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What’s Not Said: A Novel by Valerie Taylor
Kassie O’Callaghan’s meticulous plans to divorce her emotionally abusive husband, Mike, and move in with Chris, a younger man she met five years ago on a solo vacation in Venice, are disrupted when she finds out Mike has chronic kidney disease―something he’s concealed from her for years. Once again, she postpones her path to freedom―at least, until she pokes around his pajama drawer and discovers his illness is the least of his deceits.
But Kassie is no angel, either. As she struggles to justify her own indiscretions, the secret lives she and Mike have led collide head-on, revealing a tangled web of sex, lies, and DNA. Still, mindful of her vows, Kassie commits to helping her husband find an organ donor. In the process, she uncovers a life-changing secret. Problem is, if she reveals it, her own immorality will be exposed, which means she has an impossible decision to make: Whose life will she save―her husband’s or her own?
Have you heard the saying “What you don’t know won’t hurt you”? The thought-provoking and enjoyable novel, What’s Not Said by Valerie Taylor, proves that this is not necessarily true. Valerie Taylor has written a fascinating story that is humorous, bittersweet and complex, taking us along for the ride as middle-aged Kassie and Mike navigate their way through the unraveling of their marriage.
Kassie O’Callaghan is scrupulous about every aspect of her life, making sure that everything runs smoothly and according to plan: her job as a successful marketing executive, her affair with a much younger man, and her plan to divorce Mike Ricci, her emotionally abusive husband of 30 years. Unfortunately for Kassie, Mike is about to throw a monkey wrench in her meticulously laid-out bid for freedom. Unbeknownst to her, Mike has been battling a serious health issue for years and on the night that Kassie is going to tell him that she is divorcing him, he collapses. As Kassie is coming to terms with Mike’s failing health and reworking her own agenda, she begins to discover more and more long-held secrets, making her wonder if she’s ever really known her husband at all. Of course, as Kassie is piecing together Mike’s hidden life, her own carefully concealed double life is coming to light.
This book ticks a lot of boxes for me, but the main one is how involved I would get with the characters. On the one hand, as an outside spectator, I would find myself shaking my head at the corners that Kassie and Mike kept painting themselves into. But then I’d find myself completely sympathetic, as the characters try to figure out how to move forward without completely destroying what they are leaving behind. Kassie and Mike aren’t always pleasant, but that made the book even more realistic, engaging and compelling. This is a book that begs to be read by a group, as there are so many opportunities to compare notes about how different folks would handle the various situations and reflect on Kassie and Mike as people.
What’s Not Said: A Novel by Valerie Taylor is a clever, humorous and witty story. It’s very inspired with a perfect blend of being a heartfelt reflection of a marriage that’s outlived itself and being a farce about a couple trying to have it all and failing spectacularly. I recommend this novel to anyone who loves to read about complex relationships, and suggest that you read it with a friend, so you can have some spirited discussions!
With a unique captivating storyline, interesting characters and outstanding dialog, Valerie Taylor’s debut novel, What’s Not Said comes highly recommended by Chick Lit Café. Book reviewed by D.L. Smith for Chick Lit Café Books & Reviews.