Title: Truths I Never Told You
Author: Kelly Rimmer
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Graydon House
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: April 14, 2020
From the bestselling author of The Things We Cannot Saycomes a poignant novel about the fault in memories and the lies that can bond a family together—or tear it apart.
With her father recently moved to a care facility for his worsening dementia, Beth Walsh volunteers to clear out the family home and is surprised to discover the door to her childhood playroom padlocked. She’s even more shocked at what’s behind it—a hoarder’s mess of her father’s paintings, mounds of discarded papers and miscellaneous junk in the otherwise fastidiously tidy house.
As she picks through the clutter, she finds a loose journal entry in what appears to be her late mother’s handwriting. Beth and her siblings grew up believing their mother died in a car accident when they were little more than toddlers, but this note suggests something much darker. Beth soon pieces together a disturbing portrait of a woman suffering from postpartum depression and a husband who bears little resemblance to the loving father Beth and her siblings know. With a newborn of her own and struggling with motherhood, Beth finds there may be more tying her and her mother together than she ever suspected.
Exploring the expectations society places on women of every generation, Kelly Rimmer explores the profound struggles two women unwittingly share across the decades set within an engrossing family mystery that may unravel everything they believed to be true.
Beth has been struggling since she had her son. She doesn’t know why she hasn’t adjusted to motherhood, but she’s uncomfortable with this new life. Her stress gets worse when her and her siblings have to move her father, who has dementia, into a nursing home. Beth volunteers to clean out his house, where she finds some secrets about her mother. Beth’s mother, Grace, married young against her parents’ wishes. She quickly has children, and she also has trouble adjusting to this new life. However, parts of Beth’s memory and Grace’s story don’t add up. Beth has to figure out what happened to her mother, while dealing with her own struggles.
This story had two perspectives: Beth in 1996 and Grace in 1957. They have similar experiences with depression after they have children, but they don’t know how to ask for help. When Grace asks for help, she’s told she needs to be stronger. Beth is scared to ask for help because her job as a psychologist could be compromised if she is diagnosed with depression. Though their stories take place forty years apart, they still have the same challenges.
There were feminist themes in this book. Some of the issues were abortion, contraception, and postpartum depression. Between the two storylines, there was some progression, though there still was a stigma attached to these things. Even today, the stigma is still there. Someone like Grace would get more help for her depression than she got in 1957, but I imagine that someone in Beth’s position would still have a problem with being diagnosed with depression as a psychologist. The world has improved for women since Grace’s time, but it isn’t perfect yet.
This was an emotional and moving historical novel.
Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer
Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide and USA TODAY bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, Me Without You, and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. Please visit her at www.Kelly.Rimmer.com
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