Truths I Never Told You is the second book by Kelly Rimmer I have read this year. The first was The Things We Cannot Say. This second novel was a little bit of a letdown since I enjoyed the first one so much.
Truths I Never Told You is about the close-knit Walsh family. Beth Walsh Evans and her three siblings were raised by their single father, Patrick, after their mother, Grace, died in a car accident. The children, a son, a set of boy and girl twins, and then Beth, were all born within four years of each other. As adults, they have remained close and have weekly family dinners at Patrick’s house.
When Patrick suffers from a heart condition and dementia, he is moved from the family home to a care facility. Beth, who is suffering from postpartum depression that she has refused to acknowledge, agrees to be the primary sibling to clean out Patrick’s home. She is surprised when she discovers the door to the large attic has been locked. Once it is opened, she finds that her meticulous father has left a disaster area of trash and discarded paintings. Among the rubble, Beth finds notes that were left by her late mother. The dates on the notes correspond to the dates on the mysterious pictures Patrick has painted. From the notes, it is clear that her mother also suffered postpartum depression. The writings further reveal a father who was a very different man than the ones the children know.
The most confusing attic find is the discovery of Grace’s death certificate which is dated in 1958, two years earlier than Beth and siblings believed she had died. Beth would have only been around 18 months old and the oldest child four years old. Who was the woman they remember caring for them and taking them to their first days of school if their mother was dead? When Beth tries to ask Patrick questions, he calls her Mary Ann and tries to apologize.
In addition to postpartum depression, the novel discusses women’s roles as homemakers and mothers, along with other struggles unique to females. It also looks at what makes a family, what is in the best interest of children, and whether a man can be a single parent.
The first part of the novel seemed very slow to me. The last half was more interesting. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. I would not recommend this to my book club. I listened to the Audible version which runs 11 hours and 42 minutes.