Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review: The Things We Knew by Catherine West

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Things We Knew (Thomas Nelson, July 2016)

A tragedy from the past resurfaces in this tale of family secrets and reignited love.

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 harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother's death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can't remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother's best friend and Lynette's first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can't.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn't want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father's failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface---secrets 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 all they ever believed in.

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I was moved by the straight-forward humanness of these characters.  Every family has their dysfunctions and the author doesn't sugarcoat the reality of life and how one thing can change a family dynamic forever.   Of course, that one thing being the result of other hidden problems is also a factor.

The author does a great job of drawing you into the lives of Lynette and Nicholas and their families.  Lynette is such a strong but heart-breaking character.   She has shouldered so much for so long that she's about to lose it all.   Nicholas is great in that he has not followed in his father's footsteps and is determined to help Lynette and her family even though he's risking revealing the secret he's carried around for years.  Lynette's brothers and sister each have their own life problems and have allowed themselves to stay disconnected from Lynette and the past, not realizing how bad things have gotten.  As they each come home, they start re-evaluating their lives and struggle to be a family again.   Will the secrets and memories that start coming to light destroy them or will the truth bring them to a place of forgiveness and grace?

A wonderful, heartfelt story that touches on drugs, physical abuse, alcohol, marital strife, infidelity and the grace and mercy of God that brings them all to a place of truth, forgiveness and hope for the future!

*Thanks to Litfuse for a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

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Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border collie for long walks on the beach or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children.

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