Thursday, June 21, 2018

Things I Never Told You - Thatcher Sisters 1 - by Beth K. Vogt

 Cover: Things I Never Told You

This was a wonderfully written book about sisters who don't know how to relate to each other and then one of them is suddenly diagnosed with cancer.  Payton's twin sister died ten years ago and she's never really dealt with her loss or guilt over her sister's death.  She switched her life plans and everything looks completely different than she thought it would at the age of sixteen.  Now she's having nightmares about her sister, losing sleep and not understanding why now.  Zach, a classmate from high school, suddenly reenters her life, wanting to make amends for his part in her sister's death but she wants none of it.  He tries to tell her about his faith in Jesus but she's not interested, especially when this same faith was pulling her sister away from her that last year.  Is now the time to really grieve and come to terms with the loss of her sister?

Jillian's finally getting engaged after she feared she would never get married when she's hit with a cancer diagnosis.  Will her fiance still love her or will he stay out of pity?  Their oldest sister, Johanna, has to always be in control and butts heads with both sisters as she tries to plan not only a wedding shower for Jillian but tries to push her into a new plan for her wedding.  Meanwhile, she's been engaged to her fiance for years and they have a long-distance relationship.  What's holding her back?

I really liked the characters, especially Payton, Jillian and Zach.  I felt really sorry for Payton and can't imagine how hard it would be to lose a sister, much less a twin.  There was an almost otherworldy quality as she keeps dreaming that her sister is talking to her and asking her questions but it's made obvious that these are just dreams and she's not a ghost.  However, that doesn't stop her from feeling haunted.  I play volleyball, too, so I felt I had a little in common with Payton; I could relate more to Jillian, including her personality, except for the cancer diagnosis and Johanna drove me nuts!  I would probably be like Payton and challenge her more than Jillian because her need for controlling everything would get to me.  I'm interested to explore more of why Johanna is the way she is as we don't get inside her head like we do the other two.  I also like that we get Zach's viewpoint.  He seemed like a great guy who had turned his life around and was willing to do the hard things is that was what God asked of him.  I really admired that.  There's a little bit of romance but the story focused more on dealing with grief and learning how to move on and choose to live.  It wasn't done in a depressing way, though.  Payton also started to look at her sister's faith with Zach's help.  It's always interesting to have a main character who isn't interested in God at all and see their journey.  I would recommend this book if you like contemporary issues, books about sisters and women or just a well-written story.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

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