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Review: Everything We Didn't Say by Nicole Baart

Title: Everything We Didn't Say
Author: Nicole Baart
Year published: 2021
Category: Adult fiction (mystery/thriller)
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2021 Google Reading map)USA (IA)

SummaryJuniper Baker had just graduated from high school and was deep in the throes of a summer romance when Cal and Beth Murphy, a childless couple who lived on a neighboring farm, were brutally murdered. When her younger brother became the prime suspect, June’s world collapsed and everything she loved that summer fell away. She left, promising never to return to tiny Jericho, Iowa.

Until now. Officially, she’s back in town to help an ill friend manage the local library. But really, she’s returned to repair her relationship with her teenage daughter, who’s been raised by Juniper’s mother and stepfather since birth—and to solve the infamous Murphy murders once and for all. She knows the key to both lies in the darkest secret of that long-ago summer night, one that’s haunted her for nearly fifteen years.

As history begins to repeat itself and a dogged local true crime podcaster starts delving into the murders, the race to the truth puts past and present on a dangerous collision course. Juniper lands back in an all-too-familiar place with the answers to everything finally in her sights, but this time it’s her daughter’s life that hangs in the balance. Will revealing what really happened mean a fresh start? Or will the truth destroy everything Juniper loves for a second time? Baart once again brilliantly weaves mystery into family drama in this expertly-crafted novel for fans of Lisa Jewell and Megan Miranda.

Review: Good old Book of the Month. Though I am woefully behind on the books I've gotten through the program, they are almost always great choices. While this book took a while to get going, I really enjoyed it.

Present day winter chapters refresh family drama, small town Jericho gossip, and violence, and alternate with summer chapters from fourteen and a half years ago when the original murders took place. I like books that do this, with the two timelines converging about mid-way as details are revealed.

Juniper is a character that I mostly liked. Years ago she abandoned her life in Jericho, her family, her daughter, and more. She was 18 and overwhelmed. As an adult she doesn't seem all that much better able to handle her family's dynamics. However, she is trying and I like that she persisted in finding out the truth even when everyone in her small hometown did their best to dissuade her. 

I understand that the climax of the mystery needs to come at the end of the novel, but it felt quite drawn out. However, I liked this book and recommend it.

Challenges for which these count:  
  • Cloak and Dagger

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