Sunday, January 29, 2017

(11)The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty


Joni, Deb, Trina, and Eden have a yearly tradition.  They get together for a holiday every year and have ever since high school. They took a break last year, but this year they resumed the tradition.  After some free flowing drinks, they agree to resurrect with a new twist.  They all are going to write anonymous letters revealing some big secret.  The others have to identify the author.  One letter reveals that a very married woman attends divorce support groups, another letter reveals that a woman has a tiny bit of a crush on another's husband.  Pretty benign stuff.  Except there is a fifth letter - a letter that is filled with such hate and threat of violence that it shocks them all.  Well, almost them all.  Joni - the main narrator of the book, seeks out a priest to help identify the writer of the fifth letter.  Will they be able to find the author before something tragic happens?

I have to say that I was a little disappointed with The Fifth Letter.  Having recently read another book about four friends on a yearly vacation (The River at Night) I felt that The Fifth Letter was just lacking. I didn't fully understand why Joni sought out a priest - especially when the fifth letter was finally revealed. It just seemed benign, almost childish.  I mean it wasn't like there was a psycho woman chasing them through the woods or anything. Both books had a friend with a controlling husband, although their outcomes were different.  I stuck with the book hoping that it would get better and really "hook" me - it just didn't.  

Bottom line - I think if I hadn't read The River at Night right before The Fifth Letter I might have enjoyed it a little more.  The concepts were vaguely similar, but the writing was so different it was glaring.  If you had to choose between the two books, I would go for the excitement in the woods.  At the very least - read them both, but months apart.

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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