Thursday 18 August 2016

Book Review: The Things We Knew - by Catherine West

Review by Andrea Grigg

One thing I love about a Catherine West story is that she never disappoints and her latest contemporary Christian novel is no exception. Not only does ‘The Things We Knew’ have plenty of romance, it’s also full of mysteries and family secrets. I loved it!

The story begins in Nantucket, Massachusetts, with twenty-four-year-old Lynette Carlisle, childcare worker and closet artist, who is at her wits end. She suspects her father has Alzheimers, the family home is falling down around her, and there’s no money to fix it. None of her four siblings are taking any of her concerns seriously, and to complicate things, Nick Cooper, the boy next door, has arrived home, dredging up feelings Lynette never quite buried.

One by one, Lynette’s four siblings (David, Liz, Ryan and Gray) arrive home and that’s when the story amps up. Although written from only three points of view (Lynette, Nick, and Gray) a plethora of family dynamics and secrets are skilfully revealed as the siblings and Nick confront each other with their realistic and sometimes heartbreaking issues.

Overarching all of this is the mystery surrounding the death of their mother, Diana Carlisle, twelve years earlier. The police called it an accident, but no one seems to know exactly what happened or why. As Lynette attempts to unlock her memories, she is plagued by nightmares. Intriguingly, these come out in her paintings, which even she can’t interpret.

Strand by sticky strand, the mysterious knots unravel, and there’s more than one happy-ever-after to satisfy my romantic heart. I loved the conflict between the characters and the continually deepening complexities of both circumstance and relationships.

Interestingly, while ‘The Things We Knew’ sits comfortably in the Christian arena, a number of the characters are not believers, which I found refreshing something I’ve come to expect from Catherine West.

Did I mention I loved this story? ‘The Things We Knew’ gets five stars from me.

Thanks to Catherine West and Harper Collins Christian Publishing for a free e-book for review.

 Andrea Grigg lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and is a writer of two contemporary Christian romances, ‘A Simple Mistake’ and ‘Too Pretty’. She would love to connect with you via: 
Twitter: @andreagrigg


  1. Thanks for the reveiw, Andrea - sounds like a great book :)

    1. Thanks Jeanette - I'm sure you'd enjoy it :)

  2. There was one plot aspect of this I thought was a little contrived, but the writing and the characters were excellent. I'll make sure to look out for more books from Catherine West.

  3. I've read them all and my favourite is Yesterday's Tomorrow, set in The Vietnam war. Quite different! Love to know what you think of it one day :)


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