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Welcome to the TLC Book Tour for Things We Didn’t Say


Synopsis:

Edna Leigh Casey prefers to be known as simply “Casey.” Named for a great-aunt, Casey is, at twenty-six, too young to be known as Edna. She is also ten years younger than her fiancee, Michael, into whose home she moved when their relationship became serious. Within the span of a year of meeting Michael, Mallory took on the role of stepmother to his three children, Angel, Dyan, and Jewel. The transition has been difficult for all of them.

Casey feels like her relationship with Michael has come to revolve entirely around the children, for whom she bears the bulk of responsibility, and the household. Michael is facing the real possibility that he will lose his job as a newspaper reporter, given the dismal state of the industry. Mallory, an unstable addict, rarely abides by the visitation schedule, further complicating matters. The stress threatens Casey’s delicate grip on sobriety, especially in light of the fact that she has managed thus far to keep her past a secret from Michael.

It is all too much for Casey, who is about to leave Michael without a word, quietly slipping away while he is at work and the children are at school. But then the school calls to report that Dylan is absent and unaccounted for, even though Michael drove him to school that morning and watched him walk into the building. Suddenly, Casey cannot leave and finds herself drawn back into a family dynamic, including Mallory’s overbearing presence, that threatens to overwhelm her.

Review:

Author Kristina Riggle
Author Kristina Riggle tells the story of a blended family trying to learn to live together from the perspective of the various characters, adopting their different voices in successive chapters. The result is a penetrating look at teen-age angst, parental guilt that leads to a hasty new relationship and abdication of responsibility, and a young woman’s desire to love and be loved in spite of her own troubled past.

Riggle hits just the right notes with her depictions of the resentful, jealous Angel who desperately needs the female role model and mentor that her mother can never be. Still, she cannot accept Casey’s new place within the family. She acts out as a result of her loyalty to her mother and acknowledgment that her father has chosen his own escape route. Dylan is a sulking, quiet teenager with a speech impediment that becomes more pronounced when he is under stress. Jewel, only eight, still cries for her mother and, although she is closer to Casey than the older children, wishes that things could be the way they used to be when her parents were together.

Michael feels his father’s disappointment in him acutely. A successful physician, his father has never approved of either Michael’s career choice or his marriage to Mallory. Michael has had to turn to his parents for assistance — financial and emotional — on more than one occasion and, in fact, lives in his childhood home which he shared with Mallory prior to their divorce. Michael has no awareness of appreciation of the anxiety and loneliness Casey has experienced.

The central character is this family drama is, of course, Casey, the young woman with a past about which she is very much ashamed, who has poured herself into her new family to the exclusion of everything else. Disrespected by Jewel, she has enjoyed some tender moments with Dylan and Angel, but those instances are not enough to sustain her when she feels abandoned and used by Michael. After all, she is the interloper in the eyes of the children and their mother, who has her own selfish agenda. Any woman who is a stepmother will empathize with Casey’s longing for the intimate, romantic relationship she had with Michael at the outset before the demands of another woman’s children and a household that does not feel like it is her own left her feeling isolated and confused, especially when Michael allows Mallory to stay with them as they search for Dylan.

Of course, none of the characters have shared their feelings with each other nor gained an appreciation of how the other family members perceive their place and role in the family. It takes Dylan’s disappearance for them to realize that in order for their family to survive, they must open up to each other.

Riggle explores what is means to be a family and the manner in which a failure to communicate with each other can have explosive consequences with sensitivity and compassion for her characters, none of whom are fully good or fully bad. Rather, each is flawed in his/her own fashion, and afraid of expressing their feelings for fear of being rejected. The plot is devoid of contrivances, particularly with regard to Dylan’s naive and potentially dangerous encounter with a teenage girl who turns out to bear no resemblance to her online self-portrayal.

Ultimately, Michael and Casey can no longer escape a searching examination of their relationship and determination of whether it can survive, and Michael must decide whether he can accommodate Casey’s needs while also living up to his responsibilities to his children. Readers will find themselves hoping that the characters find a way to remain together by dealing with each other in a more open, healthy manner. It is a compelling story of a quintessential American blended family that will both break readers’ hearts and cause them to cheer. I highly recommend Things We Didn’t Say.

I read Things We Didn’t Say in conjunction with the 2011 Read ‘n’ Review and Outdo Yourself Reading Challenges.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one copy of Things We Didn’t Say free of charge from the author in conjunction with the review and virtual book tour program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This disclosure complies with 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Enter to Win a Copy of Things We Didn’t Say

One lucky reader, selected at random, will receive a copy of Things We Didn’t Say, graciously provided by the author.

To enter, simply post a comment! Be sure to include your email address (for notification and delivery purposes). The book can only be shipped to a United States or Canadian address (no P.O. box).


The comment posted by Teresa at Teresa’s Reading Corner was selected at random and a copy of Things We Didn’t Say is being sent to Teresa!

Thanks to all who participated!


46 Comments

  1. I have had this book on my wishlist for awhile – the story looks like it will be entertaining and emotional while I always love a book that is written from many different points of view.

    kdurham2@gmail.com

  2. Colleen Turner

    I cannot wait to read this book! I read The Life You’ve Imagined last year and loved it, so have been waiting for her new book to come out. I would love the chance to win a copy!

  3. Krystal Larson

    This book looks terrific, I love the plot and the concept behind it. edysicecreamlover18ATgmailDOTcom

  4. I’d love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. Mary Ward

    I have this on my list of wants. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. I’ve been hearing great things about this one and would love to read it. Please count me in!

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

  7. This is the first review I’ve read for this book and now, I’m ready to give it a try!

    reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

  8. Denise Z

    I have not heard about this book before and I have generally read a lot of action, but sometimes I need a break and want to follow a story of other peoples lives and challenges – it helps me see my own from a new perspective and allows me an emotional outlet, giving me the chance to step away and see my own self more clearly. I love a good story that faces family challenges and dynamics that are so real and following how the characters deal with the situations placed on their life path. Thank you for sharing about what sounds like a very interesting book and for the lovely giveaway opportunity. I would love to read it.

    dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

  9. mamabunny13

    This sounds like an interesting story and would love to read it.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  10. thanks for the opportunity to read this wonderful novel 🙂

  11. Stephanie

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  12. Thanks for the giveway! Sounds like an interesting book chock full of family dynamics!

  13. Linda Kish

    I would love to win a copy of this book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  14. Patricia

    Fascinating premise. I’d love to win.
    patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

  15. Brittany Gale

    Sounds like a great story! I’d love to win it 😀

    quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

  16. Sounds great! Glad to hear you loved it. Please count me in. Thank you!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  17. Sounds great, but what does this mean: “Within the span of a year, Michael and Mallory took on the role of stepmother to his three children, Angel, Dyan, and Jewel. “

  18. The plot sounds very intriguing. I’d love to read this story. Thank you for the opportunity to win it!

    nicnac63 AT hotmail DOT com

  19. Pingback: Kristina Riggle, author of Things We Didn’t Say, on tour July 2011 | TLC Book Tours

  20. As a stepmother who raised three of my husband’s children, I’m very interested in reading Things We Didn’t Say. Thanks for the chance to win!

    debbie AT exurbanis (dot) com

  21. This sounds like an intriguing read about relationships and being a stepmother. I would like to read it.

  22. I would love to win this book. It looks really good. I did a live chat on twitter a week or so ago with the author and it made me want the book even more 😀

    Hope to win

    Laura Kay
    anovelreview(at)yahoo(dot)com

  23. Anita Yancey

    I would love the chance to read this book, and find out how the story ends. Please enter me. Thanks!

    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  24. I love the sound of this book. I can’t wait to read it.

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  25. Nancye Davis

    This sounds like a great book! I would LOVE to win a copy!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  26. Lisa Garrett

    I love books about families! Mine doesn’t seem quite so dysfunctional when I read about others. 🙂

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  27. Meredith

    Sounds like an interesting story–and sounds like stories we hear so much about with troubled families.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  28. Pingback: Book Review Blog Carnival - Man of la Book

  29. What a striking title! “Things We Didn’t Say”

    I am adding this book to my reading list

    Please enter me in this Giveaway:

    madley (AT) cogeco (DOT) ca

    Thank you!
    Patricia

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