Each character’s voice is distinct and lived in as the reader gradually connects the threads tying everyone in this small town together. There’s a lot here. An intriguing mystery filled with hearty characters.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Multilayered characters lift this elegantly plotted crime novel from Whalen (The Things We Wish Were True). Loads of hidden love stories and small-town gossip will keep readers turning the pages.” —Publishers Weekly
“[Only Ever Her] will satisfy those who enjoy watching a community’s underbelly exposed.” —Library Journal
“An inherently fascinating, page-turner of a read by an author with an impressively skilled narrative storytelling style…” —Midwest Book Review
“Marybeth Mayhew Whalen’s character-driven suspense propelled me through the pages with a relentless need to absorb every word. Unputdownable!” —Robyn Carr, New York Times bestselling author
“A missing bride, a handful of unrequited loves, and unsolved mysteries threaten to bring a small southern town to its knees. Each character Whalen has created is a grace note of longing, pain, or strength, and in the search for the missing woman, each is pushed to face the darkest truths he or she has attempted to hide. The characters felt like real people to me, the plot, a singular, haunting melody holding them together. A gorgeous book.” —Emily Carpenter, author of Every Single Secret
“A seductive and emotional page-turner, Only Ever Her is a moving exploration of love, loss, and regret. Told in multiple points of view, where every character has something to hide, this mysterious tale asks the question: How well do you really know the ones you love? You won’t be able to put it down, but you won’t want it to end either.” —Karen Katchur, bestselling author of River Bodies
“A brilliant portrayal of the dark undercurrents of a small town and the complex shadings of relationships between flawed but lovable people, all of whom are keeping secrets. The plot, deftly interwoven through the voices of four characters, builds into suspense that keeps the pages turning all the way to the end. A book club must read!” —Kerry Anne King, bestselling author of Whisper Me This
“The long-buried secrets of a small southern town take center stage in Marybeth Mayhew Whalen’s Only Ever Her, an intricately woven tale about the pitfalls of self-deception and the damage that can ensue when tragedy sends carefully crafted ‘truths’ toppling. Whalen creates a cast of compelling and wonderfully fleshed-out characters, then slowly teases back their layers, exposing their dark places in delicious and sometimes heartbreaking fashion. Engaging, honest, and deeply compassionate, Only Ever Her is one of those wonderful books that teaches us about ourselves and reminds us that in order to live fully and honestly, we must first embrace our truth.” —Barbara Davis, bestselling author of When Never Comes
The date is set, the church and pastor are booked, everything is in order. But in sleepy, small-town, Ludlow, SC, bride-to-be Annie Taft has disappeared four days before the wedding. That same day, the man convicted of the murder of her mother is released from jail after a DNA test calls his guilt into question. It's the man that as a toddler she identified. Did Cordell Lewis seek revenge, or did Annie play runaway bride? As the search for her continues, many are forced to confront long-held secrets, including her Aunt Faye, a much-respected salon owner, transplanted to Ludlow to care for orphaned Annie after her mother's brutal murder. Were her motives selfless, or was she running from something darker? Did Kenny, the loner who has adored Annie since high school, decide he couldn't bear to see her in the arms of another? Even Annie has her secrets. If Cordell didn't kill Lydia, who did? And where is Annie? VERDICT Whalen (When We Were Worthy) writes about the secrets that cement and destroy small Southern towns. While not quite a nail-biter, this will satisfy those who enjoy watching a community's underbelly exposed.—Susan Santa, Shelter Rock P. L., Albertson, NY
A small-town bride goes missing three days before her wedding.
Annie Taft has been the beloved child of Ludlow, South Carolina, ever since her mother was killed and 3-year-old Annie was the primary witness in the murder. Now Annie is getting ready for her wedding when it's announced that the man in jail for her mother's murder is getting out due to problems with his trial. Dealing with the weight of perhaps having sent an innocent man to jail as a child while trying to make everything perfect for her social-event-of-the-season wedding is too much for Annie, and she disappears for a while, as she is wont to do. But then she doesn't come back. The story switches focus in every chapter, rotating among Annie herself; her Aunt Faye and cousin Clary, who have been the only family she's ever known; Kenny, Annie's secret best friend and maybe more; and Laurel, a rich girl who didn't make it in the wider world and now is back in her hometown, writing for the local paper and embarrassed by her perceived failure. Each character's voice is distinct and lived in as the reader gradually connects the threads tying everyone in this small town together. Whalen (When We Were Worthy, 2017, etc.) creates an atmosphere in which everyone has a deep, dark secret, but whether they are tied to Annie or not is uncertain. There are a lot of characters to untangle, and it does get a little confusing at times, but not a single one is uninteresting, and all are more integral to the plot than it might at first appear. Some characters, even if they don't have a lot of room, beg to be remembered, like Travis, Clary's megachurch-preacher ex-boyfriend. There's a lot here.
An intriguing mystery filled with hearty characters.