The Things We Wish Were True

The Things We Wish Were True

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations. From 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 ac...

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Title:The Things We Wish Were True
Author:Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Things We Wish Were True Reviews

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    I believe I've found another trustworthy publisher in Lake Union; I particularly seem to gravitate toward their women's fiction releases since they tend to be a reliable pick for my interests. I have loved the past 5 reads from them and am excited to read the last few I have sitting on my shelf. These books aren't as romance focused as others; sure there are typically romantic relationships, but it's only a portion of the plot instead of the main event. Once again,

    has del

    I believe I've found another trustworthy publisher in Lake Union; I particularly seem to gravitate toward their women's fiction releases since they tend to be a reliable pick for my interests. I have loved the past 5 reads from them and am excited to read the last few I have sitting on my shelf. These books aren't as romance focused as others; sure there are typically romantic relationships, but it's only a portion of the plot instead of the main event. Once again,

    has delivered an intriguing, complex novel that causes the reader to question how well they know the people who live mere feet from them and what secrets we all hold in the dark corners of our lives. This was one suspenseful read that kept me guessing as I took in the story from quite a few POVs, which seemed confusing at first, but slowly came together to weave a connected web of personal experiences and tragedies.

    I'll admit that this was a fairly short read, which came out to under 300 pages (at least my review copy did) and is probably my only critique. I was so sucked in that I just wanted more! I absolutely fell deep into the drama of these folks like I lived right alongside in Sycamore Glen; I thoroughly loved how this didn't feel "hick small-town" but more suburban and classic southern. The descriptions, the cover, the setting were all perfectly southern and me being a southern girl, I whole-heartedly embraced this. I had the same feelings and emotions reading this one as I did reading

    by

    . While the plots are completely different, I feel those who really liked that book might enjoy this as well!

    The characters were really fun to get acquainted with; my personal favorite tangent was the budding relationship between Jencey and Lance. The author included a note at the end of the book giving us background into the inspiration to where this particular story came from; I found that to be a nice touch that deepened my appreciation for the book and Marybeth's storytelling abilities. Once again, this was a fantastic, quick read that has you blowing through each clipped chapter at lightning speed trying to uncover all the little mysteries alongside the big, central one. While at times a little predictable, I felt the suspense of the story more than made up for those tiny moments. This book is still more than enjoyable even if you figure out every single piece of the puzzle ahead of time.

  • Larry H

    "And yet, Jencey understood, there were the things she

    were true, and there was what was

    true. She was learning that there was usually a great distance between the two.

    Sycamore Glen, North Carolina is one of

    small towns. You know, the ones where everyone knows everyone's business, where people remain entangled in each other's lives from childhood on, where secrets are hidden just out of sight. Bryte grew up in Sycamore Glen, pining for the boy her best friend dated, wanting

    "And yet, Jencey understood, there were the things she

    were true, and there was what was

    true. She was learning that there was usually a great distance between the two.

    Sycamore Glen, North Carolina is one of

    small towns. You know, the ones where everyone knows everyone's business, where people remain entangled in each other's lives from childhood on, where secrets are hidden just out of sight. Bryte grew up in Sycamore Glen, pining for the boy her best friend dated, wanting a love and life to call her own, and years later, she has everything she wanted. But behind her happiness lies a secret, and the pressure to hide it may cause her to risk everything she holds dear.

    It seemed that Jencey had everything she could want while growing up in Sycamore Glen. Yet one day she left without warning, without explanation, leaving those who loved and cared about her feeling angry, hurt, and betrayed, and forced to rebuild their lives without her. Years later she returns after her life is upended, and her reappearance causes fears to be reawakened, and ripples into other people's lives.

    Zell is the neighborhood helper, always the one to bring food to a family dealing with a tragedy, lend support when it is needed, quietly observe what is going on around her. Yet she has her own secrets, things she hopes never come to light despite the fact that they might help someone else. And there is still things she isn't aware of.

    One summer, a near tragedy occurs. It brings people together, threatens to tear others apart, and starts to gnaw away at the secrets everyone has hidden away. The courage and curiosity of one brave young girl is both what the town needs and what could potentially destroy relationships and lives.

    If

    sounds a lot like a soap opera, it definitely has a soapy, melodramatic tone, and I don't mean that in a disparaging way. There's a lot of drama, both real and manufactured, and these people sure do have a lot of buried skeletons! But amidst the secrets and the fears are inherently good people caught up in circumstances they can't control, and the possibility of redemption and happiness where some might have feared there would be none.

    I enjoyed this book, but then again, I always loved a good soapy novel every now and again. While some of the plot twists I saw coming pretty early on (and perhaps that's what was intended), Marybeth Mayhew Whalen threw in some surprises as well. At times this book reminded me of a less campy

    (more for the secrets than the mischief-making women) and at other times it reminded me a little of a Liane Moriarty novel, but it didn't try to steal style from anyone.

    Whalen keeps you wondering what will become of her characters, whose names annoyed me but they themselves really didn't. This book

    like a good beach read, but it's just a plain good one.

    Lake Union Publishing and Kindle First provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

    See all of my reviews at

    .

  • Lee

    Sycamore Glen in North Carolina is a very small town, everyone knows everyone and everyone else's business, or do they? Lurking behind these friendships, many are hiding secrets and lies while others are quite oblivious to what is happening around them. A near tragedy occurs, which in one sense will bring some closer together but for others, it may tear them apart. The story is told by four women Bryte, Jencey, Zell and Cailey all very different and each with their own set of troubles, but all v

    Sycamore Glen in North Carolina is a very small town, everyone knows everyone and everyone else's business, or do they? Lurking behind these friendships, many are hiding secrets and lies while others are quite oblivious to what is happening around them. A near tragedy occurs, which in one sense will bring some closer together but for others, it may tear them apart. The story is told by four women Bryte, Jencey, Zell and Cailey all very different and each with their own set of troubles, but all very likable characters. A very enjoyable read.

  • Candace

    'The Things We Wish Were True' was a book that I picked up with my Kindle Unlimited membership. I listened to the Audible edition and it was better than I expected. This story had a lot going on, but the author managed to weave the characters and events together seamlessly. It was my first Marybeth Mayhew Whalen book, but it won't be my last.

    The story is set in the small, southern town of Sycamore Glen, North Carolina. I enjoyed the description of this town and thought that the author did a fabu

    'The Things We Wish Were True' was a book that I picked up with my Kindle Unlimited membership. I listened to the Audible edition and it was better than I expected. This story had a lot going on, but the author managed to weave the characters and events together seamlessly. It was my first Marybeth Mayhew Whalen book, but it won't be my last.

    The story is set in the small, southern town of Sycamore Glen, North Carolina. I enjoyed the description of this town and thought that the author did a fabulous job of capturing the essence of a small southern town. So often, authors are guilty of only portraying southern towns as being filled with idiotic, racist rednecks, feeding into all of the worst stereotypes of the people in this region of the country.

    As a Mississippi native, I appreciate that this author didn't do that, taking the time to present a more balanced view. There are certainly some racist rednecks in the South, but they aren't a good representation of the majority. Having lived in, and traveled to, various locales across the country, I can assure you that racist, ignorant rednecks are everywhere. Sad, but true.

    The story is told from multiple POVs. Everyone seems to get a chance to share their version of events. With a robust cast of characters, I admit that this was a little confusing at first. However, it wasn't long before I had all of the characters sorted and I was completely lost in the goings on of this small community.

    This is the type of town where everyone is connected somehow. Maybe their grown kids went to school with the young parents that are now raising their own families in town, as was the case for Zell. Maybe they've returned to town to lick their wounds, returning to the safety of their parents' home after a failed marriage, as Jancey did. Perhaps, like Lance, they're struggling to raise their children alone after being abandoned by their spouse. Or, maybe they're trying to grow their family while working hard to keep their secrets at bay, like Everett and Bryte.

    Everyone has a story and their lives are interconnected. Some connections are obvious, while others are revealed slowly, over the course of the book. The tragic near-drowning of a child at the community pool will pull them all together and set a series of events in motion.

    Despite being a relatively short book, there was a lot going on. A child abductor is in their midst. Lies, betrayals and secrets abound. However, the author manages to incorporate many different elements without the story feeling "over the top" or outrageous. Granted, some things were a bit too coincidental, but it worked overall.

    All in all, this was a great story. I really enjoyed it and found myself lost in the small town drama that played out. If you're looking for an entertaining read that has a little mystery, without a high level of suspense and anxiety, I think this is a good choice.

    Check out more of my reviews at

    .

  • Zoeytron

    A spider's intricately spun web blocks the entrance to the neighborhood swimming pool on opening day, a portent of some sticky situations in store for the residents of Sycamore Glen. There isn't a person in the group who doesn't have a secret. And yes, those secrets will all be laid bare before summer's end.

    I didn't really get the sense of a small town with this one. It had more of a cozy neighborhood feel about it. Best friends trying to reconnect, saying too much, sharing too little. Would re

    A spider's intricately spun web blocks the entrance to the neighborhood swimming pool on opening day, a portent of some sticky situations in store for the residents of Sycamore Glen. There isn't a person in the group who doesn't have a secret. And yes, those secrets will all be laid bare before summer's end.

    I didn't really get the sense of a small town with this one. It had more of a cozy neighborhood feel about it. Best friends trying to reconnect, saying too much, sharing too little. Would recommend to readers who prefer their novels on the lighthearted side. Likeable characters, very readable. The kids weren't even annoying. Eh, moving on to something more to my taste, something dark, unsettling, disturbing.

  • Diane S ☔

    3.5 Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, the small town Jancy left after high school, threatened by a stalker that none could identify. Now her husband in prison, she and her two young daughters have returned home to her mother, the boy she left behind now married to the woman who had been her best friend. Over the course of the summer, a summer spent at the local pool, a near tragedy will occur and long held secrets will be revealed.

    This book is incredibly readable, it flows so well, alternately told

    3.5 Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, the small town Jancy left after high school, threatened by a stalker that none could identify. Now her husband in prison, she and her two young daughters have returned home to her mother, the boy she left behind now married to the woman who had been her best friend. Over the course of the summer, a summer spent at the local pool, a near tragedy will occur and long held secrets will be revealed.

    This book is incredibly readable, it flows so well, alternately told in chapters narrated by all the main characters. Cailey, the young girl whose mother must work leaving her in charge of her younger brother was one of my favorites. She is so incredibly wise beyond her years and will be lauded as a heroine before novel's end. Zell, the towns busy body or the one who seems to take care of everything or everyone depending how you look at it, she sees much but misses what is under her own nose. All these stories are wrapped around a missing girl, a girl who has been missing for three months, her parents frantic.

    A bit melodramatic, especially the end, but it fits this book well. Small town secrets, characters terribly flawed, actually had me looking down my block and wondering what secrets my well known neighbors were keeping. And I know there has to be some. Just a good easy to read book, with a little suspense thrown in, perfect for enjoying by the pool.

    ARC from Netgalley.

  • Kristina

    This book is hard to take seriously, especially with characters with names such as Zell, Jencey, Cailey, Bryte and Lance. It's difficult to get past the names--the whole time I was reading I was wondering--did no one at any point have the courage to tell the author just how ridiculous they are? Isn't that what editors, publishers, etc. are for?

    Silly names notwithstanding, I found this book to be mediocre but readable. The many "mysteries" and big "secrets" weren't all that suspenseful and were

    This book is hard to take seriously, especially with characters with names such as Zell, Jencey, Cailey, Bryte and Lance. It's difficult to get past the names--the whole time I was reading I was wondering--did no one at any point have the courage to tell the author just how ridiculous they are? Isn't that what editors, publishers, etc. are for?

    Silly names notwithstanding, I found this book to be mediocre but readable. The many "mysteries" and big "secrets" weren't all that suspenseful and were all too neatly wrapped up at the end of the book. And...I still can't get past those crazy names. This is not a book that I'd recommend to anyone or read again.

    Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

  • Esil

    3+ stars. I really enjoyed The Things We Wish Were True for the first two thirds of the book, and then it started taking a couple of turns I didn’t like as much and my enthusiasm fizzled a bit. But I still enjoyed it enough to say it was worth reading as a lighter entertaining read. The novel is told from the perspective of a few neighbours living in a small town in North Carolina. Their lives are intertwined in various ways, and they all have secrets and troubles of some sort or another. The ch

    3+ stars. I really enjoyed The Things We Wish Were True for the first two thirds of the book, and then it started taking a couple of turns I didn’t like as much and my enthusiasm fizzled a bit. But I still enjoyed it enough to say it was worth reading as a lighter entertaining read. The novel is told from the perspective of a few neighbours living in a small town in North Carolina. Their lives are intertwined in various ways, and they all have secrets and troubles of some sort or another. The characters are well defined and they don’t have cookie cutter troubles. In fact, I really appreciated that the characters did not fit into easy stereotypes, and I didn’t feel manipulated into feeling strong like or dislike for most of the characters. But then the story builds to a couple of overly dramatic events, and I felt that I was reading another type of book altogether capped off with a pretty sentimental ending. But Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is definitely a good raconteur, and I wouldn’t pass up her next book if I was looking for something light and somewhat cozy. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me access to a copy.

  • Obsidian

    So this book in the end did not live up to the hype I kept seeing all over the place with it. With shifting perspectives (there were six people to track in this book) and the author choosing to make 5 out of 6 told in the third person there was way too much going on for me to even really care about all of these characters.

    In addition, due to the plethora of characters, the development of almost all of these characters was shallow. The only exception to this was the character of Cailey. Ms. Whale

    So this book in the end did not live up to the hype I kept seeing all over the place with it. With shifting perspectives (there were six people to track in this book) and the author choosing to make 5 out of 6 told in the third person there was way too much going on for me to even really care about all of these characters.

    In addition, due to the plethora of characters, the development of almost all of these characters was shallow. The only exception to this was the character of Cailey. Ms. Whalen shines when she tells Cailey's POV in the first person. Maybe if she had stuck with her throughout this book it would have worked better.

    The book goes from Memorial Day through August 2014 in Sycamore Glen, North Carolina. With everything that is going on with North Carolina right now I thought how weird it was the book I finally got around to reading was set there.

    The book is told in the third person point of view by these characters: Everett and Bryte (long time best friends and husband and wife) Jencey (former best friend to Bryte and high school girlfriend of Everett), Zell (neighbor of Everett and Bryte and Lance), Lance (neighbor of Zell, Everett, and Bryte).

    The author chose to have the character of Cailey (pre-teen) told in the first person.

    We have a lot of unexplained tension between Everett, Bryte, and Jencey. The backstory behind these three was boring as anything. Bryte was always secretly in love with Everett and jealous of Jencey. Once Jencey had to move away, Bryte and Everett got together. Now that Jencey is back home, Bryte feels jealous of her previous relationship with Everett.

    Jencey is home with her two daughters trying to deal with the fallout from her marriage.

    Lance is dealing with the fact that his wife Debra has walked out on him and his two children.

    Zell is feeling guilty regarding something dealing with Lance's wife (it was a doozy and I ended up hating this character even more by the time the book was finished) and helps out Lance with his two kids.

    Cailey feels out of sorts in the new neighborhood she and her mother and brother have moved into. Since her mother works all of the time, it is up to Cailey to watch her younger brother Cutter. She wishes that their house looked like all of the other houses nearby and feels very set apart from the nice houses with families that surround them.

    The characters meet at the local pool and from there after a tragic incident, they find themselves thrown together. I wish that we had got any sense of these people by the time the book ended.

    The storyline between Everett and Bryte was pretty awful. I just kept reading and shaking my head. And in the end, things are forgiven though most people would need more than a few hours to shake off the revelations that Everett found out about his wife. And what gets me is that I think the author is portraying Bryte as noble. Instead, Bryte really needs to see a therapist or someone. Because her justifications for everything that she were messed up. She is in love with her husband (yeah okay girl) and she still feels like she's in a competition with a friend she hasn't even seen in years, who she apparently gloats over because she got the guy. Bah.

    Jencey I felt for a little bit. Because her life is turn upside down. She also had to move away from her home and the boy she loved because of circumstances outside of her control. I wanted to see a reawaken of this character, a sense of her growing up and realizing that all that glitters is not gold (she was a wealthy man's wife) and get a sense of who she is. Instead we have her running around crushing on someone that is still technically married. The "relationship" that she and Lance had didn't do a thing for me. It felt like she was replacing him with her absent husband because she needed someone to be strong for her.

    Lance was a waste of a character. A few times he had some insights into maybe why his wife left, but once Jencey comes on the scene that is all over. He is focused on getting the girl and does not seem to be around much to actually father his two kids.

    Zell annoyed me from beginning to end. She has a secret she knows about Debra and once readers are privy to it, I ended up feeling sorry for Debra. Probably because in one of Zell's chapters we are flashbacked to an incident several years before Debra leaves when one of the children is hurt. She bares her soul to Zell about how overwhelmed she is, how she just needs a second or two to herself. That her husband doesn't get it, and he gets to get away from it at least. I felt Debra in that moment and felt sympathetic to her. Maybe because two of my best friends recently had something similar going on with them. They are the best mothers that I know, but they constantly beat up on themselves when they are tired or want alone time from their husbands and kids. They beat up on themselves when they get sick and don't want to kick dinner. I don't know why women do this to ourselves, but I wish that we all gave ourselves and each other breaks.

    Cailey just wants to belong, and for a few moments during the summer she does when she gets to interact with other kids and Zell.

    We also have some secondary characters, local neighborhood people as well as Zell's husband who barely seems to be around.

    A lot of neighborhood mysteries get solved, but the resolutions didn't really ring true (especially regarding Jencey) and I had a hard time believing that any of these people would interact with each other.

    The writing was just okay. The flow was awful though. Each chapter was maybe 2-3 pages long and you would jump to another character. Why the author chose to have 5 characters "speak" in the third person boggles my mind. At least there are chapter headings to keep people straight, because the women's voices all started to blur after a while. It didn't help that many of the children seemed to be seen and not heard except for Cailey. I wanted more interaction between all of the characters and their families. These people seemed to talk to each other for maybe ten minutes and move to another scene.

    If the book synopsis didn't say that this took place in North Carolina, I would have had no idea. This feels like a faceless suburban neighborhood with no real personality. I don't expect characters to talk "Southern" but there was no real difference between this town and many others.

    The ending was wrapped up with everyone practically skipping through gardens together. There are no real discussions to be had, and things that would kill most normal and healthy relationships are ignored. I will probably pass on future books by this author.

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