Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Things We Knew by Catherine West

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. 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.

Let’s try something new, “he said”.  Let’s pick an author that writes like nothing you would normally read, “he said”.  You’ll enjoy it, “he said”.  It’ll stretch your reading limits, “he said”.  Boy, I’m glad ““he said”” all those things because this was one good book!

We’ve all been there.  A house full of kids and two doting parents.  Fast forward to the present and those kids are out on their own with no time to come back to the nest.  Life moves fast and sometimes families move further apart.  Lynette is the youngest of 5 children and the only one to remain at home.  With the death of her mother twelve years ago and everyone else out of the house, the care of the family homestead and her father has fallen on her.  As her father sinks deeper into the grips of Alzheimer’s, Lynette is pushed to the brink of frustration as the repairs and upkeep on the family home become more than she can handle.  She calls for all of the siblings to reconvene to discuss their next steps as there has to be a solution.  Nicholas Cooper, the neighbor with a history with Lynette, is home and all of those past feelings bubble up to the surface again.  This time, though, he may be bringing more than she can handle.  Can the kids agree on a medical plan for their father?  Will Lynette get help in dealing with their home?  What is all the secrecy around her mother’s death and what does Nick know about it?  Before things get too much for you to remember, head on down and BUY THIS BOOK!!

I’m not sure that I would have selected this book without the father in the book.  My mother was diagnosed 4 years ago with Alzheimer’s and it has been a daily struggle for her with this disease.  Though his character isn’t a major player, the inner workings of the family due to his illness are.  The upheaval of the everyday life for Lynette is written expertly. I found myself near tears in several points as I recognized events my mother would go through and thought how the author had captured it perfectly.  The story is so much more than that, though, so don’t get me wrong.  The author has taken 5 very different people and brought them back to manage life, together.  I “watched” all of this unfold in the pages of this book and was mesmerized by how graceful the author orchestrated the differences into a complete family. 

Is this a "guy's book"?  I won’t lie and say that it is.  It is a thought-provoking, heart-breaking look at a typical family when all the children have grown.  There’s a touch of suspense and intrigue built around the death of the mother that may hold your attention, but don’t miss out on this book for any reason.

Get to Know Catherine West
What’s your go-to activity to get out of writer’s block?
I like to do something active like walking or swimming, working in the garden. This gets me moving but also allows me to think and mull over new ideas.
When you were in kindergarten, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I always wanted to be a writer. I also enjoyed painting, but reading and writing were my thing from a very young age.
Favorite ice cream flavor:
Haagan Daz Macadamia Nut Brittle
If you had an extra room in your house, what would you use it for?
I would love to have the time to take up painting again, so I’d make an art studio.
What is the farthest place from home you’ve ever been?
South Africa
What book are you currently reading?
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
If you were a given a gift card to any restaurant, where would you want to eat?
An intimate, quiet place by the sea with great Italian food!
What was the best birthday present you ever received?
Ah, this one’s easy! I celebrated my 50 last year, and my husband surprised me by bringing my sister and her husband, as well as my son and his girlfriend, who all live in the US, down to Bermuda, and threw me a big party, too!
When do your best ideas come to you? Early morning or late at night?
Any time really. Usually when I’m doing dishes or something other than writing.
What task do you dread doing each day (or week)?
Grocery shopping! Hands down.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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