The Things We Wish Were True (Marybeth Mayhew Whalen)

29632984.jpgFrom the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house. Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel. During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

The Things We Wish Were True was a pleasant and intriguing book, a fairly short novel about the lives of different people in a small southern town. And again, I found myself reading about a swimming pool and something happening there, which is my fourth book about a similar topic this summer. I promise I didn’t know.

The book has multiple points of view: Zell, Jencey, Lance, Bryte, Everett and Cailey. All of them were written from a third person perspective except for Cailey, a young girl whose personal thoughts are portrayed in a first person narrative. After an incident at the community pool, these people are brought together and  help each other in several ways. Zell is an older woman who’s always willing to help anyone. But is she hiding something? Jencey has just come back to town after a marriage gone wrong. She reconnects with her former best friend, Bryte, who’s now married to her ex-boyfriend Everett. Bryte doesn’t want more kids, but how will she tell Everett? And Lance is Zell’s next-door neighbor, who’s struggling after his wife left him and their children without a proper explanation.

I’m sure that after reading this, you’ll be reminded of Liane Moriarty’s novels. And yes, that’s exactly what I thought when I started reading this book. Styles are similar, although this one is more dramatic and slow-paced. There are secrets waiting to be revealed, although none of them was particularly surprising, as the story was pretty predictable for the most part.

The book was easy to read and well-written, but, unfortunately, it didn’t manage to impress me. Was it good? Yes.. Did I love it? Nope. I liked it and I had a fun time spying on these characters’ lives but by the time I got to the last page, I knew something was missing. I hadn’t connected with them or the story and that made me sad.

Keep in mind this doesn’t mean you won’t love this book, though. The Things We Wish Were True is an entertaining book, the perfect beach read for those who love to immerse themselves in other families’ troubles and relationships. I’ll check out the author’s next books and hopefully will love them.

Lake Union Publishing, 2016

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I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


12 thoughts on “The Things We Wish Were True (Marybeth Mayhew Whalen)

  1. I loooooove spying on people’s lives 😀 I’m way too nosy but I can’t help it. Those books make it feel like we’re hiding near a window and trying to figure out what’s happening in our neighbors’ lives.


    1. These kind of closed-knit communities are the best. I’m also super nosy XD When I hear my neighbors yelling I always try to listen haha


  2. Don’t you hate it when you just don’t connect to the characters? I hate that, and sometimes I wonder if maybe the shared POV of too many characters takes away from the intimacy of first person POV. Like, I’m reading a book now, and there’s like 5 or 6 separate characters, all told from third person…and I’m not sure who to connect to, you know?
    I hope the next one is better!


    1. I usually like multiple POV, I guess this time it didn’t work as well. The book is goo though, just nothing remarkable imo. Me too!


  3. Great, my kind of neighborhood. I just love these kind of places especially with the secrets. I haven’t read any books by Liane but I think I should. I also haven’t read any mysteries surrounding a pool.This sounds pretty good. I am glad that you liked it!


      1. They are short stories, but they all link. I think Cul de Sac does it a bit better. It’s literally a cul de sac (there’s a map in the beginning) and the stories will cover different houses to create a larger picture. ZoBell’s book covers a larger area: the homes affected by an actual plane that blew up and then fell from the sky over a suburb of San Diego in 1978.

        Liked by 1 person

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