Review: The Things We Knew by Catherine West

Title: The Things We Knew by Catherine West
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.

Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.


With a gentle undercurrent of faith, The Things We Knew by Catherine West is a heartwarming novel of family, forgiveness and redemption .

After her mother passed away twelve years earlier and her older siblings left home, youngest daughter Lynette Carlisle has shouldered the burden of caring for their aging father and the family estate.  With her father’s health worsening and the home falling into disrepair, Lynette is becoming desperate for help from her long absent siblings.  Following the advice of close family friend and her longtime crush, Nick Cooper, Lynette knows it is time for her brothers and sister to return to Nantucket so they can discuss selling the family home.

Lynette is emotionally and physically exhausted as she tries to take care of her father when she realizes that their financial situation is at a crisis point.  At the same time, she is haunted by nightmares about the accident that claimed her mother’s life.  Unable to remember the events of that day, Lynette’s memories are slowly returning but the most important details surrounding her mother’s death remain elusive.  She is delighted when her siblings return to help out but she is troubled to learn they have all been keeping secrets from her.  As the youngest, Lynette’s siblings have always tried to protect her, but she finally finds the courage to stand up for herself as they try to come to an agreement about what to do about the family’s financial problems.

With only four of the five Carlisle children present, they cannot finalize any plans about selling the family estate.  Their concerns over the future of their home often take a backseat to the individual issues facing Lynette’s siblings Gray, Liz and David.  Gray is a rock star who is on the verge of success when his demons get the best of him.  Coming home might be an answer to his prayers but will he revert to old habits when things get tough?  David is married with two young children and he is currently going through a rough patch with his wife.  He is quick to begin repairs on their home, but will a more than generous offer on the house persuade him to vote for selling? Liz is a workaholic lawyer who is hiding a terrible secret about her wealthy boyfriend.  Although not a blood relative, the Carlisles have always treated Nick like family and his once close friendship with Gray is on very rocky ground.  He is also burdened with a secret  that could destroy the other family  members if the truth were to be revealed.  At the same time, Nick is working with his father but their relationship is strained.

The Things We Knew is a captivating novel that deals with difficult subject but Catherine West handles these delicate matters with sensitivity and ease.  The various story arcs are seamlessly woven together into a heartfelt story of healing for each of the characters. Beautifully written with relevant issues that are realistically portrayed, this touching novel of faith is sure to be a hit with readers of contemporary fiction.

1 Comment

Filed under Catherine West, Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Rated B+, Review, The Things We Knew, Thomas Nelson Publishing

One Response to Review: The Things We Knew by Catherine West

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kathy