Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina have been taking an annual trip together for years. And Joni is determined to see the tradition survive.
The girls met when they were twelve - when their teacher announced that each of them, all C last names, also shared the same zodiac sign. That was when Joni knew it was meant to be. But as they've each grown, started careers and families, it seems their friendship has begun to wear. Recalling a pact they'd made to write letters to one another in a shared notebook, the women decide to do a one off on their latest trip: each is to write down one secret, anonymously, to be shared with the group.
But one of the women has a secret she regrets. A secret she tries to hide by swapping and destroying her original letter. Unfortunately, Joni finds the letter's remains and it's bad enough to potentially ruin everything.
The Fifth Letter explores the friendship of four women. They've known each other since they were twelve - so now, in their mid thirties, over half their lives. I've been in need of some light escapism reading and The Fifth Letter most definitely fit the bill.
Deb is an insurance investigator, married with one kid. Eden is a performer who supplements her income with homes sales trends (Tupperware and such) and is married with two kids of her own. And Trina teaches PE and is married, with her own toddler. Joni, who writes for a popular website, fell behind a bit and has only been married for two years now. No kids.
When the story begins, Joni is sitting in a confessional booth ready to pour her heart out to the attending priest. And pour she does! She tells him all about her own woes as well as the friends' history, the trip, the letters, and her dilemma in finding the fifth letter. See, Joni isn't sure what to do. If she mentions it to any of the other women, it could very well be the woman who penned it in the first place. But she can't let it rest either, because for Joni, who is going through some things personally, the group and their friendships with one another are simply too important to throw away.
The letter in question is pretty damning and would literally ruin the bond the friends have shared. But as the friends each read one another's actual letters, the tensions between them begin to run high anyway.
Joni is our narrator, for the most part, so she is the one the reader is given the most chance to get to know and connect with. But I really thought that Moriarty did a wonderful job fleshing out the other three women through Joni's eyes as well. Joni is a true and fast friend and because she relies so heavily on the group and the friendship, she pays attention to the women around. Of course this doesn't mean that she isn't grossly wrong about which letter belongs to which woman. Her own issues color her perception just a bit...
The Fifth Letter is a mostly fun and light read. A book about friends growing older and growing apart, and, to an extent, realizing your dreams and finding your place in the world.
While The Fifth Letter isn't Nicola Moriarty's true debut, it is the first of her titles to be released here in the States, making her the third Moriarty sibling whose books have hit our shores. And I predict she'll be equally welcome and beloved as Liane and Jaclyn!
And now for the giveaway! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, February 20. Open US only.
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