WHAT'S NOT SAID
by VALERIE TAYLOR
What a rollercoaster ride this book is! Through the perspective of the three main characters, we learn of Kassie’s long-standing affair with Chris, a man she met five years ago whilst on holiday, alone, in Venice. Why was she alone? Well, her husband, Mike, didn’t want to go. As it turns out, that short weekend was the catalyst for all the drama that followed!
Kassie is not the most likeable character at first; she comes across as weak-willed and kind of annoying but as the story progresses and we learn more of what she’s had to put up with over the years it becomes clear that she’s a product of her environment and a victim of a borderline abusive husband. And, in her defense, she’s trying to forge herself a better life, albeit not in the most morally acceptable manner. In her mid-late forties, Kassie never had children despite desperately wanting them. I was concerned that the ‘miracle’ would occur because of a hyper-awareness on my part and some small, subtle hints from the writing, but to the credit of the author, it didn’t.
Mike is a mysogynistic a***hole. Excuse the profanity, but there really is no other word for this man who seduced a student (Kassie) while working as a professor at a university, treated her like a slave for the duration of their marriage, and always put his own needs above anything else. I’d like to say he had some redeeming characteristics but I’d be lying. I’m intrigued to see if my disdain carries over into the following two books of the series…but I’m confident it will. Every time I read a chapter of Mike’s, it left a bad taste in my mouth. He’s a horrible, arrogant, predatory man who has abused his power and status repeatedly.
Chris is a character I’d like to see more of in the follow-up books. It’s clear he’s crazy about Kassie and (mostly) treats her with respect and adoration.
The cast of characters is vivid and alive; the fact that I despise Mike quite as much as I do is a testament to the author’s ability and skill in character creation. By the end of the book, I was shaking my feminist-fist in the air and rooting for Kassie wholeheartedly!
A real page turner, Taylor has a talent for end-of-chapter cliffhangers so you just have to read one more page…and one more. Although I could see much of what was coming, it was done in such a clever and compelling way that I found myself laughing loudly and often. The story weaves together into the final crescendo with aplomb.
I’m very excited for the next two books in the series!
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Themes of pregnancy and parenthood exist throughout the book starting with a miscarriage Kassie experienced prior to the events of this novel. It might be painful to read some of the things that have happened to and around Kassie but the purpose of this blog is to reassure readers that despite this, she remains childless and there is no ‘miracle’.
Without giving too much away, the reason for Kassie’s inability to have children is revealed and I’ll give a warning – it’s scandalous! However, due to the fact that she does not overcome this particular hurdle and continues into middle age childless, I feel this book is important for the NoMo community.
*These triggers are based on my own perception of the book – there may be other things that I have not picked up on. If in any doubt, follow the link to the Goodreads page to read more reviews and ask questions.