Monday, August 01, 2016

The Things We Knew by Catherine West ~ Book Review

Publisher's Description: 
When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

 After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.

 Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister.

 As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.

My Thoughts:
I found this a very readable, engaging contemporary story.  It is definitely packed with family drama as each sibling faces dysfunctional aspects to their lives because of the death of their mother.  All but Lynette have taken off to make lives for themselves but Lynette has never been able to bring herself to leave and now she is faced with an ailing father, the family home falling apart around her and the stress of being the only financial contributor to the upkeep of the huge home. When she goes into the bank to try to get a loan she comes face to face with an old family friend and her teenage crush, Nick.  And he doesn't have good news for her.  The only option he sees for her is to sell the crumbling family home.  As the family gathers in Nantucket to deal with this, a stipulation in their mother's will, they must each have to face these dysfunctions and deal with questions surrounding their mother's death.  Lynette especially finds this difficult as she was only 12 when it happened and she can't remember anything and no one will talk about it which frustrates her to no end.  And now she is having dreams and nightmares and her paintings are taking a turn that is scaring her, so she is struggling to comprehend what it all means.

The story was well written in my viewpoint, it certainly kept me turning the pages.  I really felt for Lynette as the youngest of the family, being essentially left behind by the others, and having to deal with her dad's illness and the financial issues on her own.  The added stress of her mother's death and her lack of remembrance about it felt very real in the story.  I also loved how the author wove the other siblings issues into the story so naturally.  On the surface their lives all looked pretty good but each was dealing with huge repercussions with what happened so many years ago to their mother.

Nick's character also brings with it an air of mystery.  Growing up, he and Lynette's youngest brother were the best of friends and Lynette had a teenage crush on him.  But a huge falling out between the two young men and the reason behind it still affects their relationship and throws another layer into the mystery

Even though this is Christian fiction, the faith element did not dominate the story so I think anyone who likes contemporary or family drama stories would enjoy this story.  Those who are looking for a more heavier faith element might find this light on that aspect but it still makes for a good read.

Thanks to BookLook bloggers and Thomas Nelson for sending me a free copy for my honest review.  All opinions and thoughts are my own and I'm not required to give a positive review.

The Things We Knew is available for purchase here.


Barbara H. said...

Sounds very interesting! You've already got me curious about what the mystery is!

Karen said...

The cover of this book draws me in. It's a scene I could step right into.

Deb said...

Thanks. I also requested this book for review, before I knew that you were going to read and review it. I just haven't got to it yet, since I have only been home a few days. Glad to know that you liked it. I appreciate your review not giving away too much! I am looking forward to reading it!

Faith said...

OH this sounds like one I would like!!! Am writing it down right now...that cover is what drew my eye!! Thanks for the great review. Oh and I saw your comment about All Fall Down. Yes, that book was amazing. Very good topic. I just reviewed one I finished last night. It was ...intriguing. But it didn't earn a 10.