This was the choice for my online book club this month, blurb from goodreads.com Please scroll down for the reviews from the members. From the author of the critically acclaimed What Alice Forgot comes a breakout new novel about the secrets husbands and wives keep from each other.
My Darling Cecilia
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died . . .
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia – or each other – but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s devastating secret.
Grace J Smith
I loved this book. At the beginning, the story focuses on three different women and it takes some time before you realise how they are all connected. The husband in question wrote a letter on the birth of his first daughter about a wrongdoing years previously, and thought he had lost it. When he is on a business trip his wife accidentally finds the letter – addressed dramatically – for her to open in the event of his death. Fighting with her conscience she leaves it unopened but mentions it to him during a telephone call and it prompts him to travel home immediately, making her even more curious. What happens then leads her to opening this letter in the middle of the night – and wishing she had never clapped eyes on it, so overwhelming is the effect on them not only as a couple but as a family. The consequences are far reaching and could not have been foreseen. The bit of the book which really hit home was when the wife, Cecilia, can’t decide what to do with her new found knowledge and changes her mind along with her actions of getting washed and dressed – this was so true to life for me. Without giving anything away, I found the epilogue tied up all the ends, even the ones the reader didn’t realise were loose. A wonderful read which I would highly recommend to lovers of contemporary women’s fiction.
Took me ages to sort out all the characters, and the jumping around from different times and places was very confusing, but once I had it all in place I enjoyed reading this book. The ‘plot’ was good but predictable in places, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all. It was hard to decide which character was worth caring about at first, but then it all fell into place and choosing one person was impossible. They all had some endearing qualities, and they all made me want to shake them too! I felt really sorry for Rachel’s son who was so obviously in need of some TLC from his mum, and I really wanted to hug him and make him feel better John-Paul…..how on earth he was able to carry such a secret around without giving any clues I will never know! Maybe writing it all down helped him to kind of ‘put it in a box and forget it’ for all those years. However, once that particular Pandora’s box was opened it was never going to be closed again was it? I liked the way everything was ‘explained’ at the end, although I did feel it was a bit rushed, as if the author got a bit bored with her own work and was in a hurry to get on to the next book.
Altogether a really good story and I would read this author again.
Hooked very quickly, multitude of characters initially confusing but eased as storyline progressed. I love storylines like this that show the ripple effect of actions on not only the immediate people but also others on a wider scale. Very well written and got harder and harder to put down the closer I got to the end. I was surprised as to how much I’d read before the secret was revealed and how long it took the author to reveal the secret I was expecting it to be a quicker reveal, but the ripple effect was great to see unfold.
I felt the character emotions overall were very restrained, I’m sure if I found out my husband killed someone several years ago I’d have more things on my mind than delivering a Tupperware order to the mother of the girl he’d killed
Tess I felt was also a weak character on finding out her husband fancied her cousin just sent her fleeing to her mums with her son and going off and having a fling of her own really?? I expected better from that storyline and I’m 99% certain even though set in another country it would be more complicated to transfer a child from one school to another than written in this book
Though I can understand that Rachel would carry her daughters murder with her for the remainder of her life I find it hard to believe that thinking Connor responsible she’d be able to work alongside him at the same school I think she would snap much quicker in that situation and the karma of her running over the daughter of her daughters killer even by accident in hindsight seems statistically unrealistic and on finding out the truth of who killed her daughter really was surprisingly calm
As for her son and daughter in law taking her grandson to New York I am surprised she doesn’t jump at the chance to escape her awful memories and go with them as a live in babysitter.
I forgot to make notes on the epilogue what if section at the end but I remember it throwing up some good thoughts at the time
Overall a good book I would recommend surprising how much you can fault once picking apart to discuss as none of the above put me off book while reading it lol
I really enjoyed the book and read it quickly, which made a nice change from the couple I have slogged through recently! I was pre warned from reviews about lots of different characters being introduced at the beginning, so made a note of the names which helped me kept track. I enjoyed that we were getting told the different stories, including the back story and reading it from different perspectives.
However, much as I liked and cared about Tess, I didn’t really see how she fitted in with the “main” story. I thought she may have been involved in some way with what had happened 28 years ago. I know she ended up linking the characters in the present day and her interactions with them helped us learn more about them.
It all felt rushed in the end, I would have liked the book to go on longer and read more about they all dealt with the aftermath of the secret’s revelation, Polly’s accident and Will’s return and poor old Connor!
The epilogue was good and so heartbreaking, learning the real cause of Janie’s demise. And after reading and thinking about the dreadful consequences of living with dreadful secrets and guilt ( John Paul ) and the effect on those around you (Rachel, her poor neglected son…..) Tess goes and creates a massive one of her own!
Anyway, enough of my rambling! I’m glad the book was picked and glad I read it and would certainly read more of this author’s books x
Theresa ‘Terry’ Hetherington
Well!! It confused the life out of me at 1st. Jumping here & there then once people started linking in & hints were given I got so into it I read it in a week between jobs, during jobs, middle of sleepless nights!
Racheal, how she coped & my heart broke for her son Rob, not really considered was he in is grief? Apart from his wife but as a son & brother? I feel he was forgotten as it was too raw for their parents. I cant criticise as I cant imagine the pain & being torn in that way.
Tess & Will hmmmmm personally Id have slapped Felicity to Paris, but thats me! To find that out & hold it in? How? I couldnt. I love my family but that would kill me keeping that in. No wonder she vomited meeting Racheal! Painfully showing us as readers how many people have deep secrets!
I tiptoed into this 1 even though Id really wanted to read it but was shoulder deep by the time the letter was opened & confessed!
5/5 loved twists & characters.
Thanks for another great book ladies
Diane Bon’qui’qui Hirst
I had this book in my wish list so was really glad that it came up as “the book choice of the month”. Overall I found it a good read although I found it a little confusing to start with when the chapters changed to the different 3 main characters story. I think it was only confusing to me as I had to keep putting the book down so lost track a little when picking the book up again. Felt really sorry for Tess but did not understand why she would want to go away and leave her husband and cousin together “to get it out of their system”. I mean, it was the biggest betrayal; most women would want to swing the pair around by their hair. I think all three female characters were all a bit too contained when it came to their feelings, would have been nice to see at least one of them yell, scream and stamp her feet. I liked that Rachel came to terms with her son, daughter-in-law and grandson going away for a year. She had spent so many unhappy years but what I did not understand was here was a woman who had lost her daughter and had a consuming hatred for the person she thought was responsible, yet when she found out who really killed her daughter she was going to invite him for a cup of tea and a chat. In the Epilogue of this book is says that Janie missed a Doctor’s appointment which would have shown that she was suffering from “Marafan Syndrome” which was probably really responsible for her death. I think this would have been picked up on autopsy. I did enjoy this book and could not wait to get back to it to see what would happen next. I would read another book by this Author.
First, thank you to Early Posters for helping me remember!I’ll start by saying I was pleased to finish the book and glad of the brief Epilogue that helped me let it go……I found the book almost frighteningly mundane. These characters could have been my neighbours, my friends, my family, myself. It was almost as if I had walked into their lives at the Crisis Point and it was just so ‘ordinary’, others could not ‘see’ that Crisis. If I had been watching a TV programme, I would had been tempted to fast forward through some particularly tense bits simply BECAUSE it was just SO ordinary.
A well crafted novel with excellent characters and a mundane and (as such) gripping plot. Not a book I would pick but certainly one I enjoyed. This book triggered a reflection on my own life and those pivotal points that choices may have been different if I had just been able to peek into the internal world of A.N. Other.
My only regret was that somehow it took the ‘blood sacrifice’ to free some of the characters to move on. I didn’t like that the child somehow became the Sin Eater.
Thank you for another thought provoking choice.