A Matter of Fact (Two Truths and a Lie #3) ~ Kate Hawthorne
First things first, I don’t really recommend reading this book as a standalone. It's the third one in the series, and it is the redemption of an evil side character previously introduced, so I think it’s really beneficial to see the character’s previous actions before reading it. You could read it as a standalone if you wanted to—the book does a fine job of explaining things—but it does seem like it starts in the middle of a story and things only get cleared up later on, so please be aware of that.
A Matter of Fact was probably my most anticipated new release of the entire year. Even since we met Rhys at the start of the series, I have been aching to get his book. Rhys was always shown as an evil side character and that’s why he fascinated me. It’s no secret that redemption stories are my favourite trope of all time, so I was not so patiently waiting to get it in my hands. I binged this in one day the second I received an ARC copy of it, and I have no regrets!
It was one of the best reading experiences I have ever had. We might only be at the start of the year, but I can already predict that this will be in my top 5 favourite books of the year by the end of it.
Rhys is 37 and he is crumbling under his family’s expectations (he’s from a really wealthy family and he had to do a lot of things he regrets to uphold the family name) and he is very unhappy with his life. Rhys goes to brunch at a restaurant, and he meets his waiter, Beckett. They see each other again and again, go on multiple dates and they fall in love.
“Beckett, I think I’m in love with you.”
“You don’t have to say it back.”
“What if I want to?”
“What if I love you too?”
“Then you’re a fool,”
“Then I’m a fool.”
First, I don’t think I will ever be able to stop talking about how much I love Rhys. In fact, expect me to mention him in every other sentence about books that I will speak of this entire year. He was an evil side character before, but as far as I’m concerned, Rhys has been fully redeemed and is now one of my top 3 favourite characters of all time. He is a cold, calculating and heartless man at the start of the series, but in his story, he was awkward and fumbling, so unsure of himself and just so eager to fall in love.
Second, at the start of the book, we see Rhys who is absolutely crumbling under family expectations. He is the oldest son of a very wealthy family, and he took all the pressure of what comes with that on his shoulders, sacrificing his life and dreams and never marrying a man like he wanted to because his father was against that. He doesn’t have much of a life or people he cares about. Rhys was just so alone and all he wanted was to be happy because he really wasn’t and he hadn’t been in a long time, and it broke my heart to read about that.
He feared falling in love because it meant that he would have to be vulnerable, and he doesn’t know how to be anything but in control. But then we got to see Rhys meet Beckett and finally get all the things he wants in life, and it just made me utterly happy to see Rhys reclaim everything he has denied himself. It felt so rewarding to see him opening up instead of pretending to be cold and heartless. I loved how eager he was to just be in love and have someone that loved him, he radiated such joy about his relationship and just being with Beckett and it was lovely to see. It was very rewarding as a reader to see the cold and calculating facade shred apart to reveal a man that just wants to be loved for who he is.
Here is an interaction between Rhys and Sebastian, his brother, that I think really shows how Rhys felt: “How did you do it?” […] “How did I do what?” “Give yourself permission to be happy.”
Side note, there is something so beautiful about a character that used to be really closed off finally letting someone in. And that’s exactly what Rhys did. He let himself be vulnerable for one of the first times in his life and the way he let Beckett in was an absolute thing of beauty.
Another side note, the story put a really big focus on Rhys new found family. The fact that he didn’t belong and didn’t have friends was a big part of his character, so I adored how the narrative made sure to remedy that.
Third, I’m a cry baby and I have a soft spot for people who are lonely and who had life situations that didn’t allow them to be happy, so it's safe to say that I cried, a lot. I got emotional at what Rhys was feeling, and I just wanted to give him a big hug. I was a mess at the end of this book but I loved every second of it.
Fourth, I talked in detail about how much I appreciate Rhys already, but now I want to address about how much I adore Beckett too. He was the perfect love interest for me. He was so good and understanding to Rhys and did everything to shatter every fear and doubts that Rhys has ever had.
Beckett loved him always. And he loved Beckett. He loved him so much. And he refused to give up on that. […] He’d just gotten a taste of what it could be like, a life with the support of a partner, completely separate of the familial ties that had held him in bondage his whole life.
Fifth, I now want to point out the redemption aspect. It was everything I have ever wanted from the trope. Rhys was previously presented as being mean, super cold and arrogant, so being in his brain and learning why he was that way really worked for me. Since we met Rhys in book 1, we got to see his evil exterior and how he hurt every other character in the series, so it was even more impactful to witness him realizing how he went wrong before and apologizing for the pain he caused.
I really loved how much of this book put a focus on Rhys and on redeeming his previous actions and showing his motives for them and how he learnt from them and how he changed his life to now be a better man, everything about that part of the book really worked for me.
Not only was this book a redemption, but it also put a big focus on Rhys finding out who he is as a person, highlighting his actions and how hard he tried and later succeeded to change his life and become a better man. It put an emphasis on his growth, and I loved that for him.
Sixth, the romance in this book, it just melted my entire heart. Rhys just wanted to spend all the time he could with Beckett and I loved how happy they seemed to make each other every time they interacted. A lot of this book’s page time was them going on dates and getting to know each other, which was super enjoyable and I loved reading every second of it.
Seventh, their communication and how mature their relationship is was fantastic. When they had an issue, they talked about it together and compromised, which is so rare to see but I just loved it so much.
Eight, all the books in this series talk about money and the consequences of having a lot or not having enough and this one was no exception. Rhys is rich and at the start of the book he thinks that all he’s worth is his money and that people only like him because of it and not because of who he is, and I loved how Beckett spent so much time proving to Rhys that he is more than his money.
“I would spend every cent in my bank account if it meant I’d get to kiss you like that just one more time”
Ninth, I have read the entire series and the way this wrapped it up while answering many questions brought by the previous installments was incredibly well done. It served as a perfect ending for the characters and their lives. It was tremendously satisfying.
I just adored every second of this book and I don’t think I will be able to stop talking about it any time soon. The book just had my heart from the start, and I think that will be the case for a very long time.
A Matter of Fact is available now as an ebook
The Two Truths and a Lie Series:
Book 1 ~ A Real Good Lie
Book 2 ~ A Cold Hard Truth
Book 3 ~ A Matter of Fact