Author: Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: October 1, 2020

Book Description: Out of love. Out of protection. Out of fear. Everyone has a reason to lie.

Everyone in Raleigh, North Carolina, is talking about Norah Ramsey, the single mother accused of being a suburban madam. But Norah’s not the only one keeping secrets.

After her mother’s arrest, Norah’s teenage daughter, Violet, is devastated and alone. She has no one to turn to until her grandmother Polly arrives. Polly, long estranged from Norah, is running from her own troubles. Down the street, Bess, once Norah’s best friend, desperately tries to hide secrets while Casey, Bess’s daughter, flees college after a traumatic event, only to find that home isn’t the safe haven she expected. And Nico, the detective who has doggedly pursued Norah Ramsey in hopes that she will lead him to his missing brother, is drawn further into these women’s lives while facing his own domestic disturbance.

Scandal has brought each of them to a crossroads. Now, as they delve into Norah’s secrets, they must come to terms with secrets of their own—ones that still have the power to hurt or to heal.

Rating: 2 Stars

Review: This is my second book that I have read from Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, and alas this will be my last. This book was a bunch of hodge-podge story lines that mismatch at many times, that try to come together in the end, and it just did not work.

The book opens when Norah is arrested, which leaves her daughter Violet without a caregiver. This brings us to the meat of the story, where we are introduced to Bess and Casey, Violet’s neighbors which they have been estranged from and Polly, the grandmother she has not seen since she was a little girl.

I found this book at times extremely confusing. In the beginning there were so many characters and points of view, I had no idea who anyone was and what was going on. Nothing about this book was really relevant to Norah, she was just a literary device, at least until the end of this story.

This book tried to emulate books like Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson, where a secret occurs in a neighborhood and that moves the story along. The difference is there were multiple secrets and unfortunately, I did not care about any one of them. The author tried to tie everything together in the end, but by that time that happened I just did not care.

Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Posted by:Lauren A.

You really can say I am an obsessed reader as I read 200-300 books per year. I love Literary Fiction, Memoirs (I don't really care what kind), Mysteries and Thrillers. Once in awhile I will thrown in some YA and Romance. When I am not reading, I am a Sales Engineer for a software company, and I take care of my three cats with my husband. I love music, which my college degree is in. Looking forward to share my thoughts on all things reading.

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