The Things We Knew, by Catherine West (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
Lynette Carlisle can’t remember what happened the day her mother died, but she was there. Now, in her dreams, it feels like her mother wants to tell her something. Or is it her own mind trying to communicate with her?
Lynette divides her time between her daycare job and caring for her father, who exhibits signs of dementia. The family home on Nantucket Island is falling down around her. Her older brothers and sister have left the area and are too wrapped up in their own lives to realize how much help she needs.
It takes a crisis to force her family to come home. Nick Cooper, who grew up with them, has also come home. Also not by choice. Being together again brings past hurts to light and reveals present turmoil each one is trying to hide. This family may have drifted apart, but they’re ashamed to let their siblings see their hurts.
Beautifully crafted and satisfying, The Things We Knew is a novel about family secrets and ties, about extending grace and finding hope. For Lynette and Nick, it’s even a chance at love.
Rich in setting and in relational dynamics, this is a novel worth enjoying. From the first page, I found it one of those rare books whose characters and setting welcomed me into their midst and invited me to stay.
The magic he’d felt when he’d first arrived tonight had only been a lost memory trying to find its way home. There was no magic here anymore. Only desolation. [Page 84]
If they were ever going to be free from the past, they needed to exhume it. [Page 274]
Catherine West writes stories of real life, healing, and hope. Her other novels are Bridge of Faith, Hidden in the Heart, and Yesterday’s Tomorrow. For more about the author and her work, visit www.catherinejwest.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]