Not That I Could Tell

Not That I Could Tell

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.By Monday morning, one of them is gone.Everyone k...

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Title:Not That I Could Tell
Author:Jessica Strawser
Rating:

Not That I Could Tell Reviews

  • Deanna

    Having previously enjoyed Jessica Strawser’s debut novel “Almost Missed You”, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read her new novel “Not That I Could Tell”.

    Although Izzy is new to Yellow Springs, Ohio, she’s been getting to know her neighbors and even spent Saturday evening overindulging in wine and conversation with five other women from the neighborhood. Izzy doesn’t usually overdo it on alcohol, but got caught up in the excitement o

    Having previously enjoyed Jessica Strawser’s debut novel “Almost Missed You”, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read her new novel “Not That I Could Tell”.

    Although Izzy is new to Yellow Springs, Ohio, she’s been getting to know her neighbors and even spent Saturday evening overindulging in wine and conversation with five other women from the neighborhood. Izzy doesn’t usually overdo it on alcohol, but got caught up in the excitement of the other women. With the exception of Izzy, all of the other women are married with children, and they were happy for the opportunity to relax around the fire without being interrupted every two seconds by a child wanting their attention.

    Izzy is surprised when the soon to be ex-husband of one of the women flags her down as she gets home Monday to ask her if she’s seen his wife, Kristen. Izzy hasn’t seen Kristen since Saturday evening. Paul tells her that Kristen didn’t show up for work and didn’t drop the children off at school. All three of them are gone...

    Clara Tiffin was the host on Saturday evening and her and her husband Benny live right next door to Kristen. Clara is a stay at home mother to four-year old Thomas and thirteen-month old, Maddie. Clara’s son Thomas goes to school with Kristen’s twins.

    When a detective stops by and asks Clara when she last saw Kristen, she is immediately concerned.

    Kristen Kirkland is the mom who always seems to have it together. She’s very involved in her children's school activities. She’s the mom who always helps decorate for holiday parties, brings the fanciest snacks, and knows the name of everyone – teachers, parents and children. So when Kristen and her twins go missing, everyone is stunned…especially the neighborhood women who thought they knew her best. However, the more they start to learn about Kristen..the more they wonder if they really knew her at all.

    Suddenly the neighborhood turns into a media circus……

    Though we learn about all of the women from the get-together, the story-line focuses more on Clara and Izzy; the personal issues they are struggling with, as well as their reaction to Kristen’s disappearance.

    I really enjoyed this novel and I was drawn to many of the characters. I found them very relatable... flaws and all. I was also completely taken in by the little ones, their interactions with each other and adults were adorable. I could “see” little Maddie as she chased after her brother. A game of hide-and-seek between Clara and her four-year old son had me laughing out loud.

    Jessica Strawser is a tremendous storyteller. With fantastic characterization, a compelling story-line, “

    ” is another awesome read that kept me gripped from start to finish. I was thrilled with this novel and I'm already looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

    Highly recommended!

    Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing a copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

  • Susanne Strong

    In this novel, after a group of gals spend the night drinking around a bonfire, one goes missing along with her two children - Kristin is nowhere to be found. And unfortunately, all of her friends had way too much to drink to remember anythi

    In this novel, after a group of gals spend the night drinking around a bonfire, one goes missing along with her two children - Kristin is nowhere to be found. And unfortunately, all of her friends had way too much to drink to remember anything they talked about. Anything that would help figure out what might have happened to her, at least. They don’t know if she ran off, or if her soon to be ex-husband Paul had something to do with it.

    Each of Kristin’s neighbors cope with her disappearance differently, including Kristin’s best friend Clara, and the newest resident of Yellow Springs, Izzy. There are a couple of side stories involving both characters. How they interact with friends, the police and school administrators – simply fascinating. In my opinion however, the one involving Izzy stole the whole shebang! I won’t ruin it, but I will say that I think we’ve all been in her shoes and my heart ached for her.

    All of the characters in this novel GRAB your attention. My favorite? Why Izzy, of course! The character development is spot on. And the ending? Not what I was expecting at all!

    This book FAR surpasses Ms. Strawser’s debut, “Almost Missed You”, which was was good - “Not that I Could Tell” however is simply fantastic.

    Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Jessica Strawser for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

    Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 9.17.17.

    *Will be Published on Amazon on 3.27.17.

  • Berit☀️✨Traveling Sister✨

    This was a really fun read for me..... set in small town Ohio where the houses were as eclectic as the citizens..... whenever I read a book that takes place in a small town I always feel a little jealous, having lived in major cities my entire life..... and Yellow Springs was so picturesque and ideal, just the place you’d want to raise your family.....

    The neighbor ladies get together for a girls night out.... kid free and husband free... The wine is flowing, the fire is

    This was a really fun read for me..... set in small town Ohio where the houses were as eclectic as the citizens..... whenever I read a book that takes place in a small town I always feel a little jealous, having lived in major cities my entire life..... and Yellow Springs was so picturesque and ideal, just the place you’d want to raise your family.....

    The neighbor ladies get together for a girls night out.... kid free and husband free... The wine is flowing, the fire is burning, and the tongues are loose..... and the next day Kristin is gone along with her twins... did she leave of her own volition? Or has something more sinister happened?

    This book really was about Clara and Izzy and how they coped with the disappearance of their friend/neighbor..... I really liked both of these ladies and related to them both in very different ways.... Clara is a stay at home mother with a fabulous husband (I must say) raising two kids and trying to be the best mom she possibly can.... Izzy oh Izzy... my heart broke for you girl! Caught in an impossible situation filled with regret... fighting her way back.... I really loved her character growth in this book... and I actually would appreciate another book with her to see where she goes from here......

    I loved being the nosy neighbor without having to leave the comfort of my own home or peak out my window..... I loved getting a glimpse into all these characters lives... the good, the bad, and the ugly.... and a very special mention needs to go out to the very precocious 12-year-old Nancy Drew A.k.a. Hallie.... there were some times during this book I absolutely felt as though she was more in touch with what was going on then the adults... and the girl had spirit!

    Absolutely recommend two fans of domestic thrillers with a slower pace.... this book didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat however I really wanted to know what was going on and The sooner the better....

    *** thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for a copy of this book ***

  • Theresa Alan

    I really enjoyed the second novel of Jessica Strawser.

    Several women meet around the firepit of Clara’s backyard one Saturday night. All of them except Izzy are married with kids. They all have a little too much to drink. By Monday afternoon, the soon-to-be-ex-husband of Kristin flags down Izzy to ask if he’s seen his wife and kids. When the police come to ask questions soon after, the women’s stories of Saturday evening—the last time anyone saw Kristin—are unfortunately a little hazy, but none

    I really enjoyed the second novel of Jessica Strawser.

    Several women meet around the firepit of Clara’s backyard one Saturday night. All of them except Izzy are married with kids. They all have a little too much to drink. By Monday afternoon, the soon-to-be-ex-husband of Kristin flags down Izzy to ask if he’s seen his wife and kids. When the police come to ask questions soon after, the women’s stories of Saturday evening—the last time anyone saw Kristin—are unfortunately a little hazy, but none of them can think of any reason for Kristin’s disappearance—as well as her twin children’s.

    Did she go on the run from her almost-ex-husband, Paul, or is he being unfairly blamed (since the husband is always the first suspect in a suspicious case)? Paul is an OB-GYN. His job is to care for women during a turbulent, sometimes scary time in their lives. He works so much, no one on the block knows him very well.

    Told from the alternating points of view of Izzy and Clara, the challenges of being single and being a mom are represented with sensitivity and depth. This is a well-paced mystery with likeable, complex characters.

    Thanks so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES MARCH 27, 2018.

    For more of my reviews, please visit:

  • Larry H

    4.5 stars, rounded up.

    Boy, do I love a little bit of soapy neighborhood melodrama and mystery...

    "It's no great accomplishment to get someone to believe a lie. It's not that hard, really. Look at me: doctor's wife, working mom, good neighbor. You've already summed me up, haven't you? You're already filling in the blanks. But whatever you're writing there, it's not the truth. And that's fine by me. It's easier, knowing you don't know me at all."

    One Saturday night, a group of female neighbors gets

    4.5 stars, rounded up.

    Boy, do I love a little bit of soapy neighborhood melodrama and mystery...

    "It's no great accomplishment to get someone to believe a lie. It's not that hard, really. Look at me: doctor's wife, working mom, good neighbor. You've already summed me up, haven't you? You're already filling in the blanks. But whatever you're writing there, it's not the truth. And that's fine by me. It's easier, knowing you don't know me at all."

    One Saturday night, a group of female neighbors gets together around the firepit of one of their houses. They're excited with the prospect of adult company, and by the fact that their baby monitors actually work in the backyard. They all have a little too much wine that night, leaving everyone feeling a little worse for the wear the next day. But all agree it's a price worth paying, and the conversation flows all over the place.

    Life proceeds as usual on Monday until they get a real shock: Kristin, the seemingly near-perfect mother of twins, the class mom always willing to pitch in, has disappeared along with her children. Some of her clothes and the children's clothes and favorite toys are missing, as is her mother's heirloom china. But her cell phone was left behind.

    Kristin didn't seem at all dismayed that her divorce from her gynecologist husband Paul was nearly final. No one knows what to think about her disappearance, and as the police begin investigating, they uncover secrets that she never shared with her friends, secrets which make them fear the worst. As public suspicion centers around Paul, he tries to focus attention back to his soon-to-be ex-wife, all the while trying to make himself seem more sympathetic.

    Kristin's friends and neighbors try to make sense of what has happened, and how they were unaware of what Kristin was going through. For Clara, who lived next door, Kristin's disappearance and the facts swirling around remind her of an incident from her past that she has tried to put behind her, but she finds herself in the middle of the scandal, which causes issues for her husband and her young children. And Izzy, the neighborhood's newest resident, tries to stay above the fray and not pass judgment, because she is dealing with emotional issues of her own.

    How well do we know our friends? Should we listen to those around us or should we trust our own instincts?

    follows the model of books like

    and Marybeth Mayhew Whalen's

    , providing a compelling narrative, a healthy dose of melodrama, and a mystery that eats at the fabric of friendships and the neighborhood.

    Jessica Strawser does a great job with this book. I devoured it in practically one sitting, and although I had my suspicions of how things would resolve themselves, that didn't dampen my enthusiasm one bit. You've seen this before, but Strawser's storytelling ability keeps you turning the pages. I think this would make a great TV movie, too.

    I was looking for something a little lighter, and this definitely fit the bill. This will make a great vacation read!

    NetGalley and St. Martin's Press 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

    , or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at

    .

  • Melissa

    Picking up an author’s second book—especially one following a debut as stunning as

    —sparks a certain level of excitement on my part that often coincides with a tiny bit of apprehension. For me, it’s almost a test of sorts. Will that sophomore offering land an author on my must-read list going forward or prove them to be a one-hit wonder, instead? Well, for everyone that loved

    as much as this reader, have no fear—

    proves to be jus

    Picking up an author’s second book—especially one following a debut as stunning as

    —sparks a certain level of excitement on my part that often coincides with a tiny bit of apprehension. For me, it’s almost a test of sorts. Will that sophomore offering land an author on my must-read list going forward or prove them to be a one-hit wonder, instead? Well, for everyone that loved

    as much as this reader, have no fear—

    proves to be just as compelling and gripping as

    's fate-filled debut. Maybe even a touch more so.

    What stood out to me was the way the story was told or rather what wasn’t. We know from the beginning, there was a last minute girl’s night of sorts with a group of neighbors—think wine, the glow of a fire pit and the freedom to relax and let loose without the kids. What we aren’t made privy to is

    what happened that night. It was the very last time anyone laid eyes on Kristin. Finding that she's simply vanished, along with her young twins, everyone naturally questions if it was her choice or if someone made it for her. Someone like her soon-to-be ex-husband.

    What this story is

    is a police procedural or psychological thriller focused on unraveling every moment that leads up to Kristin’s disappearance. Instead, this work of women’s fiction—that falls on the darker end of the spectrum—is more about two different women, Izzy and Clara, and how they cope with the reality that their friend is gone. The magic of the story comes from the change it provokes in them and their perspective on life, in some shape or form. For me, that's where

    ’s power lies—in creating deep and lasting impressions with her characters. They’re wholly relatable and real on some level; making the reader/character connection effortless on my part. Honestly, as a reader, is there anything better?

    Izzy was the first character to grab my attention and she pretty much refused to let go throughout the entire story.

    —like being held in a vice grip that’s continuously tightening, just begging for relief. Stronger than even she realized, Izzy’s perspective left me with this message—don’t assume

    understands your true feelings; speak up before it’s too late and you're left saddled with the regret of what might have been.

    This story is yet another reminder that no one is perfect—we all come with flaws and life isn't always sunshine and rainbows—regardless of the face we put out to the world. So don't make assumptions—about people or this storyline. What starts to feel like a story headed to a predictable end is anything but.

    That’s all I’m going to say. Well, other than,

    has definitely earned her spot on my must-read list.

  • Kaceey

    Lately I’ve been reading a number of books involving neighbors. How they interact together - and the expectations they have of each other when living so close. This one ranks right up there among my favorite “neighborhood books”.

    A backyard get-together of the neighborhood gals, where drinking and giggles are the order of the day. Baby monitors turned up high and husbands shooed off to do their own thing. Purely innocent. Just another fun, girl’s night out. Almost.

    The following morning, one o

    Lately I’ve been reading a number of books involving neighbors. How they interact together - and the expectations they have of each other when living so close. This one ranks right up there among my favorite “neighborhood books”.

    A backyard get-together of the neighborhood gals, where drinking and giggles are the order of the day. Baby monitors turned up high and husbands shooed off to do their own thing. Purely innocent. Just another fun, girl’s night out. Almost.

    The following morning, one of the women is missing along with her young twin children. Maybe she left on her own, but how? And why? She never gave the slightest hint of any problem at the party last night.

    As the police begin their investigation, secrets start to unfold. Is anyone on this block safe?

    I absolutely enjoyed this domestic thriller. A fast passed, easy read. The characters are all vivid, making it easy to keep them apart as the story is told from several POV’s.

    This was my first book by Jessica Strawser. Though I have her previous one

    on my list waiting for me. I plan on bumping it up to the top. I highly recommend!!

    Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Jessica Strawser for an ARC to review in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    Having read Jessica Strawser’s debut book, Almost Missed You, I knew I had to read her second!

    The women of the neighborhood gathered around the fire pit at Clara’s house and had a carefree evening while indulging in perhaps too much alcohol. The next day, Kristen’s husband, Paul, flags down one of the women and asks if she knows where Kristen is. It turns out that Kristen and her two children disappeared a

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    Having read Jessica Strawser’s debut book, Almost Missed You, I knew I had to read her second!

    The women of the neighborhood gathered around the fire pit at Clara’s house and had a carefree evening while indulging in perhaps too much alcohol. The next day, Kristen’s husband, Paul, flags down one of the women and asks if she knows where Kristen is. It turns out that Kristen and her two children disappeared after the get-together. The police begin to question all the women, but their memories are hazy, and they don’t know why, other than the alcohol.

    The first suspect is always the husband, right?! Is Paul the culprit, or he is falsely accused?

    The narrators are Izzy and Clara, two of the neighborhood women who attended the party. Izzy is single, and Clara is married with children; the challenges for each of their lifestyles were explored and contrasted. I liked Izzy. She was fallible and interesting, and I admired her growth as a character.

    Overall, Not That I Could Tell is a slower-building mystery. It’s an easy read, perfect to relax into and watch it gradually unfold.

    For this and other Traveling Sister Read reviews, please check out Brenda and Norma’s amazing blog:

    Thank you to Jessica Strawser, St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley for the ARC. Not That I Could Tell will be released on March 27, 2018!

  • Carol (Bookaria)

    One Saturday night, a group of women get together on a backyard to have a few drinks and relax. They are neighbors and look forward to taking a break from the routine. However, a couple of days later they are all shocked to learn that Kristin -one of the women who went to the bonfire- is missing. 

    The novel explores how each of the neighbors deals with Kristin's disappearance, specially Clara, a wife and mother, and Izzy, the newest person to have moved into the neighborhood.

    The novel takes place

    One Saturday night, a group of women get together on a backyard to have a few drinks and relax. They are neighbors and look forward to taking a break from the routine. However, a couple of days later they are all shocked to learn that Kristin -one of the women who went to the bonfire- is missing. 

    The novel explores how each of the neighbors deals with Kristin's disappearance, specially Clara, a wife and mother, and Izzy, the newest person to have moved into the neighborhood.

    The novel takes place in Yellow Springs, OH and is narrated from different points of view. I was interested in reading the book because the description sounded like it would be a mystery, but it's more like women's fiction. It is slow paced and character driven.

    Overall it was ok. I recommend it to readers of contemporary fiction.

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