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Review: The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

2 Stars

Small town living where everyone knows everyone, but everyone has devastating secrets they are keeping.  It’s a soap opera complete with the vapid names.  Bryte, Lance, Zell, Jencey.  And the characters are just as vapid as their names.  Even with an okay plot, there is absolutely no one to root for except for one character who happens to be a child.   Everyone else inspires feelings from disgust to disbelief.

Jencey has come skulking back home after her husband turns out to be a rat.  She and her two daughters have moved back in with her parents.  She’s trying to escape not only her husband and his problems, but also the ghosts of her past that made her run away from her idyllic home town.  Bryte and Lance are now married.  Bryte was one of Jencey’s closest friends.  Lance was the first love of both women.  Bryte has a secret and one that could destroy her life and the marriage that she worked so hard to secure.

Zell is the nosy next door neighbor who has a finger on the pulse of the town.  She’s suffering from empty next syndrome and takes it upon herself to become somewhat of a surrogate mother to the two neighbor children after their mother ran away from her family and responsibilities.  She has a secret too, one that has been eating away at her.  After a devastating accident at the local pool, Zell takes in Cailey so that her working mother can take care of her little brother, Cutter.  She steps in and becomes the mother that Cailey always wished she had?

The town has another secret and one that is darker and more dangerous than anyone could have imagined.  This was the only piece of the story that felt real and I really wish more time was spent building up this portion of the story-line and less on the annoying soap opera drama.

I think one of the other absolutely annoying aspects of this book was the way that everyone seemed to look down on the ONE working mother in this book.  None of the other women work and they seem to think that Cailey’s mother is somehow beneath them because she works to keep her family together.  She barely has a voice in this book and the one that she does have makes her seem like she’s neglectful and selfish.Even the working dads were treated like crap.

Without the soap opera-like drama, this could have been a really good book.  As it is, it’s not much more than a quick beach read or something to read when you’re on a plane or cooped up in a car on a road-trip.  I really couldn’t get past the names, they really turned me off almost from the very beginning.

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Filed under General Fiction