When Kelly Rimmer visited Toronto Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to obtain a ticket to hear her speak about her upcoming novel Truths I Never Told You.
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary. Historical Fiction
With her father recently moved to a care facility for his worsening dementia, Beth Walsh volunteers to clear out the family home and is surprised to discover the door to her childhood playroom padlocked. She’s even more shocked at what’s behind it—a hoarder’s mess of her father’s paintings, mounds of discarded papers and miscellaneous junk in the otherwise fastidiously tidy house.
As she picks through the clutter, she finds a loose journal entry in what appears to be her late mother’s handwriting. Beth and her siblings grew up believing their mother died in a car accident when they were little more than toddlers, but this note suggests something much darker. Beth soon pieces together a disturbing portrait of a woman suffering from postpartum depression and a husband who bears little resemblance to the loving father Beth and her siblings know. With a newborn of her own and struggling with motherhood, Beth finds there may be more tying her and her mother together than she ever suspected.
Exploring the expectations society places on women of every generation, Kelly Rimmer explores the profound struggles two women unwittingly share across the decades set within an engrossing family mystery that may unravel everything they believed to be true.
Truths I Never Told You is a story about postpartum depression and the stigma that is attached to this mental illness. The author takes us through the experience of a woman in the past; and of a woman in modern society: the experience of Beth is juxtaposed with what her mother, Grace, experienced when she was born. As the reader, we are shown the state of mind of these women and how debilitating this mental illness is. Rimmer tells us the story with sensitivity and empathy – I could not help feel a connection with these women as I read of their experience.
Not only are readers exposed to the mental health of women as they suffer from postpartum depression, but we are also shown a snapshot of a woman’s life in the 1950s. Reading of a woman’s experience during this time period is quite an eye-opener: women were expected to stay at home and, once married, struggled to find work. Reading this, I could not help but be grateful for the freedom I now experience as a married woman with children living in modern western society. We have definitely come a long way.
Truths I Never Told You is a heartbreaking story that I could not put down. This is the first novel I have read by Kelly Rimmer and it will not be my last. If you enjoy reading women’s stories as well as historical fiction, this novel should be placed on your To Be Read list.
I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020
(This novel was the 34th novel in my book pledge for 2020)