5   +   7   =  

Jack and Laura have reached one of those points in their marriage where everything is just about perfect. So what else is there for them to do but go and mess it all up? Rory Dunlop’s What We Didn’t Say describes the break up and separation through a series of messages, texts, diaries and emails.

After some time apart Jack has sent Laura his written account of the break-up of their marriage and what he’s been doing while they’ve been separated. He’s brutally honest at times but Laura is a feisty protagonist too and doesn’t shirk from being candid to the point of cruelty at times. As Laura reads Jack’s account of their life together, and apart, she makes helpful notes and suggestions that not only tell us what happened but also suggest that other things may be happening that we’re not aware of. Although the reader is well informed, Laura is bound to be more perceptive than the audience; after all, she’s known him for years and understands him better than we do.

There are twists and turns aplenty in the plot, possibly more than might be found in a popular soap opera. But there is a big difference between the drama in these pages and the drama of an average soap. The coincidences are so well contrived and so unlucky for Jack and Laura that, if you came across the events happening in real life, you would say they were so odd or unlucky that you couldn’t make them up. That’s the thing I liked best about this novel. It’s really satisfying to read something that is so sharply written, with closely observed and properly flawed characters that are so honestly reflective of human nature that they’re impossible not to like.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good love story. It’s a proper good book for any time of year but especially in these winter months when you need something that is warm, rich and fulfilling without being cloying or overly sentimental. Overall What We Didn’t Say is one of the best books I have read all year – a real delight.

★★★★★

What We Didn’t Say was published by Twenty7 on 6 October 2016

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