It has been quite some time since I've sat down and read a book cover to cover in a day before heading to bed....as a mom of six, my sleep time is necessary & precious. Yet staying up until 1:30am is exactly what I did with The Things We Knew by Catherine West. Each page, and the end of each chapter, held such a heavy dose of "I can't wait to see what happens next!" that I thoroughly enjoyed settling in to finish it after my kids--and then my husband--went to bed.
So, what makes The Things We Knew such a wonderful read? It holds a great mystery from the past, one that the main character Lynette can't quite shake--does she hold the truth to her mom's death twelve years prior? Lynette was young when her mom died, and several of her older siblings blamed (or suspected) her father was involved. They have all moved away from home, but Lynette stayed and now takes care of her father. A father she doesn't believe had anything to do with her mother's death, but she was the only witness and simply can't remember.
Although Lynette is the baby of the family, she has taken on all the heavy responsibilities. From keeping tabs on her dad (who now appears to have Alzheimer's), to taking care of the large family home in Nantucket, and working two jobs because she doesn't want to lose the house, Lynette is in over her head. Her siblings don't return her phone calls, and she doesn't quite know what to do. But when the neighbor's son Nicholas moves back in next door, Lynette is reminded of her crush on him many years ago. She also begins to wonder again why Nicholas & her brother Gray's relationship as best friends ended so abruptly those many years ago, too.
Lynette has two outlets: she is a very gifted artist, and she trust God regardless of the tough circumstances. Through her paintings, she is making money on some of them (by using a pseudonym), and then trying to recall her mom's final moments in ones she is privately painting when dreams & memories come to her. But will she be able to handle the truth that begins to unfold when she puts the brush to the canvas, when Nicholas seems to know more than he is letting on about her mom's past, and the truths that continue to be revealed when her siblings finally return home to discuss the potential sale of the house?
In addition to being a great mystery novel, The Things We Knew also is fantastic in exploring the relationships between adult siblings. Physical distance, emotional distance, assumptions, past connections & present relationships create many unique dynamics--the more siblings there are (Lynette is the youngest of five), the more complex a great book becomes. The Things We Knew is an excellent read, and I can't recommend it enough.
*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.*