How do you know if your friends actually like you?
Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina try to catch up once a year for some days away together. Now in their thirties, commitments have pulled them in different directions, and the closeness they once enjoyed growing up seems increasingly elusive. This year, determined to revive their intimacy, they each share a secret in an anonymous letter to be read out during the holiday. But instead of bringing them closer, the revelations seem to drive them apart. Then a fifth letter is discovered, venting long-held grudges, and it seems that one of the women is in serious danger. But who was the author? And which of them should be worried?
THE FIFTH LETTER examines the bonds of women's friendship groups, and the loyalty and honesty they demand, along with letting go of relationships that once seemed essential but are now outgrown.
A new Nicola Moriarty! I have read and loved Nicola's previous two novels. Free-Falling was charming and whimsical and Paper Chains was mysterious and emotional and both have been highlights of my reading life. I have been hanging out for Nicola's latest, even more so when Mands from The Bookish Manicurist emailed to say she was loving it and it was Nicola's best book yet.
The Fifth letter has a captivating opener which grabbed my attention and then held it resulting in me having to stop everything I had planned for the next 24 hours until I had finished the book. It is one of those up-all-night, can't-put-it-down books, the pacing and reveals sprinkled throughout only adding to the tension and need-to-know-answers vibe. The Fifth Letter has a much stronger mystery/suspense angle than Nicola's previous novels. It definitely sucked me in (evidenced by the speed in which I tore through it) but I did miss the more character-driven aspect that I loved in her first novels. I enjoyed reading about these characters, but I didn't fall in love with them.
I love that amongst the twists and suspense and reveals, Nicola still writes with a touch of whimsy and smiley surprise. She has a flair for sneaking in little details which play out in deliciously satisfying ways. The novel touches on some heavier topics and humour is used in all the right places to add levity and charm.
I thought I had things figured out a few times throughout the novel, but the rabbit's hole always went deeper and I love how I thought things were headed one way and then they perfectly maneouvered somewhere else ~ somewhere better, more interesting and unexpected. It really was the mystery and reveals that kept me glued to the pages.
The novel centres around four women who have been friends since high school and as the story unfolds there are numerous flashbacks to teenage years, making this a perfect novel for fans of both young adult and adult fiction.
The Fifth Letter is brilliantly plotted with sneaky reveals and a really fun (unexpected) climax and ending that left me smiling and content with time well spent. I am so happy Australia has fun and unique authors such as Nicola Moriarty and am (as always) looking forward to what Nicola has for readers next.
The Fifth Letter is available everywhere now :)
The Fifth Letter @ goodreads
The Fifth Letter @ HarperCollins Australia (including free excerpt)
Nicola Moriarty's website
|The Fifth Letter: Australian, US and UK editions. Available everywhere now.|
Many thanks to HarperCollins for my gorgeous review copy!