A few months ago I saw a new release by Amazon publishing and they were offering the Kindle ebook for free. It looked intriguing so I started reading. A few chapters in, I was totally hooked so I checked to see who wrote it.
Marybeth Mayhew Whalen.
I had heard that name before. I searched through my email contacts and her name popped up.
She was one of the first authors I interviewed when I started working for FamilyFiction.com 4 years ago. She wrote a few faith-based stories with a Christian publisher. This book, although clean, isn’t dubbed “Christian fiction.” Instead, it is a mass-market novel.
I emailed Marybeth to let her know I was reading her new release and I couldn’t put it down. This is one of the best parts of my job—interviewing and talking to the authors who write these amazing stories.
This novel fits perfectly into my preferred type of fiction. It’s a drama with a revolving point of view. I love stories where each character has their own storyline but each storyline is a thread of a giant story web. And it isn’t until the end that we truly see how each character is connected.
And there’s something for everyone in this novel. The single mother returning home after her husband is convicted of fraud. The stay-at-home mom with so many secrets. The retired older woman who makes it her mission to get involved. The single dad struggling after his wife left him to take care of their two kids. Throw in a stalker, a missing child and the near-drowning of a little boy—and you have the makings of a light suspense suburban drama.
We get to climb inside of the life of all of these characters who just happened to be neighbors. We watch as their stories unfold during the course of one summer.
I love a novel that is fast-paced and interesting. But I also love good character development. The kind that makes you believe these stories must be true, in some universe. The Things We Wish Were True was one of my favorite novels of the year and right now it’s listed on Amazon for $2!!
Here’s the back cover copy:
In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.
From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.
Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.
During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?