The Fifth Letterby Nicola Moriarty

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by William Morrow
4 Stars

My Review: Joni, Deb, Trina & Eden have all been friends since the first day of high school. Joni brought the group together when the teacher made a comment about them all being born under the same sign. Joni actively sought each girl out and their group began. While growing up they were pretty much inseparable and shared everything as well as helping each other deal with things. In the book which is narrated by Joni, they are 30 and she is worried about them drifting apart. She has planned a girl’s weekend in a beach house. Because they have not shared their lives as much, with marriage and children happening, Joni suggests they each write a letter, not signed, sharing a secret. They will read the letters and offer solutions to the anonymous writer. This, Joni hopes, will rekindle the closeness they once felt. The letter sharing doesn’t go according to plan and when Joni finds a fifth letter that one of them wrote and tried to destroy, she embarks on a journey to determine who wrote the letter and would the person who wrote it follow through on what they put in it.

I enjoyed this book. The story flowed well and I rushed through it once I got about half way. It did start a bit slow, but got better as it went on. The story is told though flash backs and stories from their youth as well as what is going on in the present. The flashbacks help the reader to understand the friendship and personalities of the women. Of course, does anyone really know everyone’s secrets? I really wanted these women to work everything out as their friendship seemed so important to who they were, but as Joni says in the book, “Maybe you’re not suppose to stay friends with people from high school for so long after school. Maybe it just doesn’t work.” There were times that I really liked each character, and times where I didn’t. Joni seemed to be rather bullying and bossy at times, then you could see that this was a role foisted upon her by the others. Parts of this book were humorous, parts serious, and parts sad, which is exactly how life works. Throughout the story, I was constantly trying to figure out, who wrote that fifth letter. I recommend this book to anyone who likes women’s fiction, human drama with a bit of mystery to it.

Synopsis: 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.

I found it interesting that, Nicola Moriarity is the sister of author Lianne Moriarity.

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