Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

 
published 2017

 
 
Fifth Letteer
 
 

Joni drummed her fingers on the bench top as she waited while Trina tightened her laces. She’d been up since 5 am, unable to sleep, still feeling uneasy about what had happened at the pub the previous evening.

As soon as Trina’d emerged from her bedroom, Joni had pounced on her. ‘Come for a run with me! I need to get out.’

Trina had shrugged and agreed and Joni had immediately dressed in fluoro striped leggings and Nike singlet, while Trina changed into a much more casual outfit of casual tracksuit pants and an old t-shirt.

‘One sec,’ said Trina, as she stood up from doing her laces and then headed around to the kitchen to grab a glass of water and wash down a tablet before she and Joni headed off.
 
 
commentary: My book selection skills have been a bit off lately – I feel I’ve said several times, politely, ‘this was not the book for me, but others will probably love it’. And here we go again.

This time it was a definite category error: I thought this was a crime novel. My bad. The story, set in Australia deals with four young women, friends since school, who go on a weekend away and make a plan to each write a letter revealing a secret. The four letters are written, and discussed and pored over – but it turns out there is a fifth letter, with much deeper and darker revelations, and the question is: which of the women wrote it? A good setup – but I thought this would be a proper thriller, with a crime either lost in the past or else brought on by the whole letter business. But that isn’t really the case. The book is pretty much unabashed chicklit: it’s about relationships and feelings and friendships, and about the scars and traumas of childhood.

I thought it was a big error for us to see the action through the eyes of one of the women, because that knocked her out as a possible writer of the fifth letter, and reduced the tension. And there was a lack of balance, an unevenness about the book – some matters were taken seriously and others dismissed too easily. The actions of some of the women seemed very strange, and they all seemed rather dim, and they didn’t in fact seem to like each other all that much.

But Moriarty kept the story going, it was certainly an easy read, and it was all rounded off at the end. But I didn’t believe a word of it. (Not necessarily a deal breaker.)

Not to make too much of this – it’s plain that Nicola Moriarty is the sister of blog favourite Liane Moriarty. It would be unfair to compare the two writers – especially as, despite superficial similarities, their books are quite different.
















14 comments:

  1. I've had that happen, too, Moira, where I read a book expecting it to be one sort of novel, when it was very much something else. This one doesn't really sound like one for me, if I'm being honest. Still, that doesn't mean, as you say, that others wouldn't love it.

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    1. Yes, sometimes that happens, honest mistake all round... and I hope the people who like it will find it!

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  2. I have to say it doesn't appeal to me either, something very uninspiring about the writing style in the quote, and although it sounds like an interesting premise, it doesn't sound like a terribly appealing book. May be one of the few instances where I and Col are in complete agreement.

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    1. Hilarious and probably true! Not a bad basic idea though...

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  3. I always give an author credit for keeping me pulled into the story, it is just a shame it wasn't better overall. A family of authors, that is very nice.

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    1. Yes, imagine the conversations over the family dinner table at Christmas and so on...
      And I'm sure this book will find its ideal readers.

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  4. I'm always a bit, "Hmm..." when someone is related to a well-known author - not that I'm saying they can't write, more that it's easier for them to meet agents, publishers, etc - particularly if your relation is a big hitter like this woman's. But my real pet peev is celebs getting book deals because they're celebs. I make it a point never to buy these books! Anyway, I've got this book, through NetGalley, and I assumed it was a thriller-ish set-up too, albeit one involving four young women. I think publishers do occasionally slightly overplay one aspect of the book, so readers end up expecting a sightly different experience... And there are so many dim people in the world, it's about time someone featured them in a book! (Lol!) Totally frustrating for smart readers though...

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    1. Love your idea that there should be more representation for *different* groups!
      I guess if we read an awful lot, there are going to be times that we get hold of the wrong book, no harm done.

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  5. Not one for me Moira - slim pickings over here of late - sort it out!

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    1. I know, I'm feeling guilty that there weren't more noir-ish murders and gruesome violence on the girls' weekend away! Nothing to lure you in lately.

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    2. And btw Col, note the comment above - Daniel thinks you and he will finally agree about a book!

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    3. There's a first time for everything!

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  6. Doesn't sound like something I'd go for, either.

    However, I'm mainly commenting because that picture of the model on the right makes me think of that old photo of LBJ showing reporters his appendectomy scar. :-)

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    1. Oh that's hilarious, what a great caption that would make!

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