How do you know 'lui' in the instance below is a woman?
Il n'avait jamais pu lui avouer la vérité?
You don't know from this single sentence. Only context will tell whether lui refers to a man or a woman.
Difficult to comment without sight of the full context.
What is the context of the fuller text within which your query sentence appears?
In this sentence, you do know - because of the translation.
As Chris has correctly noted, without the translation more context would be required. This would be either known, or enquired about in a conversation. In a more complete text, it would be unusual for the context not to be clear.
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