Thank you, thank you to Justine Sha with Harlequin Books for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour! I so greatly appreciate the advance copy of Truths I Never Told You in exchange for my honest review. Just a fair heads up, grab your tissues now!
This was a, could not put down, cried throughout the entire read, heartbreaking, mystery, pulled at all of your emotional strings book. Wow. I didn’t know this book was what I needed until I read it. It is a very emotional, touching read and I so did not expect to be so moved by this one. Wow.
This story is told in 2 parts, in the 1950s and in the 1990s. We hear from the mother, Grace, and her sister Maryanne in the 1950s and in the 1990s we hear from Beth, Grace’s daughter. As Grace’s father lays dying from heart failure and dementia, she starts to uncover their family past might not be how her and her siblings quite remember it.
Beth is going through her own hard time and as she cleans out her father’s house, she stumbles across notes that might just save her life. Beth is struggling with postpartum depression and does not feel she can open up to anyone. With her father’s failing memory she gets a few bits and pieces of what is going on with her mother and her family figures it all out.
I cried so much. I put myself in the shoes of Beth. I put myself in the shoes of Grace. I put myself in the shoes of Maryanne. I was so happy that the ending came together so nicely…and then I bawled like a baby.
5 stars. This book was penned so beautifully. There was so much going on in the 1950s and I loved how Rimmer had 2 sisters, one following the status quo and one who went against it. This tale was penned with just enough forgiveness that made your heartbreak ok. I was so blown away by this book that I decided to go ahead and include a question and answer with Kelly Rimmer.
Q&A with Kelly Rimmer
Q: What inspired you to write Truths I Never Told You?
A: The idea behind the story started with a curiosity about post-partum depression. I heard the statistic that one in five women develop the condition after the birth of a child and I was so shocked by it. I thought to myself—given how common this is, why don’t we talk about it?
Q: Which character do you relate to the most in Truths I Never Told You?
A: Most of us feel like victims of our circumstances at some point during our lives, at least for brief periods of time. I’ve certainly felt that way before—but writing a character like Grace, who lived in time where she had very little choice over how her life unfolded, really put that feeling into perspective for me. I loved writing the character of Beth too. To me she is loyal, loving and brave—but also ultimately humble and willing to be vulnerable. Despite that, my favorite character in this book was Maryanne—she’s fierce and determined and so courageous in her pursuit of change and knowledge, and that extends to a willingness to learn harsh lessons from life itself. Although Maryanne makes some heartbreaking decisions along the way, she always remains true to her values. A groundbreaking feminist like Maryanne represents something of a bridge between Grace’s powerlessness and the easier access Beth has to a life she can control.
Q: What message do you hope readers take away from your story?
A: I hope that the story encourages people to talk more about how difficult early motherhood can be, and to be more aware of how new mothers in their lives might be feeling isolated or struggling.
Q: Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?
A: I’m a compulsive planner – I always know exactly where the story is going to go, before I actually start writing it. I’d never finish writing a book if I tried to wing it, and I’m so impressed by writer friends who can just fly by the seat of their pants!!
Q: Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?
A: Because I plan my books, I tend not to let my characters run away with the plot too much, but the way they engage with the action and make the plots unfold sometimes surprises me.
Q: Which one of the characters in this novel was the hardest to write and why?
A: It was very difficult to put myself into Grace’s shoes. Even writing a character with depression is challenging, but trying to immerse myself in the world of a woman who was so isolated with her struggle and so unsupported by her broader community was heartbreaking. I interviewed more than a dozen women as I was researching for Grace and Beth’s stories, and I have so much admiration for them and for all women who walk a journey with postpartum depression.
Q: Which character in any of your books (Truths I Never Told You or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?
A: In my last historical fiction novel, The Things We Cannot Say, I wrote a character named Eddie, who is a seven year old boy with autism spectrum disorder. I wanted to write about a child with ASD who is both loved and loving, and who is defined by his strengths as much as his challenges. Eddie will always be a very dear character to me, and I’ve been so honored by the way readers around the world have responded to him too.
Q: What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?
A: I knew I wanted to be an author from a very early age. My dad remembers me telling him in Kindergarten that I was going to write books “when I grew up”!
Q: What does a day in the life of Kelly Rimmer look like?
A: Every day is different, especially at the moment when I’m self isolating at home and trying to school my children too!! I always try to fit in some time outside either tending to the garden or walking the trails on our property, but beyond that, it’s generally an unpredictable mix of reading, writing, teaching and cooking or cleaning.
Q: What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?
A: I try to have two manuscripts on the go at any one time. If I get really stuck, I just switch books. I also skip scenes if they aren’t coming easily. For me, finishing a draft is all about momentum – so if I hit a point in the story where I can’t quite keep the words flowing, I’ll just write around it and come back to it later.
Q: What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?
A: I still really love the way it feels to picture a story, and the challenge of trying to translate the ideas in my mind into words on the page will always thrill me. It’s taken a while for me to learn how to balance that creative side with the more pragmatic aspects to publishing. As a writer at home tapping away at your keyboard, you’re master of the story and it’s an intoxicating power – but as an author working with a whole team of people at your publisher, you have to learn how to be flexible. I’ve slowly learned that for my books to be as good as they can be, I don’t just need to endure editorial feedback, I need to learn to relish it. When I’m immersed in the story, I just can’t see the big picture the way my editors can. The author’s name goes on the spine, but the best books are the result of the work of a whole team of people at the publishing house too.
Q: What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?
A: No word you write is ever wasted, even if it doesn’t end up in a book. Most writers I know have thrown out entire manuscripts at different points during their career. You have to learn how to okay with the idea that sometimes you’re writing just to refine your voice or to figure out what does and doesn’t work for you. You have to love storytelling enough to be willing to do it even if the manuscript is never destined to become a book.
Q: What was the last book you read?
A:I’m currently reading (and loving) an advance copy of The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson, which will be published in late April.
Title: Truths I Never Told You
Author: Kelly Rimmer
Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women, Contemporary, Family Drama
Publisher: Graydon House
Release Date: April 14, 2020
Find it here on Goodreads