Title: Things Left Unsaid
Author: Courtney Walsh
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publishing Date: Oct 2018
Length: 349 pages
About the Book:
An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.
Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.
But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.
Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.
Things Left Unsaid was a highly emotional read with a cast of characters on the brink of break downs from carrying loads of guilt they feel helpless to let go of. What was interesting was that it wasn’t a blame game of pointing fingers at one-another, but instead it was a group of people pointing the finger at themselves and feeling they could never be forgiven. How they reacted to those feelings was different for each person, but the root of it all was the same.
It was interesting to look at this story and wonder what would have happened if everyone wasn’t called back to the town at the same time. As someone who avoids thinking of painful memories in the past as a coping mechanism, I resonate with people who act in a similar fashion. Trying to forget feels easier than having to work through whatever is painful. But what was thought-provoking was that each of the characters had a different view on the events that happened and internalized the guilt in ways that only managed to isolate them and prevent them from ever feeling whole again. As a reader it was much simpler to see that they weren’t as guilty as they’d led themselves to believe, yet aren’t we capable of doing the same thing to ourselves?
I thought this book had a wonderful cast of characters. How their lives were painted before and after Cassie’s death vividly captured the intensity of just how much trauma can eat away at both an individual and a community. This was an easy book to pick up but not so easy to put down. I know that this is one that will stay with me for a very long time.