Guest Review: The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty – @mgriffiths163

Today, my guest reviewer Mandie gives her thoughts on The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty.

tflThe Official Book Blurb

A fun vacation game turns destructive, exposing dark secrets, deeply buried grudges, and a shocking betrayal in Nicola Moriarity’s intriguing debut.

Four friends . . .

Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina have been best friends since high school, sharing a bond that has seen them through their teenage years and into adulthood. But now, time and circumstance is starting to pull them apart as careers, husbands, and babies get in the way. As their yearly vacation becomes less of a priority—at least for three of the women—how can Joni find a way to draw the four of them back together?

Four secrets . . .

During a laughter and wine-filled night, the women dare one another to write anonymous letters, spilling their deepest, darkest secrets. But the fun game turns devastating, exposing cracks in their lives and the friendships they share. Each letter is a dark confession revealing shocking information. A troubled marriage? A substance abuse problem? A secret pregnancy? A heartbreaking diagnosis?

Five letters . . .

Late on one of their last nights together, after the other three have gone to bed, Joni notices something in the fireplace—a burnt, crumpled, nearly destroyed, sheet of paper that holds the most shattering revelation of all. It is a fifth letter—a hate-filled rant that exposes a vicious, deeply hidden grudge that has festered for decades. But who wrote it? Which one of them has seethed with resentment all these years? What should Joni do?

Best friends are supposed to keep your darkest secrets. But the revelations Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina have shared will ripple through their lives with unforeseen consequences . . . and things will never be the same.

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty is about 4 women who have been best friends since high school. This friendship has seen them through quite a lot but with the passage of time they are not as close as they once were due to life and circumstances getting in the way. Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina all meet up for their annual get away only this time, after a little too much alcohol, they decide that it would be a good idea for each of them to write an anonymous letter detailing a secret that the rest of the group doesn’t know about. What starts out as a seemingly harmless game ends up exposing buried grudges and betrayals. Then there is the “fifth letter”, written by one of the group who had a change of mind about the secret they were about to share.

I must admit the premise of the book had me interested. You just knew that something was bound to go wrong. After all, if Joni and co were once a really close group surely these secrets would not exist between them. And if those secrets did exist for all this time, how would sharing them now, even anonymously, be remotely a good idea? Just goes to show nothing good happens when alcohol is involved.

Joni seems to be the driving force behind this group of women. She was the one who banded them together as a group at school after something that one of their teachers said. She is also the one who arranges the annual holidays, coordinating schedules and booking the accommodation. Some of the story is also told from her perspective which could distort the telling of events that take place as we all know that different people see things in different ways.

Now I am not going to spoil the story by giving any clues as to what was in each letter, but human nature means that of course, despite trying to hide handwriting styles, after each letter was read the guessing games would begin to see who could work out who wrote which letter.

Inevitably the friendships are tested and some don’t quite survive, maybe proving that some things are better left unsaid.

For me although the book was well written and you get to see into the lives of these four friends, there is one part of the ending that just seemed a bit odd and out of place. That being said it is still an enjoyable read about friendships and the test they can endure.

3 stars.

My thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Penguin UK – Michael Joseph, for providing an ARC of this book. It is released on 23rd February and can be ordered at the following links:

Amazon UK



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