Book Title: The Things We Wish Were True
Author: Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Genres: Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary
Date Read: 09/11/16
Pub Date: 09/01/16
From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.
Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.
During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?
I believe I’ve found another trustworthy publisher in Lake Union; I particularly seem to gravitate toward their women’s fiction releases since they tend to be a reliable pick for my interests. I have loved the past 5 reads from them and am excited to read the last few I have sitting on my shelf. These books aren’t as romance focused as others; sure there are typically romantic relationships, but it’s only a portion of the plot instead of the main event. Once again, Marybeth Whalen has delivered an intriguing, complex novel that causes the reader to question how well they know the people who live mere feet from them and what secrets we all hold in the dark corners of our lives. This was one suspenseful read that kept me guessing as I took in the story from quite a few POVs, which seemed confusing at first, but slowly came together to weave a connected web of personal experiences and tragedies.
I’ll admit that this was a fairly short read, which came out to under 300 pages (at least my review copy did) and is probably my only critique. I was so sucked in that I just wanted more! I absolutely fell deep into the drama of these folks like I lived right alongside in Sycamore Glen; I thoroughly loved how this didn’t feel “hick small-town” but more suburban and classic southern. The descriptions, the cover, the setting were all perfectly southern and me being a southern girl, I whole-heartedly embraced this. I had the same feelings and emotions reading this one as I did reading Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale. While the plots are completely different, I feel those who really liked that book might enjoy this as well!
The characters were really fun to get acquainted with; my personal favorite tangent was the budding relationship between Jencey and Lance. The author included a note at the end of the book giving us background into the inspiration to where this particular story came from; I found that to be a nice touch that deepened my appreciation for the book and Marybeth’s storytelling abilities. Once again, this was a fantastic, quick read that has you blowing through each clipped chapter at lightning speed trying to uncover all the little mysteries alongside the big, central one. While at times a little predictable, I felt the suspense of the story more than made up for those tiny moments. This book is still more than enjoyable even if you figure out every single piece of the puzzle ahead of time.
* I received my copy from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Many thanks to Lake Union Publishing and Marybeth Whalen!