Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tense Family Drama Convinces Me Riggle's A Writer to Watch

(Image from Indiebound)

Considering the mistakes she's made in the past, Edna Leigh Casey can hardly believe she's landed someone as stable as Michael Turner. Despite the ten year difference in their ages, 26-year-old Casey feels understood and valued by Michael, so much so that she's agreed to marry him. In the meantime, they're living together in the quaint Heritage Hills area of Grand Rapids, Michigan, playing house with Michael's three children. Although the kids react to Casey's presence with varying degrees of disdain, she's determined to make the situation work. Even when she wants to scream, she keeps her lips tightly sealed. After all, Michael appreciates Casey so much because she's the opposite of his hysterical ex-wife, Mallory. But all the tongue-biting is starting to wear on Casey and she wonders if it's time to come clean to her very exacting fiancee - about her dubious past, about her doubts concerning stepmotherhood, about his moody silences, even about her real name.

On the day Casey decides to leave Michael, breaking their engagement in order to keep her secrets buried, Michael's 14-year-old son disappears. Dylan's always been a quiet, responsible kid, not the type to skip school or take off without telling anyone where he's going. Lately, Casey had even been getting him to open up a little. Knowing she can't abandon the Turners at such a terrible time, Casey stays, determined to help bring Dylan back home. Mallory also insists on "helping," which involves moving her drama queen derriere in for the duration. Her presence stirs up the kids, pushes Casey and Michael even farther apart, and generally makes Casey want to scream. When Casey reaches her breaking point, she has to make a crucial decision - she either has to find her voice or stick to her original plan and leave. Either way, she could lose Michael and the kids. Forever.

Things We Didn't Say by Kristina Riggle is one of those tense family dramas that keeps me riveted while making me feel totally depressed at the same time. There are lots of things I like about it - the portrayal of a patient, loving father with full custody of his kids, for one - but the overall tone of the book left me a little blue. I don't even know why, really. Overall, the story kept my attention, the characters grabbed my sympathy, and the skilled writing helped me feel like I was right in the middle of the action. The novel didn't knock my socks off, but it did convince me that Riggle's a writer to watch. And you know I'll be watching.

(Readalikes: The writing style reminds me a little of Jodi Picoult's.)

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: R for strong language and a small amount of sexual content

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Things We Didn't Say from the generous folks at Harper Collins and TLC Book Tours, for whom this review was written.

4 comments:

  1. I think I might like this author if she reminds you of Picoult. I'll keep an eye on her. This does sound like a good read. Thanks for your honest review.

    ReplyDelete
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  3. This sounds like a great read. I have been looking for some non-paranormal fiction to read. I have never read this author before but sounds like I might like the writing!

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  4. I'm glad you'll be looking for more by this author even though this one didn't knock your socks off.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

    ReplyDelete

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