(Review) The Things We Knew by Catherine West
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Fiction, family secrets
Source: Free copy from Thomas Nelson in exchange for a review
Rating: 4 stars for very good
Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border collie for long walks on the beach or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Visit her online www.catherinejwest.com
Lynette Carlisle still lives in the family home with her aging father. They live in Nantucket. Her older siblings have moved away from the island. Lynette is left to care for their father who is not in good health. The upkeep of the family home is expensive, and she is left to deal with how to pay for its cost. Their mother's death is a mystery.
Nick Cooper grew up in Nantucket. He has recently returned to work for his father. Nick and Lynette have a connection going back to when they were kids. Nick remembers the events of her mother's death and is hiding them from Lynette. One by one all of Lynette's siblings return to the family home, each with their own current problems to deal with; however, the past must also be reconciled.
I was drawn to the story because I also took care of my father. We shared the same home for over 11 years. So, any caregiver story attracts me. Further, Lynette is the youngest child in her family of five siblings. I am the youngest child in my family of five siblings.
It is common, I'm told, for one sibling to become the caregiver or responsible party for aging parents. I have found this to be true in many families, it is a rare exception when all of the siblings take turns caring for parents. There are various reasons for this, but the most common reasons are distance from the parents, career and family duties, and problems with childhood memories. All of these reasons are portrayed in The Things We Knew. It is also common for the caregiver to feel isolated, anxious, and overwhelmed. They can also feel they are being left to carry the load without help from other family members. I feel, The Things We Knew, is excellent in representing a caregiver, both in the feelings a caregiver has and the dynamics of a family.
Lynette is a young woman, she carries hopes and dreams for the future; however, she has taken on the responsibility as caregiver to her father and managing the home. Through the story I see her maturity, she still has girlish attributes, but the result of her duties have matured her mind and spirit.
Nick is a young man who is also an evolving character. He left the island but has returned. He has returned a different person; through the story he matures, and learns to defy the things he's been taught.
Lynette's brother Gray has a strong story-line. I believe his nemesis is the pulling point.
The Things We Knew has multiple characters who each have their own story inside the main story.
They are characters who show me where they were in the past, how they deal with present problems, and how they plan to move forward to the future.
The ending of the story, or the mystery concerning the past is predictable. I did not feel this part of the story is a strong point. It's easy to weed out the possibilities of what happened. This is an element that led me to give The Things We Knew 4 stars instead of 5 stars.