The Fifth Letter

The Fifth Letter

by Nicola Moriarty


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Nicola Moriarty makes her US debut with this stunning page-turner for fans of Jojo Moyes, Emily Griffin, Kate Morton, and Jessica Knoll, about four best friends on a relaxing vacation that turns devastating when old secrets are revealed, long-held grudges surface, and a shattering betrayal is discovered that shakes the foundation of their lives.

Best friends from high school, Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina had always looked forward to the vacations they spent together. But the demands of careers, husbands, and babies gradually pulled them apart, and now their annual getaways may be a thing of the past. Joni doesn’t want to lose her friends, and this year she’s coaxed them all back together for some fun at a beach house.

Late on a laughter and wine-filled night, the women dare one another to write anonymous letters, spilling her most intimate thoughts like they did as teenagers. But the fun game meant to bring them closer together turns painfully serious, exposing cracks in their lives and their relationships. Each letter is a confession revealing disturbing information. A rocky marriage. A harrowing addiction. A hidden pregnancy. A heartbreaking diagnosis.

Days later, Joni notices something in the fireplace—a crumpled and partially burned fifth letter that holds the most shattering admission of all. 

Best friends are supposed to keep your darkest secrets. But the revelations Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina have shared will have unforeseen consequences . . . and none of them will ever be the same.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062413567
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/24/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,209,267
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Nicola Moriarty is a Sydney-based novelist, copywriter and mum to two small (but remarkably strong-willed) daughters. In between various career changes, becoming a mum and completing her Bachelor of Arts, she began to write. Now she can’t seem to stop. Her previous works include the novel, The Fifth Letter, which was published in several countries and optioned by Universal Cable Productions for film and television. She blogs (occasionally) at her website here:

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Fifth Letter 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago'll give this more stars. Overall I liked it enough, but there are no shortage of books about groups of friends (all busy women) having issues when they go on a "girls' getaway". The "secrets" didn't live up to the build up and I thought many passages were just unnecessary filler. I like more suspense and less HEA, so I usually don't read "women's fiction" (even though I'm a woman/wife/mother).
Valerian70 10 months ago
Having felt really let down in the recent past by this genre of novel I was a little apprehensive going in to this one. After all, it had all the hallmarks of disappointment splattered all over it. Four women who have been friends since secondary school who are still grimly clutching on to that friendship well in to middle age and the secrets that they are harbouring from each other. Secrets that they are now set to reveal. Fortunately, I found this to be an engaging read. Not a challenging one and I didn't find myself trying to second guess who had written what and who was behind that explosive Fifth Letter. I just went along for the ride and enjoyed watching the stories of the four women unfold on the page. Joni is a fairly reliable narrator and although she has her faults (as Trina, Eden and Deb do) she is honest about her manipulations and mistakes. Quite why The Confessional looms so large is a bit confusing initially but even that gets tied up with a neat little bow at the end - a neat little bow that could possibly lead to a follow up on these four. You do get the feeling reading through that the friendships only endure out of nostalgia as they are such disparate personalities and are clearly growing further and further apart as they move through life. Even through the medium of open letters nobody tells the whole truth and still hold secrets close that eventually get displayed to the others - strangely, this seems to bring them closer than they have ever been. There are some surprises along the way and the nature of friendship is explored quite well. I especially enjoyed the way the women related to each other and how Joni and the elusive author give their view of whats happening - just a shame that we only really see Eden and Trina through their eyes. Completely unsentimental in it's telling I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
Joni, Deb, Trina & Eden have all been friends since the first day of high school. Joni brought the group together when the teacher made a comment about them all being born under the same sign. Joni actively sought each girl out and their group began. While growing up they were pretty much inseparable and shared everything as well as helping each other deal with things. In the book which is narrated by Joni, they are 30 and she is worried about them drifting apart. She has planned a girl's weekend in a beach house. Because they have not shared their lives as much, with marriage and children happening, Joni suggests they each write a letter, not signed, sharing a secret. They will read the letters and offer solutions to the anonymous writer. This, Joni hopes, will rekindle the closeness they once felt. The letter sharing doesn't go according to plan and when Joni finds a fifth letter that one of them wrote and tried to destroy, she embarks on a journey to determine who wrote the letter and would the person who wrote it follow through on what they put in it. I enjoyed this book. The story flowed well and I rushed through it once I got about half way. It did start a bit slow, but got better as it went on. The story is told though flash backs and stories from their youth as well as what is going on in the present. The flashbacks help the reader to understand the friendship and personalities of the women. Of course, does anyone really know everyone's secrets? I really wanted these women to work everything out as their friendship seemed so important to who they were, but as Joni says in the book, "Maybe you're not suppose to stay friends with people from high school for so long after school. Maybe it just doesn't work." There were times that I really liked each character, and times where I didn't. Joni seemed to be rather bullying and bossy at times, then you could see that this was a role foisted upon her by the others. Parts of this book were humorous, parts serious, and parts sad, which is exactly how life works. Throughout the story, I was constantly trying to figure out, who wrote that fifth letter. I recommend this book to anyone who likes women's fiction, human drama with a bit of mystery to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story of four friends, how they tried to keep their friendship together from elementary thru high school and beyond, held my interest to the very end. A lot of twist and turns and a surprise ending made it a great read. A book you can read and not put down.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina are now in their 30’s but have been friends since an incident in school, Joni is afraid that the group is drifting apart, especially since she is the only one that doesn’t have children. Joni rely believes that if everyone writes down a secret the rest can help them work through it and bring the women closer. But a surprise letter has a confession that could break up the group. Confessing secrets about yourself to your friends? This is definitely a recipe for disaster. I understand how Joni is trying to get the group close again but they get more than they expect when the fifth letter is discovered. Each has their own personal issues but I do feel that they could have worked through them. But that last letter has to throw a wrench in the works. This is a great story about the secrets we keep and how they can cause us more trouble bringing them up. The story flows well and was a quick read. I do think if you are a fan of contemporary stories that you will like this one. It has enough of a twist of a mystery to make it that much more entertaining. I received The Fifth Letter from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
The Fifth Letter is an intense women’s lit read that would be perfect for book clubs. Four long-time friends go on holiday and decide to write anonymous letters disclosing their deepest secrets. Some secrets are more serious than others, but someone also writes a fifth letter revealing her true feelings about another member of the group. And those feelings are not happy feelings. This book is narrated by Joni, the planner of the group. She’s the one who finds the fifth letter, so you know right away it’s not hers. Throughout the book Joni is trying to puzzle together who wrote it by talking to a priest, confession style, and sharing flash backs and present day plot. I loved the priest angle. He kind of acting as a shrink. These four Australian women, Joni, Deb, Edina, and Trina, have been friends since high school (really middle school in the US). They’ve been through a lot together, but they’re also growing apart. They all have husbands now, and Deb, Edina, and Trina also have kids. A lot of what they’ve experienced is natural due to the time they’ve known each other, but other things are unique to their situations. Joni feels like her friends put a lot of the planning on her because she doesn’t have kids. This book was thoroughly entertaining to listen to, and it kept me guessing the whole time, but it’s not one I would say you have to read. It would have been fun to read with others in a book club though. It could bring friends closer if you used it as an avenue to reveal some of your own secrets. Or it could just be fun to talk about some of the ridiculous things that take place in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty is a recommended story set in Australia of four long-time friends and secrets. Joni Camilleri, Deb Camden, Trina Chan, and Eden Chester have all been friends since they attended high school together in 1993. Joni initially brought the four together because they are all Scorpios with surnames ending in C. Now it is 2016, they are all married and everyone but Joni is a mother. Joni has planned their annual girls' getaway at a rented beach house. Feeling that they are losing their connection to each other, Joni comes up with the idea that they will each write a letter sharing a secret with the group. These letters are read, one at a time, over the following days. As each letter is read, the friends discuss the secret as if none of them wrote it. But there is a fifth letter that was written. The writer tried to burn it in the fireplace, but it survived. Apparently one of the four friends is seething with anger and hates another one. The Fifth Letter is told in chapters that alternate between the present day get-together and flashbacks to their high school days. Interspersed are scenes of Joni meeting with a priest to give a long confession where she is essentially telling the story of the friends and their secrets, and little excerpts from the fifth letter. It is an enjoyable, well written book, as far as a light read for escapism goes, but it's not that mysterious, psychologically complex, surprising, or dark. While the characters are different, they are not especially well-developed or complicated. I guess I didn't find the secrets all that shocking or any surprising plot twists either. This is a novel you kick back to read for fun, not heart-pounding suspense or shocking plot reveals. It succeeds on that level. While the desire to read the four secrets and find out who wrote the fifth makes for a irresistible hook, The Fifth Letter was a bit of a letdown. Of course you don't know what other people, even close friends, are thinking or doing. Of course they have secrets or private parts of their lives. And, given the way life really is, the most serious secrets aren't even in the letters. Additionally, maybe it's just me, but I found it very difficult to take seriously four women friends who still refer to themselves as "girls." They are supposed to be in their late thirties, 38, so they should be beyond that now even if they became friends when they were girls. Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the entire book in one sitting, wondering things like, "Am I most like this one?" The characters are well developed, yet I would never have guessed what happened at the very end! It all makes me want to contact friends from high school and catch up. And, I wonder, would I have written that 5th letter? No, not me....