Thank you again so much to the team at Harlequin Trade Publishing for having me on the 2020 Spring Reads Blog Tour! I had such an amazing time reading these novels and getting the opportunity to share my thoughts.
After finding disturbing journal pages that suggest her late mother didn’t die in a car accident as her father had always maintained, Beth Walsh begins a search for answers to the question — what really happened to their mother? With the power and relevance of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Jewell, Rimmer pens a provocative novel told by two women a generation apart, the struggles they unwittingly shared, and a family mystery that may unravel everything they believed to be true.
With her father recently moved to a care facility because of worsening signs of dementia, Beth Walsh volunteers to clear out the family home to prepare it for sale. Why shouldn’t she be the one, after all? Her three siblings are all busy with their families and successful careers, and Beth is on maternity leave after giving birth to Noah, their miracle baby. It took her and her husband Hunter years to get pregnant, but now that they have Noah, Beth can only feel panic. And leaving Noah with her in-laws while she pokes about in their father’s house gives her a perfect excuse not to have to deal with motherhood.
Beth is surprised to discover the door to their old attic playroom padlocked, and even more shocked to see what’s behind it – a hoarder’s mess of her father’s paintings, mounds of discarded papers, and miscellaneous junk. Her father was the most fastidious, everything-in-its-place man, and this chaos makes no sense. As she picks through the clutter, she finds a handwritten note attached to one of the paintings, in what appears to be in her late mother’s handwriting. Beth and her siblings grew up believing Grace Walsh died in a car accident when they were little more than toddlers, but this note suggests something much darker may be true. A frantic search uncovers more notes, seemingly a series of loose journal entries that paint a very disturbing portrait of a woman in profound distress, and of a husband that bears very little resemblance to the father Beth and her siblings know.
A fast-paced, harrowing look at the fault in memories and the lies that can bond families together – or tear them apart.
Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide and USA TODAY bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, Me Without You, and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. Please visit her at www.Kelly.Rimmer.com
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing, Netgalley, and Graydon House for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
This was such a hard book to read with the mental illness component involved. I may not be a mother, and I may not have a firsthand account of what postpartum depression does to a woman, but seeing it in this novel was hard to take in. I think about my friends that have probably gone through this without telling anyone, and I think about how there’s this huge stigma that new mothers should be so happy with what’s happening with them that there shouldn’t be any reason for them to suffer from any sort of depression – postpartum or otherwise. How wrong that thinking is.
Rimmer really gave me a novel to think about. I love historical fiction novels that also have alternating time periods sprinkled throughout it. It’s interesting how authors are able to blend in the past and the present together in a way that makes the story easy to follow and give you two different characters to root for in some aspect. I feel like Rimmer did a great job with this.
Not only do we have the story of Grace and the postpartum depression that she suffered, but we also have Beth dealing with her father’s dementia in the present time (or at least closer to the present than Grace’s storyline), so there are at least two different mental illnesses that the readers are dealing with through different characters. I feel like the representation was okay, although like I mentioned I can’t really judge enough to tell whether it’s accurate or not. I would hope that someone that either has personal experience with either of these illnesses, or knows someone that does can weigh in on this.
While I don’t know if I would read this book again – difficult plots like these rarely get a reread for me regardless of how well I like it – I think that there will be certain people that will enjoy it. I look forward to reading other novels from Rimmer and seeing what else she may have in store.