The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty
Publishing Date: 23rd February 2017
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 198
Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)
Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.
Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.
But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.
Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.
But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.
Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.
And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?
I love stories about friends, about women that have something in common, whose stories intertwine, so already it was a great starting point for me when I spotted “The Fifth Letter” by Nicola Moriarty. The synopsis sounded also really intriguing, what with the fifth letter being found, so with the friendship and the little mystery promised to be weaved into the pages, full of hope and enthusiasm I started to read this novel.
There were four friends and Joni was the main character, the story was told from her point of view. I often had problems, even deep into the story, to separate Deb, Eden and Trina from each other – their stories just mixed with each other. They were also not too convincing in the things they did and said and the way they were around each other just didn’t ring true for me. However, it was great to see that they were all so different and each of them had their ups and downs, different expectations and led different lives.
The writing style was engaging though there were too many flat moments for my liking and sometimes it dragged a little too much. The mystery, well, it was there but I can’t say that it kept me on my tenterhooks, that I couldn’t wait to see who’s written this letter and why. Sure, I was trying to guess and with every new hint I changed my mind and in the end it turned out that I didn’t guess at all, so it was a nice surprise, but it was not a life – changing letter and so there was almost none tension for me. The secrets in the letters were, well, some of them were really disturbing but also not such that kept my breath away. I just expected something different, a bit more from this book. I was waiting for a big bang probably, for the secrets to turn out dirty, filthy and dangerous and I just had a feeling that the book isn’t sure if it wants to be a women’s literature, domestic drama, mystery or psychological thriller – and it could be any of them, guys, as the author touches upon a very wide range of issues in this story, as already mentioned before. There was a surprise revealed every few chapters and I just kept going with the story. The end is very neatly wrapped up, it makes sense though guys, let’s talk a little about the fifth letter. After such an introduction and the whole drama you would expect it to be incredible, to be something very special. While in fact it was, well, I think the weakest part of the book. It just didn’t sit with me, the motivation of the writer was somehow childish and just, after so many years, unbelievable. For me, at least.
So for me the book lacked in something and it annoys me to say that I don’t know exactly what it was. It was a nice enough read but not the one that wow – ed me, that I could say oh wow, it is so special. It had its moments but mostly I had a feeling that the friendship between the girls was too forced and imposed on them. The letters were interesting, that’s true, but the outcome was not as life – changing as you could expect from the premise. There were some surprises on the way, and each character had her own story but I missed the depth to them, they just seemed to me as if they really didn’t care about each other. So yes, the story had tons of potential and it just made me feel so sad that it didn’t work the way I hoped for. However, I am sure that with every new book Nicola Moriarty will get better and better and personally I can’t wait for her next novel! All in all, I enjoyed this story, really. If you’re a fan of a light mystery with lies and secrets and messing about this is for sure a book for you. “The Fifth Letter” is a story exploring friendship, loyalties, family dynamics and probably teaching us that sometimes it’s better to let the skeletons stay in the closet as it showed that sharing secrets doesn’t often do good. It is a book with an edge to it and with some more serious undertones but altogether it is an easy, relatively light – hearted novel.