An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of 400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger. Enjoy ARCs and new releases.
Publisher: Lake Union
Publication Date: 9/1/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
A special thank you to Lake Union and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Marybeth Mayhew Whalen pulls you into an all American contemporary neighborhood, with dark secrets and lies, seems everyone is hiding something in her latest: THINGS WE WISH WERE TRUE –a Southern charmer looks beneath the pristine exteriors of this friendly North Carolina neighborhood.
In this idyllic Matthews, NC suburban neighborhood Sycamore Glen, everyone meets at the neighborhood pool. There is much depth here – a character driven emotional tale, the author references her inspiration behind the book, which I enjoyed reading.
A perfect Labor Day Weekend Southern read. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions (questions included).
Written from multiple contrasting perspectives, starting Memorial Day Weekend 2014, we hear from a variety of characters: Cailey, Zell, Lance, Bryte, and Jencey. At the neighborhood pool.
The opening day for the summer. We continue hearing from each character from May-August. Slowly the characters’ lives are unraveled, and their pasts exposed. Things that threaten lives and relationships.
Cailey, lived in a house which the neighbors hated. People thought they were white trash. Cutter’s dad was in prison. She herself did not have a father, or one she had ever met. Even though the neighborhood sign said: “We’re All Family Here.”, was not true for them.
Driving past all the pretty houses filled her with hope and possibly they would have a better life one day. She lived with her son Cutter and her mom. She did not like people saying bad things about her mom. Even though Cutter could not swim very well and the people ignored them, she liked the pool.
Bryte grew up in Sycamore Glen, always longing for the boy taken by her best friend. Later she has it all, but behind her happiness is a big secret. She is desperate to keep her secret; however, before the book ends, it will come to the surface and stare her in the face, threatening to destroy her relationship and everything she tried desperately to protect.
Jencey grew up in Sycamore Glen and seemed to have it all. She left without an explanation. Years later she returns and causes many questions. Zell always helps out and lends support to others. She also has secrets. She has a sense of emptiness and would give anything to go back to the chaos of a young family.
Lane, a single dad needs to find a babysitter or he is going to lose his job. He had to stop depending on the neighbor lady, Zell. She was always like a fairy godmother. He loved watching sports and drinking beer. Debra was gone and he was holding things together. He was doing the best he could.
Heartfelt, each person has a lesson to be learned, a loss; and most of all a book about redemption; having the courage to start over, and dive back into the things which scare us the most. A fitting title and a perfect cover with the window panes.
Do you really know your neighbors? What lurks behind closed doors.
A tragedy occurs at the beginning of summer, and slowly more secrets rise to the surface. A boy and a girl are the ones to teach the others some important lessons. So, while what doesn’t kill you, can make you stronger, you can ease the suffering of going through it by learning to accept what is.
As a native of Charlotte, NC (Lake Norman/Davidson area), am very familiar with the Matthews, NC area, and the author does a stunning job of portraying the Southern lifestyle, especially in North Carolina.
From domestic suspense, relatable characters, a compelling read which draws you into a their world of pain, loss, fear, hope, and dreams. Exposing the facades, from a range of ages – from young- old, readers will be drawn into the personal lives of each character, glued to the pages.
My first book by the author, and was quite impressed with the author’s winning style. From the vivid settings to the characters most intimate thoughts. In addition to the digital advanced reading copy, happened to be traveling and also purchased the audiobook (ironically flying from Greensboro, NC back to Florida).
The narrator, Taylor Ann Krahn was a perfect Southern match for Whalen! I was so engrossed in this book, was hanging on her every word. A narrator can make or break a book, and Krahn’s voice was spellbinding. Hoping more Southern authors will feature her for an engaging performance.
Triumph over tragedy with many takeaways. For fans ofCatherine Ryan Hyde, Paula Treick DeBoard, Diane Chamberlain, and Barbara Claypole White.
Looking forward to more by this talented author!
“There were the things she wished were true, and there was what was actually true. She was learning that there was usually a great distance between the two.”