Neither are even the minor characters.
A good reader will think they know the secrets and see the ending. They will be wrong this time.
Yes, there are sexual situations, some real, many imagined. And there is love, real love, in many forms.