BOOK CLUB: Truths I Never Told You

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[Total: 5 Average: 4.8]

By Kelly Rimmer
Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia

The Year is 1996 and Beth is struggling.  Everything in her life seems to be so difficult.  Her father has been diagnosed with dementia and she, along with her 3 siblings, are watching him slowly slip away from them.  At the same time Beth is trying her best to cope with a new baby who just seems to want to cry constantly and her own fears that she is failing as a mother.  As her fathers health declines the decision is made that he can no longer live on his own and he must move into a care home. 

This leaves the worry of what to do with the family home that they have all grown up in since their Mother was killed in a car accident when they were small children.  Do they keep the home and rent it out or do they sell it?  Either way, they must make sure they have the funds to cover the costs of the care home and the house must be packed up and cleaned out.  Beth extends her parental leave from work and arranges with her Mother-in-law to care for her son Noah while she gets started on packing up the house.

She discovers that oddly the door to the attic has had a lock placed on it and hunt as she might a key can not be found.  Beth enlists the help of her sister Ruth who sends a couple of workers over to remove the door.  Once they have access to the Attic they are in shock to see that the room is full of rubbish, painting canvases, dirty dishes, etc.  Its a mess and they are stunned to think their Dad had been hoarding rubbish in there, and they had no idea how long he’d been doing it. 

As Beth tackles clearing out the attic she stumbles upon handwritten notes on yellow paper.  These notes she works out were written by her Mother and they show that she had struggled with a deep depression. Beth uncovers more notes and fears that perhaps the story of the car accident was not 100% true.  The notes start to indicate that perhaps her mother had taken steps to end her own life. 

Beth’s memories of her mother are of a loving, warm, and caring woman. The man that her mother talks about in the letters doesn’t sound like the dad they love, who battled on his own to be the rock the four children needed.  As more and more notes are discovered more and more of the story unfolds, but still there are unanswered questions.

Author, Kelly Rimmer will grab you by the heart and make you feel each persons side.  She has a way of making you understand and care for each and every person without blame or judgement.  You get it, you feel for them, and you really do see that there are always two sides to every story.  This is a story that feels like it was written with a lot of love and care. 

Postnatal depression is something we all should be more aware of, and we all need to learn not to shun those battling with mental illness.  It’s real and it’s a place that any of us could slide into.  We need to be more open in discussing these issues.

An awesome read that will have you wanting more and more of Kelly Rimmer and her wonderful way of writing.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer. You can read their reviews in the comments below, or add your own!

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Truths I Never Told You

  1. Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer is a wonderful book that I devoured in a day. It is told in 2 different time-lines with Grace in the 50s & 60s and her daughter Beth in 1996 both suffering post-partum depression
    Grace struggled in silence with no support from her husband Patrick until her 5th pregnancy in as many years forced her to take drastic measures.
    Beth is also struggling in secret as she fears that her career as a Psychologist could be over if she seeks treatment. While cleaning out the family home after her father goes into a care home with dementia she discovers letters and certificates that suggest that her mother didn’t die in a car accident as she had been told.
    What follows is heart wrenching with lots of twists and turns.
    I highly recommend this book and thank Beauty and Lace and Hachette Australia for my copy for review.

  2. This is the first time I have read Kelly Rimmer and what a fabulous read it was!

    The novel begins in 1959 with married couple Grace and Patrick who have four young children Tim, Ruth Jeremy and Beth. Times are hard and Grace struggles with family life and all the responsibilities of running a house and looking after her children. Grace starts writing about how she feels emotionally and the struggles she is going through and hides them away in the attic.

    Come 1996 and Patrick is suffering from cognitive impairment due to complications from illness, the four children are unable to care for him and put him into care. Beth begins the process of cleaning her parents’ home, whilst in the attic she finds her mother’s letters and secrets unravel from both her father and mother. The children believed their mother died in a car accident when they were young but through her mother’s letters Beth discovers this may not be the truth. Beth learns of her mother’s struggles with postpartum depression and the lack of support from her father and in her own life she feels the same way.

    This novel will take you on a journey of how mental illness has changed over the years and how the stigma and views of mental illness still needs to change. It is an emotional read and you will feel the pain of each character portrayed.

    I highly recommend this novel.

    Thank you Beauty & Lace and Hachette Books Australia for read and review

  3. Thankyou to Beautyandlace Hatchett and Kelly Rimmer for the opportunity to read and review Kelly’s latest book Truths I Never Told You.
    I think any woman that has a new baby can identify with the new mothers in this book when they speak about the tiredness that comes with motherhood, but there is so much more that thankfully most of us don’t have to suffer, and in earlier days there was no help or understanding.
    In the mid 1950 s Grace is confronted with the possibility of being pregnant for the third time, having already had Tim and then twins Ruth and Jeremy to her husband Patrick the young mothers life was already extremely hard. Her husband Patrick unable to handle the responsibility of the young family was absent both physically and emotionally with the care and wellbeing of the children,the crumbling home and mounting bills to Grace. After her third pregnancy when baby Beth was born and there was no help offered by her doctor, her parents or her husband Grace’s mental health spiralled out of control.
    Now in 1996 with all the children grown with successful lives they face the horrible realisation that their beloved father Patrick is not only suffering from the results of a failing heart but also the onset of dementia. Facing the inevitable the family reluctantly move their Dad into a nursing home and start to clean the family home for resale. All the adult children are successful and busy but Beth having just had baby Noah is on leave and is the only one to have the time to take on the chore of the cleanup but Beth has problems of her own.Many secrets are to be found and the family will never be the same.
    This heartbreaking story is definitely one to read. A little confronting at times as the reader will understand that what some let us see on the outside is not what is going on on the inside.
    Absolutely a 10/10 and another great book from Kelly Rimmer.

  4. Truths I never told you by Kelly Rimmer is a real tear jerker.
    It is written from two time zones- 1959 where Grace, the mother of four children under four is struggling with depression. Each time she gives birth to a child it gets worse. She is isolated and writes notes about how she is feeling, hiding them in the house so her husband can not find them.

    Also-1996 with Beth, the youngest of Grace’s children is also going through her own struggles with depression after the birth of her first child. Their father is sick with dementia and so Beth goes to the house to clean it out. Upon doing so she discovers the notes that her mother, Grace, had written which leads to more questions about her childhood and what happened to her mother as their father told them she died in a car accident.

    Many secrets unravelled as this story takes place and I loved the way it was written. I kept wanting to turn the pages to get to the truth.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace bookclub and Hachette Australia for my advance reading copy.
    Keep up the good work Kelly.

  5. Truths I never told you by Kelly Rimmer was a wonderful, sensitive, heartwrenching story of love, loss, betrayal, lies, depression and family. Set within 2 generations of the same family this novel has many unexpected twists and turns which kept this reader hooked until the final page. I have not previously read any of Kelly Rimmer’s book but I will certainly be actively looking out for her other novels.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace Bookclub, Hachette Australia and Kelly Rimmer for the opportunity to read and review Truths I never told you.

  6. Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel in return for an honest review. 

    I have a few Kelly Rimmer books residing on my shelf, waiting patiently to be read, and if it hadn’t been for Beauty and Lace, Truths I Never Told You may have been sitting there for just as long. 

    This was a very moving story about family, relationships, secrets, death, grief, but most importantly about postpartum depression and how it can affect both the sufferer and those who care for the person suffering. 

    Despite not having suffered postpartum depression, I very much related to both Beth and Grace’s experiences, because I have suffered from depression and they look pretty similar, minus the children. Because of this I always worried if I had children, I would not cope and could completely see where these two women, especially Grace, were coming from.  

    From the beginning, when I read Grace’s first letter, I knew I was in for an emotional time, and there were definitely moments that make me cry or brought tears to my eyes. All the characters, excepting Grace and Maryanne’s parents we so relatable and I enjoyed passing my time with them, even in the sad parts. 

    I liked the ways the stories ran in parallel, the 1996 timeline telling Beth’s story and the 1958 timeline telling Grace’s story through her letters to herself and then Maryanne’s story, all complimented each other and I enjoyed uncovering things slowly with Beth, though for much of the time we know much more than Beth and her siblings, we get to uncover the final secret at the moment Beth does. 

    Patrick’s illness, his heart disease, and his dementia were extremely sad, it is always a sad thing when someone ceases to be the person they were, but even sadder for Patrick as he couldn’t verbalise what he was wanting to say. This was a new type of dementia I was unaware of, where language is interpreted in painting or some other creative pursuits. I could visualise Patricks series of paintings so well in my mind, imagining what he would have painted to go with each of the letters. Art is a wonderful way to get our feelings out and at least Patrick had this outlet for his emotions. 

    There were other topics that were important throughout this story, especially the expectations put upon women to marry, look after the house and have children, the lack of say in what they can do with their own bodies, the lack of access to birth control and the way it was frowned upon to use it if you could access it. All of these things that we as westerners now take for granted. This is what Maryanne and her desire for change was hoping to get for women everywhere. 

    Beth – “It’s hard to believe how different things were for her. I mean, I’ve been sexually active for…” I pause and do the math, then grimace, “God. Over twenty years. I was on the pill for more than half of that time, until Hunter and I started trying to conceive. It was actually quite easy for me to avoid pregnancy until I was ready.”

      “Society moved on so fast. That’s what we wanted, of course,” Maryanne says and sighs as she pats my son to sleep. “But there’s a cost in rapid progress like that, because women your age don’t always understand how lucky you are. 

    It’s true, we forget how lucky we are in many respects compared to only 60 or so years ago. One thing that still hasn’t changed enough though is the stigma around mental illness, yes it is more understood and less stigmatised than it was, but we still haven’t reached the point where people are comfortable asking for help and worrying about what others will think. Stories about mental illness are vitally important if we are going to change this. 

    This was a very moving story with some very important themes and I was hooked from the beginning. I’ll definitely be getting the rest of Kelly Rimmer’s novels as soon as possible. 

  7. This is a beautiful story that follows different time lines. The years of 1959 and 1996 we will follow as we read.

    1959 I fell in love with the storyline of Grace who is married to the love of her life Patrick. Her wealthy parents do not like him and do everything to ward her off marrying him. She has 3 pregnancies but 4 children and one of the pregnancies is twins. The pregnancies all happen quickly so she is kept busy with 4 kids under the age of 5. Tiredness and unworthiness creeps in and Patrick is not much use in helping her either. She struggles but in her heart she does love the kids. We can see as we read that she does suffer from post natal depression and back then in those days, it wasn’t an option to cry out for help. My heart went out for Grace and what she was feeling. Unfortunately Grace falls pregnant again and assists the help of her sister to rid the child inside of her. I found it emotional reading what she was going through. Your heart went out to her.

    We then travel to the time of 1996 and meet Grace’s youngest child Beth and her other 3 older siblings. Beth has had her own child Noah and is finding it hard going bringing up the baby as she feels she cannot cope but doesn’t understand why. Her other siblings have children with no problems.

    Their dad Patrick now has dementia and the decision had to be made to put him into a nursing home by Beth and her other 3 siblings. It is sad reading this part as I have been down this path and it is not hard to know what they are feeling. On his passing, Beth is the one that has the time to start sorting through his house to discard things so that they can sell the house.

    There is an attic that is bolted shut and of course everyone is wondering why. Beth finds handwritten notes on yellow paper and certificates and pictures. What do they all mean? Their dad always said that their mother died in a car accident but the notes tell a different story.

    Honestly this book captivates you from the first page and it is hard not to turn the pages and read more to find out what the story is about. There are secrets, lies, twists and turns, heartache and questions that need answers. Emotional tears were abound with me also in some parts.

    Now that I have read the book, the cover depicts the storyline very well. I’ve not read a Kelly Rimmer book before but she is now on my list as an author I would enjoy.

    Thanks Hachette Australia and Beauty & Lace. It has been an enjoyable read.

  8. Truths I never told you is another great read by Kelly Rimmer.

    Somewhat different to her previous books, Truths I never told you touches on so many topics, grief, dementia, family secrets and postnatal depression.

    I enjoyed the two different timelines and felt that they were easy to follow, and I enjoyed both Grace and Maryanne’s stories, and found that all the characters in the book where easy to identify and could all be sympathised with.

    I have loved all of Kelly’s books and this one wasn’t any different. Although I did find myself surprised that it was more of a historical theme thus different for Kelly I really enjoyed it and have recommended to people.

    This is a great book for a Christmas gift for that hard to buy woman in your family.

    Thanks Hachette and beauty and lace, can’t wait for Kelly’s next one!

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