The Things We Knew

The Things We Knew

by Catherine West


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Highly acclaimed author, Catherine West, weaves a story of family and lies, secrets and repressed memories all against the stunning backdrop of Nantucket.

“An engrossing and ultimately moving novel, filled with mystery, romance, and drama.” —RT Book Reviews

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.

Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718078102
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 07/12/2016
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 482,862
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border collie for long walks on the beach or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Visit her online at, Facebook: CatherineJWest, and Twitter: @CathWest.

Read an Excerpt

The Things We Knew

By Catherine West

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2016 Catherine J. West
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-7810-2


Sometimes in the dead of night, Lynette Carlisle heard her mother's voice. Sometimes it was easy to forget her mother had been dead twelve years.

Curled up in bed, covers pulled tight, she strained to hear the whisper over the wind. Some nights the voice was clear, like Mom was right there in the room, the faintest scent of light musk and lavender tickling Lynette's imagination. Other nights, all she heard was her own sigh of disappointment as angry waves crashed against the Nantucket cliffs beyond the garden wall.

Some nights she welcomed the voice. Some nights it made her wish for the impossible and remember life as it had been, before.

Some nights, like tonight, it kept her awake and rattled the cage of her memory. Tonight the voice came to her, as it so often did, in a dream.

The message was urgent, but she couldn't remember a word of it.


That was it. She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes.

Something about Dad.

A few sleepy moments later, Lynette stood in the doorway of her father's bedroom and stared at the empty bed. Red numbers glowed through the semidarkness. Four a.m. She checked the bathroom, but he wasn't there.

Thoughts of where he might be created a momentary state of paralysis. Lynette waited a moment, listening for any sound, but the big house was silent.

She pushed her arms through the sleeves of her robe as she thundered down the stairs to the ground floor. Her two Labradors sat stationed by the front door, indicating he'd already made good his escape.

Panic pushed her forward. This served her right for staying up too late trying to finish that painting.

"Dad!" Lynette pulled open the heavy door and a gust of cold, salty wind smacked her face. Spring nights on the island still held a chill. A full moon lit her way as she raced across the white gravel in bare feet. No time to go back for shoes. She gritted her teeth and pressed on toward the road. Shouts came from the direction of the house next door.

Dread dragged her to a stop.

Diggory and Jasper began to growl as another shout punctuated the silence. She hoped they wouldn't start barking. "Shush, guys." Lynette picked up her pace again, grateful when her feet finally sank into the soft stretch of grass between the two estates. She squinted down the winding drive that led to their neighbor's home, the Cooperage, and scrambled for a viable excuse.

Perhaps Mr. Cooper was away for the weekend.

If he wasn't ...

"I know you're in there, Cooper! Get out here this instant!" Her father's baritone voice punched through the night like a warhead honing in on its unsuspecting target. No stopping him now.

He stood on the front porch, swaying in the wind, his bathrobe flapping like dark wings, wild hair flying around his neck as he pounded on the double doors with both fists.

"Dad!" Lynette shot up the steps and grabbed his arm. "Stop it!" Perhaps it wasn't too late to just take him home. Perhaps, with a little luck, Mr. Cooper was indeed off the island.

The porch light came on and that hope washed out like the tide.

The lock turned, the door creaked open, and Nicholas Cooper peered around it.

"Nick." Lynette stepped back, fully expecting to be faced with an angry Anthony Cooper. Nick hadn't been back to Nantucket in years.

"Who ... what?" He stepped forward, blinking under the glow of the carriage lantern above them. "Mr. Carlisle?"

"Aha," Dad bellowed as he lunged for the young man. "Where is she? Tell me where she is before I beat the tar out of you!"

"Whoa, Mr. Carlisle?" Nick disentangled himself, put up his hands, and ducked out of reach. Bleary blue eyes caught hers. "Lynette?"

Lynette made a frantic grab for her father's arm. "Dad, stop! You're confused. Let's go home." She pushed him, hard. "Daddy!" Her childlike cry stopped his flailing. "STOP." She met his eyes and saw them fill with murky confusion.

His anger slunk away like a punished dog. "I ... I'm sorry. I ... forgot myself."

Lynette glanced at Nick and patted her father's arm. Dad clamped his mouth shut and studied his slippers.

"Let's go, Dad. It's okay." Lynette shook her head. It wasn't okay.

Not at all.

Dad trudged down the steps, sinking onto the last one. His shoulders heaved with a heavy sigh. The dogs settled by his feet, eyeing her for further instruction.

She wrestled with embarrassment and despair and forced herself to face Nick Cooper's questioning gaze.

"Is he all right?" Sleep still muddied his eyes. And apparently made him ask stupid questions.

"He'll be fine. Sorry about waking you." The quake in her voice betrayed her lack of confidence, but she refused to let tears escape.

Nick looked to where her father sat, rocking back and forth, humming. "Do you want me to call someone?"

Who would he call — the psych ward at the Cottage Hospital? She didn't think they even had one. "No." Lynette pulled the sash of her robe tight around her waist and shivered in the cool night air. She gathered up her scattered thoughts and put them away with her emotions. "I'm sorry about this, Nick. I'll just take him home." She turned toward the steps.

How could she explain something she didn't yet understand herself?

"Wait." Nick's hand rested on her shoulder, his unexpected touch comforting. "Can I drive you?"

That was so like Nick. Always trying to do the right thing. A smile tiptoed across her lips. "It's only next door. I think we can manage."

"Your feet." He pointed to her stinging soles, reminding her she'd have to endure more pain to get back home.

Lynette lifted her shoulders in resignation. Bruised feet she could deal with. It was the turmoil inside that tortured her.

"Hold up." He disappeared and returned with an old pair of boat shoes. "They're probably a bit big, but better than nothing."

She mumbled her thanks and slipped into the giant-sized loafers. Nick donned a pair of sneakers and helped her father up. His earlier outburst already forgotten, Dad chatted amicably with Nick as though he'd just happened over for a visit.

They took their time while the dogs ran ahead, sniffing the boxwoods and peeing on trees as though walks before dawn were commonplace. Lynette shuffled along behind Dad and Nick and wondered whether they would become so.

Once they reached home, she guided Dad in, turned to Nick, and handed over the borrowed shoes. "Thanks. Sorry about this."

"You don't need to keep apologizing." He hovered in the doorway, baggy pajama pants, T- shirt, and tousled hair giving him a boyish look. "Are you going to be okay?" He hesitated like he should come in but didn't want to.

She couldn't blame him.

"We'll be fine." Lynette nodded, more to convince herself, but her eyes stung as badly as her feet. "He won't remember it in the morning. I usually wake up, but —" A crash came from somewhere inside. "I have to go."

"Are you sure you'll be okay?"

"Yes. Welcome home, Nick." Lynette closed the door and leaned up against it.

Her heart thumped out unasked questions.

Once her older brother Gray's best friend and extra member of their family, Nick Cooper left Nantucket without warning, five years ago.

Left them.

She longed to know where he'd been, what he'd been doing, and why he'd returned. And whether he remembered that night so long ago — the night of her nineteenth birthday — the first, and only, time he'd kissed her.

The last time she'd seen him.

* * *

Lynette watched Dad more carefully over the next week. To her relief, he hadn't wandered off again and he was sleeping better. Which meant she could too. On Sunday afternoon, she put the finishing touches on a painting while he napped.

Up here in the art studio on the third floor of the house, things never seemed quite so terrible. She dropped her brush into a small jar of turpentine and stepped back from her latest creation. Dad had taught her to let the painting speak for itself.

This one certainly did.

Along a stretch of white Nantucket sand, families gathered for Fourth of July festivities. Kids played Frisbee, dogs raced after the flying disks, and toddlers poked chubby toes at the white foam waves while anxious mothers hovered over them. High on the hill behind the beach, a sprawling gray- shingled house presided over the holiday scene, a flagpole proudly sporting the red, white, and blue to celebrate the day. Gulls dotted the pale blue cloudless sky.

Off to the side of the organized chaos, a girl sat alone on the rocks. She hugged her knees to her chest, her gaze fixed on the wide expanse of Atlantic beyond the shore, her face half hidden by a mane of sun- kissed blond hair.

It would do.

Another painting rested on an easel across the room.

Lynette drew in a shaky breath, pulled toward it by an inexplicable force. This was the piece she'd stayed up so late working on the other night, the culprit, she was sure, behind the dream that had woken her.

She'd wanted to re-create the inside of the house as it had been that day all those years ago, but only a staircase floating in midair had emerged, the rest of the painting splattered in dark shades, burnt sienna, cobalt blue, and specks of black.

Memories hovered out of reach, hidden in the shadows of her mind.

She'd prayed for the memory of that day to be restored for years now, yet it remained as blank as a new canvas. Perhaps it was better this way. Perhaps it was time to let it go.

Lynette picked up a paint- splattered sheet and covered the evidence.

She shook off a shiver and went back to tidy up the area she'd been working in. Between her job at the day care and worrying about Dad, the days were long and tiring.

A sudden gust of wind whistled through an open window, melding pungent scents of oils and turpentine with sea air. A shutter banged against the side of the house and made her jump.

The floorboards squeaked as Lynette marched over them and pulled the window shut. The locks were rusty, but with a little effort, she secured them. Diggory gave her a mournful glance while Jasper slept on, oblivious. "Sorry, Diggs. We'll have to go out later. Looks like rain."

She retied her messy ponytail and surveyed the space designated as an art studio since before she was born. The long room was scattered with paintings, some on easels, some stacked against the walls, many completed, others left half done to taunt and jeer.

She and Dad used to spend hours up here. From the time she was very small, he encouraged her to paint, let her create a colorful mess and called it art.

She didn't know when he'd last set foot in here.

Drake Carlisle's greatest works languished under sheets, unseen and unappreciated. Banished.

Her mother had little interest in drawings and paintings; photography had been her passion. Capturing moments most would miss. She'd never been serious about it. A hobby, she'd called it. Lynette's gaze dragged to the door on the far side of the room. The darkroom — bolted shut and padlocked years ago. Her father's doing.

Everything in that room remained out of reach, locked away like the difficult things Lynette didn't like to think about.

Strains of Handel's Water Music suddenly filled the air and chased away the ghosts.

Lynette frowned and wondered where she'd tossed her cell phone. She found it hiding beneath a sketch pad. "Hello?"

"Hey, sweetie, it's Evy. How's that painting coming along?"

Lynette marveled at her friend's timing and dropped into the old rocker by the window. "The beach scene I told you about? I just finished it." She pushed off with her bare feet and began to rock.

"Wonderful. When can you bring it in?"

"Oh." She studied the paint flecks on her hands. Blue, yellow, red. Similar stains marked her jeans and shirt, probably her hair. She'd scrub them out later, but the red always remained. "I don't know."

Evy huffed. "I thought we had a deal. You promised me you would start selling your work on a regular basis, remember?"

"I remember. But honestly, Evy, it's not that good, and —"

"Nonsense. Honey, trust me, you're good. I sold your last two paintings for a much higher price than we anticipated, right? Listen, have you thought about doing a show? It's the beginning of May. Tourists will be coming in soon."

Lynette played with her necklace, a strand of wooden beads from Africa. Her brother Ryan sent them last year in the Christmas package for her and Dad. If only Ryan could have delivered them in person.

She thumped her head against the back of the rocker. "I won't do a show."

"So you've won the lottery?"

"No." Lynette scrunched her eyes and wished she'd never met Evy McIntyre. "I'll keep painting, but only if we stick to my rules."

"I know. I promise I won't use your real name." Evy let out a honk worthy of a Canada goose. "Honey, you can call yourself Attila the Hun for all I care. Just bring me your stuff. I'll get you cash, like you asked. How about Wednesday?"

Lynette poked at a hole in her jeans. Scraped at the red paint, pried it off with a fingernail. "I'm working."

"Wednesday is your day off."

"Fine, Evy. You win. I'll see you then. Happy?" Lynette imagined her friend's wide smile.

"Delirious." A throaty laugh crackled down the line and Lynette ended the call. Evy could talk her into anything, blast the woman. She should call her back, tell her she changed her mind. Tell her there would be no more paintings.

Tell her ... what?

Evy was right.

To say they needed the money was an understatement.

Lynette left the studio by way of the rickety back stairs, the dogs at her heels. On the second floor she poked her head into Dad's bedroom. He should be up from his nap by now.

"Dad? You awake?"

The overpowering scent of Old Spice shot up her nose. A spilled bottle lay on top of his dresser. Clothes were strewn about the floor and falling out of the highboy's open drawers. His bed was empty, sheets rumpled and hanging off the side of the antique four-poster. The bathroom was vacant, water streaming from the tap. Lynette turned it off, gave the rusting spigot an extra twist just to be sure.

"Dad?" Her heart began to dance to the erratic beat that started up every time he did this. A draft from the open windows scattered pages of a newspaper on the round table, but the faded chintz curtains barely budged against the wind. Lynette pushed the curtains back and tied them in place with silky gold cords that were likely older than her. She fumbled with the heavy wood-framed windows, eventually latched them, and caught a glimpse of the sky, now dark and menacing.

"Dad?" She ran down the main stairs and into living room. Calm, calm, calm. He was probably in there reading. Lynette stopped in the doorway. "Dad?" Only the cat occupied her father's favorite chair by the window. Moxie rested on top of an open book, yellow eyes glinting as she flicked her tail and put her head back down.

"Oh, Dad, where did you go this time?"

Diggory and Jasper circled her legs, whining. Furious, frantic thoughts filled her head of what she would do when she found him. Would this be her life from now on? Chasing after the kids at the day care, chasing Dad during her time off?

She raced to the sliding glass door in the kitchen and slipped into her loafers. And then she saw him.

He stood by the stone wall at the edge of their property, facing the stormy sea. Monstrous black clouds loomed westward as drops of rain began to splash against the salt-stained glass.

Relief washed through her and doused out anger.

Lynette grabbed her Windbreaker from the coatrack and stepped onto the porch. A fierce wind tried to push her back, but she leaned into it and pulled her hood over her head. The dogs raced across the lawn, barking above the noise of the coming storm.

Dad didn't move.

Thunder rumbled off in the distance as Lynette ran over the already soggy lawn toward him, careful to avoid the anthills and patches of thistle. By the time she reached him, her breath came in spurts and rain stung her cheeks like tiny pinpricks.

"Dad, there's a storm coming!"

He startled when she took his arm. "Lynnie? What are you doing home? Shouldn't you be in school?"

Rain ran along the crevasses of his face. "No, Dad." School would be a welcome release, were she still the young girl he pictured in his muddled mind.

Lynette got him inside as quickly as he would allow. She sat him down and went for a towel. No use suggesting he go upstairs to change, too much effort. The dogs scattered water as they shook themselves and then settled under the kitchen table.

She worked to keep her voice steady. "Here, dry off. I'll make us some tea." Her heart rate slowly returned to normal. He could have gone anywhere, fallen, decided to climb the wall ...

Somehow she'd have to figure out how to get him to the doctor again.


Excerpted from The Things We Knew by Catherine West. Copyright © 2016 Catherine J. West. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Things We Knew 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Siblings brought together again after many years. After the devastating incident that tore them apart, they finally share the truth of their lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CordiallyBarbara More than 1 year ago
On a scale of cotton candy to Brussels sprouts, The Things We Knew by Catherine West is a food fight cleanup. None are left unscathed. Mashed potatoes gloop off of embroidered dining room chairs while chicken fat congeals on a gilded mirror. Beet juice stains everything it slides across. Lynette is trying to handle things: the decaying family home, her father’s dementia, her ongoing nightmares, and the skyrocketing bills. And then, Nick, her childhood crush shows up, and Lynette’s every nightmare and dream collide. Her four siblings who refused to come home for years finally show up, and the family’s closeted losses come leap-frogging out. I started reading The Things We Knew upon the recommendation of my friend, Eli. And I’m glad that I had a recommendation because a few chapters in, despite having a fondness for Lynette, I didn’t want to deal with the mess of this family. Every character was haunted by such difficulty, confusion, hurt, and a desire to run from the past in whatever way they could. But, how absolutely human. When I reach the root of myself, I’m this messy, this confused, this scared, this hurt, too. Catherine West captured the conflict, turmoil, steadfastness, and love that knits a family together. And this quote, it’s everything: “What good are dreams that don’t come true?” “They keep hope alive.”
Freddikb More than 1 year ago
A family ripped apart by death. Secrets hidden just below the surface. How much longer can the truth stay buried? After Mom died twelve years ago Lynette’s family unraveled. They rarely keep in touch and they all went their separate ways, except for Lynette and Dad. They stayed home. Now though, with Dad ill, she has asked all of her siblings to return home. When they do, however, they bring the past with them. Can they finally put the pieces together and face the truth? Or will it be too much to survive it? Lynette’s family pulled me into their lives and held on tight. The present, the past, how it weaves together. The reminder that the past does not always stay in the past. This story really spoke to me on a personal level, showing how much our past events affect our future selves. How we cope from those events, how we live after the matter. And when the truth begins to creep up, how it sends us down yet another path, how our lives are altered once again. This story had me looking at my life, past and present. This story, Catherine West’s writing style, is so true to life. *I received this book free from Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review. What I have expressed are entirely my own thoughts.*
ChasRay0 More than 1 year ago
The Things we Knew is the latest christian fiction novel by Catheriine West. The Carlisles and the Coopers have been next door neighbors for years. Their kids grew up together and are best friends. Will a family secret tear their families apart, or bring them closer together? If there ever was a disfunctional family, the Carlisle family fits the bill. The dad, Drake, once a raging drunk, has finally gotten his life together only to lose his memories to alheizmers. He has some moments of being lucid, but mostly he's lost in the memories of his mind. Back when his children were younger and his wife was still alive. Lynette Carlisle is the baby of the family, although in truth she may be the strongest. She's left alone to care for her dad after her brothers and sister moved away. She's tried to hold it together, causally dropping hints that the family home is in disrepair and that their father may need more help than she can give him. But they're all off living their own life and have no time to go back home. Liz, who can command the courtroom with one look is in an abusive relationship. Gray has all the fame and fortune a guy could want, but he's haunted by his drinking and drug addiction. Ryan is off saving the world serving as a missionary in Africa while David's marriage is falling apart. The only way this disfunctional family will come together is to sell the family home. Nick Cooper was once part of the Carlisle family, but after a falling out with Gray five years ago he's been left on the outside. He's suprised when Lynette comes to see him at the bank asking for suggestions on what to do with Wyldewood, her family home. Nick would love nothing more than to help Lynette by giving her the money needed to fix up the place, but with his father, the owner of the bank, breathing down his neck his hands are tied as to what he can do. Slowly but surely Nick and Lynette begin to relcaim their friendship and maybe a little something more. When her siblings arrive with the hopes of railroading her into selling Wyldewood they may have a something to say about this new romance. Tempers flare and secrets come to light and both the Carlisles and the Coopers learn that nothing is more important than family. *I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.
Jennybug52 More than 1 year ago
This latest novel by Catherine West tells the story of the Carlisle family. Twelve years ago the matriarch of the family died tragically and the family grew distant as a result. Lynette, the youngest Carlisle sibling, finds herself trying to hold things together. To make matters worse, she can’t seem to remember anything that happened that tragic day. This is the first novel I have read by Catherine West and I really enjoyed it. The book had believable characters, good dialogue and kept a good pace. It wasn’t full of heart pounding suspense but flowed naturally to its complete conclusion. The main theme of the book seemed to be grace and giving it to others when they least deserve it. The author didn’t tie up every loose end into a nice bow and make everything perfect at the end which I think worked for this book. She definitely left things open for another book or two. I’m hoping that is the case because I would enjoy learning more about the other Carlisle siblings, especially Ryan. I look forward to reading more books by Catherine West and would recommend this book to others. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
swimreadbreathe4JC More than 1 year ago
The Things We Knew by Catherine West is a stand-alone novel, and the first one that I have read by this author. It is published by Thomas Nelson, and I received it from their Fiction Guild. Lynette Carlisle was twelve when her mother passed away, but she doesn't remember any of it. She has nightmares and flashbacks, but no matter how hard she tries, she can't piece together the glimpses of memories into what really happened. Years later, she is the sole caretaker of her father, whose mental health is failing. Lynette has so much on her hands that she doesn't know how to react when her childhood crush moves in next door. Nicholas Cooper practically grew up with the Carlisle family, but has lost touch with them over the past couple of years. When he moves back in with his dad, he has to come to terms with what happened to Mrs. Carlisle, while rebuilding a friendship with Lynette. Once I started this book, I finished it within 2 days. This book sucks you right in, being a mystery, romance, and a sweet story about familial reconciliation and forgiveness. I would highly recommend this story! The characters grab you from the first page and hold your interest throughout the story. Even though I guessed the "who done it" about halfway through, I still wanted to know what happened to the characters and I finished reading it. I would highly recommend this book; it's a good, quick read. Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson publishers and their Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book. I was not required to review it, either positively or negatively, and all opinions stated in this review are my own. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
AngelaBycroftNZ More than 1 year ago
Each life holds many secrets, lies and mystery - so too does this tale. The Things We Knew opens in the idilic setting of Nantucket. Here lives Lynette Carlisle with her ageing father - as her remaining siblings have all fled the nest leaving her to try and keep the old family home going amid rising debt and bills. Lynette is faced with the very real prospect of having to sell the estate but a stipulation in her late mother’s will means that all siblings must be present and agree to sale the property. A family reunion is required and this is not easy as it sounds. Lynette’s father increasingly is showing serious signs of dementia and it all seems to be getting on top of Lynette. She increasingly experiences of flashbacks to when her mother died and can’t seem to sort out fact from fantasy. Her previous friend Nicolas Cooper returns to the island. His feelings for Lynette are stronger than ever but Nick holds a secret that could destroy any change he might dream of having a future together. The Things We Knew is a charming if slightly slower tale of family secrets, past trauma, and gentle love story all rolled into one. While perhaps a little slower paced tale than I would normally read - it was no less interesting and enjoyable for that. One of those fireside yarns that feels perfect as the rain pelts outside and the fire crackles within and you get that satisfaction of really getting to know these characters through and through. Many thanks to The Fiction Guild for providing a complimentary copy to enjoy and review. All opinions are my own.
MichelleKrim More than 1 year ago
What a great book from a new-to-me author! This was an emotionally moving story, as the Carlisle family has known more than its share of tough times. I kept reading long into the night to find what had happened in the past and how they would all overcome it. I thought the author did an excellent job with the pacing, revealing details gradually throughout the story. The romance between Lynette and her first crush, Nicholas Cooper, was subtly done. The story revolved just as much around the two families and their relationships. While there wasn't a strong spiritual thread, it was a fairy clean story that dealt with some difficult issues. I loved getting to know Lynette and her siblings. I would love to see more of their stories in future books. I would highly recommend this story to anyone, though I'd suggest having some tissues handy, just in case. I will definitely be reading more books from Catherine West. Rating: 4.5/5 stars I received a copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lynette Carlisle watched her family unravel after her mother died. All her siblings left Nantucket and have not returned. She is trying to take care of her home and her father. But she is having nightmares concerning the day of her mother's death. Was there a sinister reason behind her mother's death? Was her father involved or someone else? Lynette goes to Nicholas Cooper seeking help to finance the repairs her home needs but he is unable to help her with a loan. She summons her siblings home to decide the fate of their home as their father is losing his memory. Will Lynette's siblings come home and be able to help her save their home? Will Lynnie ever remember what happened that day many years ago and will she be able to move past those events? A good read with lots to keep you drawn in. There is some twists and turns and information on all the siblings and their lives.
EA_Hendryx More than 1 year ago
Deep family ties, past secrets, and a house that brings them all together--The Things We Knew shows how one family's struggle becomes their saving grace. Per usual, I didn't read the description of this book before I jumped in to read it. I've read several of Catherine West's books before and was eager to see what this new one would be about. I know from her other books that she isn't afraid to tackle the "real" things in life--that is to say, the hard things. The Things We Knew was in keeping with that, which is something I really appreciate about her writing. It's not dark by any means, just real and always infused with hope. Lynette Carlisle was an interesting character to me. Seemingly the most innocent of the whole family, the weight of caring for her elderly father rests mainly on her shoulders. She's smart and talented but crippled by responsibility. Then there was Nick Cooper *sigh*. I liked his character a lot, though I would have liked to see even more of his past. Things were alluded to that made me think there's a lot more going on to him that even we know, and I'm not just talking about the mystery. Speaking of mystery, I appreciated the light touches of a mysterious past and secrets kept. I do feel as if the secrets were not quite as "big" as I wanted them to be and that the characters seemed to hold things back for no apparent reason. I would have like to have even more mystery present, then again I like suspense so that's probably why (ha!). One final character mention: Gray Carlisle. I just loved his character. Actually, part of me was hoping we would never find out about his past so that he could have his own book *grins*...but I digress. When I finally had the time to sit down and finish this lovely book (moving is stressful, people) I was drawn in by the light touches of mystery, the sweet romance, and the haunting questions of what would happen. Not sure if there's a plan for a second book, but I could totally see the opening for one. Or maybe a novella about Gray? *grins* I'd recommend this to those who enjoy women's fiction, romance, and light mystery. My rating: 4* Originally posted on my blog: _________ I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.
EpicFehlReader More than 1 year ago
This novel had an attractive environment going for it, taking place on the island of Nantucket, but really I thought the whole coastal vibe could've been played up more than it was. I didn't feel much that seemed quintessential Nantucket specifically, just characters wandering the beach or going to a local diner to eat bowls of chowder. Literally could've been ANY coastal town. I also found the characters and the plot itself to be pretty flat. Virtually no surprises for me plot wise. The dialogue was very bland and often it felt a little too scripted for my taste. Rather than being immersed in this town, I felt like I was more a distant observer watching a boring play where everyone recited their lines just so and then curtly exited stage left. When there were scenes of drama it was so overblown that it felt like the book equivalent of a soap opera. It has all the classic earmarks of soaps -- drug addiction, marital affairs, babies out of wedlock, even a wealthy businessman trying to pull off a shady real estate deal. Just mentally insert some swelling instrumentals around those scene breaks and you got yourself a heavily moralistic soap suitable for any of the inspirational / religious cable networks. The book even has a ready-to-go soap title! Note that this is just my personal experience with this book. There's a mountain of 4 and 5 star reviews for this one all over Goodreads & Amazon, so I'd say that if the plot intrigues you then grab a copy and try it for yourself. It just happened to miss the mark with this particular reviewer. FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of other reviews on this book and they were all so good. I just had to see for myself and I hoped I wouldn’t be disappointed. Let’s just say, I was nowhere near disappointed. I was sucked in and didn’t want to leave this story-world. I have never read anything by Catherine before but she has my attention now. She has written this beautiful story that is part romance, part women’s fiction and it has so much meat to it. I really like Lynette, I loved her spunk and determination, her faith and her honesty with struggling with that. Nick is a dream hero and so perfect for Lynette, he made me sigh a few times. Lynette’s whole family is a mess and I loved them, they were so real, so like many of our families. If you are looking for a book that has a lot of depth and a great romance this is the book for you. A copy of this book was given to me by through the BookLook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
The Things We Knew by Catherine West was a brilliant novel. It was a well-done family drama with secrets aplenty but the love the family had for each other was coming right off the pages. This is a family that has a lot of skeletons in their closet. We have five adult siblings- all different and dealing not only with the past they have not laid to rest, but their very turbulent present and their uncertain futures. Lynnie is the youngest and at 12 years of age her mother died, and it is a day that no one talks about and Lynnie can’t even remember. She is also the one who is still living at home taking care of their father who is losing his memories as well, but looks like he has Alzheimer’s. So Lynnie, calls in her siblings as she can no longer be the sole caretaker of her father, nor keep the house that has been in her mother’s family for generations from falling down around her and the finances are just not there. The cast of characters is absolutely fascinating, and so much can be said about them. We have David, the oldest brother, husband and a father to a set of twins, and with problems of his own. Liz, Elizabeth, is the next and the sister who seems to have it all together, if not a bit bossy and cynical, she is a lawyer and hiding some major relationship baggage. Ryan, the preacher and missionary who is somewhere in the wilds of Africa and nobody knows where. Then there is Gray, closest to Lynnie, and he is a famous musician with the problems of fame, drugs, and more. Wow! All of them find their way home to help their baby sister and father, but also finding the mercy, grace, and forgiveness they all so desperately need. Let’s not forget Nick, the next door neighbor, former best friend of Gray, and the man Lynnie is in love with. His family ties to theirs are quite heartwarming and sticky at the same time. He is also the hero, the one trying to save everyone if he can, even his own father who has been anything but. There are other characters who are very well represented as well. That is what I think that surprised me the most about this book. The storyline drew me in of course, but just how all the characters, main and supporting each had his and hers own individual voices that moved the story along. No one’s part was too small that didn’t make an impact on all these lives, either past or present. I really hope more books are coming about this family. I look forward to reading more about them. I received a copy for an honest review through Litfuse Publicity and the TNZ Fiction Guild. The opinions are my own.
jacksonmomLV More than 1 year ago
The synopsis of this book on Goodreads is exceptionally complete, so not much of a summary here from me. I can only say I wish I could have given it 6 stars - after the cafe scene, I took my husband out for clam chowder, I was THAT convinced I was in Nantucket! This is the first book I've read by Catherine West, but it won't be the last. She has woven together a great tale of family angst and healing. Lynnie wears her feelings of failure openly - she dropped out of college, works menial jobs, and worries that she can't do more for her ailing father or the homestead that is crumbling around them. But we (and neighbor Nick Cooper) see a strength and courage in her that she doesn't. Ironically, it's Lynnie's "high-achieving" siblings, lawyer Liz, rockstar Gray and executive David, that are really struggling with their hollow lives. I loved how West didn't hurry the renewal of Nick's and Lynnie's romance, and that she resisted the urge to paint a fairytale ending to the book. What she does give us is a picture of a family reconnecting with themselves and each other in spite of (or because of?!) some very common hurdles - addiction, abuse, unemployment, dementia, financial reverses, single parenthood. Through much effort at her easel, Lynnie finds the missing piece of memory that has troubled her for years, and Nick fills in the details that the family has so long misunderstood. Lives are sifted and put back on track as the family realizes what's really important. I think the title is beautiful - The Things We Knew doesn't mean to me lost secrets as much as their parents' enduring love for them. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via The Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review.
SusanSnodgrassBookworm More than 1 year ago
I'd never read anything of Catherine West's before now when I received this book from the Literary Guild for review. I must remedy that situation soon. This book was totally great, profound and heart stirring. You can read the synopsis for yourself, but please read this book. West has created a cast of characters that she lets the reader get to know individually and collectively in the story. They seem very real and all have large hearts. The plot is well thought out, in my opinion, and even the scenery, including the weather, speaks out in the story. Family secrets can sometimes destroy a family. Will they destroy this one? Or will they allow the grace of God to cover the multitude? This was a wonderful book. I am going to be more grace giving as a result of reading this one. And I must read West's other works, too. *I was given a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
This was such a great book! The author did a wonderful job of making these characters feel real. The Things We Knew is a contemporary novel, yet the author used flashbacks to slowly reveal the truth behind this family and their large Nantucket home. I loved that there was a primary story and developing romance between the characters of Lynette and her neighbor, Nick. However, there was also a very interesting storyline that captured me about Lynette’s brother, Gray, and what had happened in his life. I thought that the author did an excellent job of introducing all of the Carlisle family members to her readers, showing us where they were in life now, and then allowing us to realize how past events had been affecting each of their futures. I was completely caught up in this book and could hardly set it down. And once I did, I truly regretted that it was over and that I couldn’t read more about these characters! There was also a ribbon of a faith that wove its way through the book in a very natural and realistic way. This was the first book that I have read by this author, but I definitely plan to read more! Highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Baranski1987 More than 1 year ago
The Things We Knew by Catherine West is a most wonderful read. It was such an intense read for me that kept me riveted to my seat til the very end. A touching story that is full of love, heartache, pain, anger and the longing for the truth. Will the Carlisle family be able to overcome their anger toward their dad and become a whole family again? I know! Be sure to get your copy of The Things We Knew by Catherine West today. 5 stars. I received a copy of this book for my honest review.
BTHM More than 1 year ago
By the third chapter of this book, you've already cast the Lifetime movie in your head, and by the fifth chapter, your praying it WILL be a movie! This is a lovely story of redemption, grace and the bonds of family- those we're born with, and those we find. I have to admit I was more interested in Nick and his backstory with Gray, than Lynette as a lead character. Maybe because she seemed a bit whiny (which I hate in characters). Lynette is overwhelmed and it shows. With her siblings home, each with their own issues to solve, to solve the issue of their home and Dad's future, she finds more problems than solutions. But in the end, this is a lovely story of God's grace, forgiveness for what we thought may have occurred and of family coming back together. making it a perfect read before the holidays begin! it will be interesting to see if Catherine brings out prequels, or adds for to the book to start a series! Be sure to check this one out!
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
I received this book for an honest review from The Fiction Guild. It was a wonderful story of a family that had secrets between them but the biggest was the loss of their mother and the sister who was there and couldn't remember it. She was the youngest and dropped out of college to help her dad. Each of other siblings had their problems but none of them really ever talked about it between them and really didn't come home to help. When it becomes a choice of selling the family home they all have to come home to deal with the secrets and actually see what has happened with their dad who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. They were all sorta close growing up and the young man next store who was best friends with Gray but had a falling out when he told him of one of the secrets and caused them to stop talking for 5 years. When you have faith and a lot of hope everything can be gotten over. And the real things is when the older siblings realize that their sister is a talented artist and is able to handle a lot more then they give her credit for. I would recommend this book who wants a really wonderful story about bringing families back together.
RSSMILES More than 1 year ago
I was moved by the straight-forward humanness of these characters. Every family has their dysfunctions and the author doesn't sugarcoat the reality of life and how one thing can change a family dynamic forever. Of course, that one thing being the result of other hidden problems is also a factor. The author does a great job of drawing you into the lives of Lynette and Nicholas and their families. Lynette is such a strong but heart-breaking character. She has shouldered so much for so long that she's about to lose it all. Nicholas is great in that he has not followed in his father's footsteps and is determined to help Lynette and her family even though he's risking revealing the secret he's carried around for years. Lynette's brothers and sister each have their own life problems and have allowed themselves to stay disconnected from Lynette and the past, not realizing how bad things have gotten. As they each come home, they start re-evaluating their lives and struggle to be a family again. Will the secrets and memories that start coming to light destroy them or will the truth bring them to a place of forgiveness and grace? A wonderful, heartfelt story that touches on drugs, physical abuse, alcohol, marital strife, infidelity and the grace and mercy of God that brings them all to a place of truth, forgiveness and hope for the future! *Thanks to Litfuse for a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*
mackenzie_carol More than 1 year ago
The Things We Knew is Catherine West’s most recent stand-alone novel, and is also the first book I have ever read by her. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I agreed to review this novel through the Litfuse Group, but I was pleasantly surprised as soon as I started making my way through this book. It captured my attention very early on, and the more pages I read, the more I started to fall in love with the story. Catherine did a fabulous job of weaving together the many aspects of this novel, and I have to say that I definitely enjoyed it. Lynette Carlisle is definitely an interesting character! As soon as I learned about her talent when it came to painting, I instantly became jealous, but that moment was also the start of my love for her. She is constantly concerned for everyone’s welfare except for her own, and such selfless love is one of the many things I admire about her. I was also constantly wondering what was at the heart of her nightmares, and I can’t even explain to you how much I loved her relationship with Nick. Speaking of Nicholas Cooper; my goodness, he was definitely one of my favorite characters. I also wondered as I made my way through the story what was at the root of the hostility between him and his father, but I did know that I wanted it to end before the book was over because I couldn’t stand to see Nick in such pain over the situation. His feelings for Lynette were by far one of my favorite things about him, and I just loved the way he tried to keep her safe. Another character that I loved was Lynette’s brother Gray. Though he isn’t mentioned in the description, he does have a decent-sized role in this story, and I really loved how it played out. At the beginning, he may not seem like the best of men, considering all of the trouble he’s gotten himself in, but I love the way he works to redeem himself, and I just couldn’t get enough of his whole “relationship” with his manager Victoria Montgomery. All in all, I really, really loved this story! There was only one drawback for me, and it’s hardly even worth mentioning, but at the beginning I had a very hard time really seeing how this was a Christian novel. As I got further in, I was able to see that it was, and that the questionable things (nothing major I promise you) were just proof that while some people may be Christians, others are not and they still continue to make bad choices, but it was just difficult for me to see that at the beginning. All that said, I still feel confident I can give this novel all five bookshelves, and I’m so glad I decided to sign up to review it with Litfuse! It’s definitely a book I’m glad I now own! I received a copy of this book through the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for only my honest review. (This review is from my blog,
BethErin More than 1 year ago
Lynette might be the baby of the family but she is tough as nails. This girl is managing the burden of her father's health, their bleak financial situation, and disturbing dreams from repressed memories with little to no help from her siblings. When family friend and neighbor Nick returns to the island, he does everything he can to help Lynnie out. Eventually, the siblings start trickling back home and it's apparent that they have grown apart over the years. True to life, each sibling is dealing with problems of their own as different and complex as their personalities, relationships, and secrets. I received a copy of this book from the author for the purpose of providing an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.
A_N More than 1 year ago
Have you ever seen something that you wanted to forget? Lynnie can't remember how her mom died or so she thinks. This book is an emotional roller coaster, that had me on the edge of my seat. I loved how Cathy introduced us to the two families going through difficult life struggles. This is a book about life, and how life is messy; it's also about faith and forgiveness. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it!
SavannaKaiser More than 1 year ago
Every book I read by this author makes me a bigger fan of hers. This lovely story was no exception. I stepped inside the life of this story and had a hard time looking away. Reading it came as easily as breathing. The pages kept turning, tugging my heart with it. The Things We Knew is a tale about real-life heartache, second chances, and grace. I read the entire book in 2 days. I instantly connected with Lynette and her heart for her family. As her siblings arrive home, carrying their own hurts and hardships with them, my heart went out to them all and hoped they’d find healing. Having lost my own grandpa to dementia a couple years ago, I especially could relate to their father’s problems with Alzheimer’s. There were several bittersweet moments, but each was written with delicate care. The Carlisle family felt so real to me. I loved Nick too and his friendship with the family. I enjoyed watching his relationship with “the girl next door” develop, despite all the obstacles in their way. It added a nice sweetness to the heavier moments of the story. There is much to learn in this book – for the characters and for its readers. There is much to take away and ponder. Wonderful truths of forgiveness, grace, and compassion. What more can I say? It was beautiful. Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.