4 out of 4 stars
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In the book What's Not Said by Valerie Taylor, Kassie O'Callaghan feels trapped in a marriage she has wanted out of for years. Kassie and Mike are a childless couple, so kids are not of concern in a divorce. Kassie had gotten pregnant once but miscarried at five months. Mike, Kassie's husband, never agreed to adopt, and Kassie never got pregnant again. The marriage had deteriorated, and Kassie had met Chris, a younger man, and fell in love. She was determined to tell Mike she had filed for divorce and get on with her life. Something always came up to stop her when she tried to inform him. This time, it was a trip to the emergency room for Mike. The doctor said Mike had Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), which Mike had already known was stage three, but it had now progressed and may require dialysis or a kidney transplant in the future. Kassie was livid when she discovered Mike had known about the CKD for years and had not told her. She felt trapped again, but she would soon find out it wasn't the only thing Mike had kept from her.
While gathering things to take to Mike at the hospital, Kassie discovered more of his secrets. She found lockboxes, one at home and one at Mike's office, and the contents of the boxes puzzled her. Also, in his office, she found a college picture of Mike with a woman sitting on his lap. Who was the woman, and what was their connection? When Kassie asked Mike, he told her the story behind the things she found. Kassie's anger at Mike exploded. She told him she was getting a divorce and stormed out of his hospital room. Had she learned all of Mike's secrets? No, the biggest secret of all was lurking just around the corner.
Valerie Taylor's talent for writing shines through in this book. She can create a scene that is sad and emotional, or sometimes even humorous but always engaging. The characters in the book were well developed, and I can't think of anyone that was out of place or nonessential in this novel. The story flows effortlessly from chapter to chapter and crescendos to a shocking finale. My favorite aspect of the book is how the title fits the story so perfectly. It isn't the things we say to each other that tear a relationship apart; it's the things we don't say. The story sends an unmistakable message about the lack of communication and its damage to relationships, and the consequences of being deceptive.
I would love to say there isn't anything I disliked about this book, but alas, there was a bit too much profanity and sexual content for my comfort level. However, that doesn't mean the book is not good, it is just my preference, and it doesn't affect my rating. The profanity wasn't frequent, but there are some non-borderline words. The sexual content is steamy, making the book more suitable for adult readers.
I enjoyed reading this book. Taylor did an outstanding job with character development and made the storyline suspenseful enough to keep the reader wanting to know what happens next. She also added some subtle humor to the mix. There were a few errors in the book, but they were not distracting to my reading experience. The book appears to have had professional editing. For the reasons mentioned above, I am rating What's Not Said by Valerie Taylor 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this book to adult readers age eighteen and up who enjoy romantic fiction with trials that keep you guessing. This book may help readers between sixteen through eighteen, with parental guidance, to better understand relationships before making long-term commitments. The book may be offensive to the more conservative reader because of the profanity and sexual content.
What's Not Said
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