Monday, 4 December 2017

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

How much personal information do you share with your best mates? Joni, Deb, Trina and Eden have been friends since they were twelve. Now married and in their thirties, the women still meet for catch-ups over coffee and sometimes take an all-girls holiday, away from kids and husbands. This time they’re at a beach house for five nights in winter, which should be fun – lots of chat and laughs.

After a few wines and something a little less legal, it suddenly seems a brilliant idea for each to write an unsigned letter revealing a secret to be read out to the others randomly over the following days. But during a sleepless night, Joni discovers a fifth letter,  partially burned in the fireplace, one that describes an all-consuming hatred for one of the four friends. Finding the original letter in the trash basket on the old computer downstairs, she sets out to discover not only who wrote it, but who could be the object of such loathing.

Joni is the main narrator of the action and of the women seems the most insecure. She and husband Kai have been trying unsuccessfully for a baby and she’s got a problem with work. Part of her narrative is told in visits to a priest’s confessional, and Father O’Reilly is almost as good as going to a psychiatrist. This makes for an interesting and original way to tell a story.

Over all I found The Fifth Letter to be a very readable and engaging novel, though definitely a beach read. The characters can be a little mean and intense at times, but all have interesting secrets. The desire to tell something but not reveal who owns the secret adds a buzz of tension which escalates to a some high drama towards the end of the book and a satisfying ending.

Nicola Moriarty is the sister of the more famous Liane Morarty, and YA author, Jaclyn Moriarty so comes from good writing stock. The Fifth Letter is her second novel.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Fifth Letter

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