Truths I Never Told You : A Novel
On Sale Date: April 14, 2020
Imprint: Graydon House
$16.99 USD, $22.99 CAD
Fiction / Historical
ABOUT THE BOOK:
After finding disturbing journal pages that suggest her late mother didn't die in a car accident as her father had always maintained, Beth Walsh begins a search for answers to the question -- what really happened to their mother? With the power and relevance of Jodi Picoult and Lisa Jewell, Rimmer pens a provocative novel told by two women a generation apart, the struggles they unwittingly shared, and a family mystery that may unravel everything they believed to be true.
With her father recently moved to a care facility because of worsening signs of dementia, Beth Walsh volunteers to clear out the family home to prepare it for sale. Why shouldn’t she be the one, after all? Her three siblings are all busy with their families and successful careers, and Beth is on maternity leave after giving birth to Noah, their miracle baby. It took her and her husband Hunter years to get pregnant, but now that they have Noah, Beth can only feel panic. And leaving Noah with her in-laws while she pokes about in their father’s house gives her a perfect excuse not to have to deal with motherhood.
Beth is surprised to discover the door to their old attic playroom padlocked, and even more shocked to see what’s behind it – a hoarder’s mess of her father’s paintings, mounds of discarded papers, and miscellaneous junk. Her father was the most fastidious, everything-in-its-place man, and this chaos makes no sense. As she picks through the clutter, she finds a handwritten note attached to one of the paintings, in what appears to be in her late mother’s handwriting. Beth and her siblings grew up believing Grace Walsh died in a car accident when they were little more than toddlers, but this note suggests something much darker may be true. A frantic search uncovers more notes, seemingly a series of loose journal entries that paint a very disturbing portrait of a woman in profound distress, and of a husband that bears very little resemblance to the father Beth and her siblings know.
A fast-paced, harrowing look at the fault in memories and the lies that can bond families together - or tear them apart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide and USA TODAY bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, Me Without You, and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. Please visit her at www.Kelly.Rimmer.com
Barnes & Noble:
September 14, 1957
I am alone in a crowded family these days, and that’s the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced. Until these past few years, I had no idea that loneliness is worse than sadness. I’ve come to realize that’s because loneliness, by its very definition, cannot be shared.
Tonight there are four other souls in this house, but I am unreachably far from any of them, even as I’m far too close to guarantee their safety. Patrick said he’d be home by nine tonight, and I clung on to that promise all day.
He’ll be home at nine, I tell myself. You won’t do anything crazy if Patrick is here, so just hold on until nine.
I should have known better than to rely on that man by now. It’s 11:55 p.m., and I have no idea where he is.
Beth will be wanting a feed soon and I’m just so tired, I’m already bracing myself—as if the sound of her cry will be the thing that undoes me, instead of something I should be used to after four children. I feel the fear of that cry in my very bones—a kind of whole-body tension I can’t quite make sense of. When was the last time I had more than a few hours’ sleep? Twenty-four hours a day I am fixated on the terror that I will snap and hurt someone: Tim, Ruth, Jeremy, Beth…or myself. I am a threat to my children’s safety, but at the same time, their only protection from that very same threat.
I have learned a hard lesson these past few years; the more difficult life is, the louder your feelings become. On an ordinary day, I trust facts more than feelings, but when the world feels like it’s ending, it’s hard to distinguish where my thoughts are even coming from. Is this fear grounded in reality, or is my mind playing tricks on me again? There’s no way for me to be sure. Even the line between imagination and reality has worn down and it’s now too thin to delineate.
Sometimes I think I will walk away before something bad happens, as if removing myself from the equation would keep them all safe. But then Tim will skin his knee and come running to me, as if a simple hug could take all the world’s pain away. Or Jeremy will plant one of those sloppy kisses on my cheek, and I am reminded that for better or worse, I am his world. Ruth will slip my handbag over her shoulder as she follows me around the house, trying to walk in my footsteps, because to her, I seem like someone worth imitating. Or Beth will look up at me with that gummy grin when I try to feed her, and my heart contracts with a love that really does know no bounds.
Those moments remind me that everything changes, and that this cloud has come and gone twice now, so if I just hang on, it will pass again. I don’t feel hope yet, but I should know hope, because I’ve walked this path before and even when the mountains and valleys seemed insurmountable, I survived them.
I’m constantly trying to talk myself around to calm, and sometimes, for brief and beautiful moments, I do. But the hard, cold truth is that every time the night comes, it seems blacker than it did before.
Tonight I’m teetering on the edge of something horrific.
Tonight the sound of my baby’s cry might just be the thing that breaks me altogether.
I’m scared of so many things these days, but most of all now, I fear myself.
Excerpted from Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer, Copyright © 2020 by Lantana Management Pty Ltd. Published by Graydon House Books.
Q&A with Kelly Rimmer
Q: What inspired you to write Truths I Never Told You?
A: The idea behind the story started with a curiosity about post-partum depression. I heard the statistic that one in five women develop the condition after the birth of a child and I was so shocked by it. I thought to myself—given how common this is, why don’t we talk about it?
Q: Which character do you relate to the most in Truths I Never Told You?
A: Most of us feel like victims of our circumstances at some point during our lives, at least for brief periods of time. I’ve certainly felt that way before—but writing a character like Grace, who lived in time where she had very little choice over how her life unfolded, really put that feeling into perspective for me. I loved writing the character of Beth too. To me she is loyal, loving and brave—but also ultimately humble and willing to be vulnerable. Despite that, my favorite character in this book was Maryanne—she’s fierce and determined and so courageous in her pursuit of change and knowledge, and that extends to a willingness to learn harsh lessons from life itself. Although Maryanne makes some heartbreaking decisions along the way, she always remains true to her values. A groundbreaking feminist like Maryanne represents something of a bridge between Grace’s powerlessness and the easier access Beth has to a life she can control.
Q: What message do you hope readers take away from your story?
A: I hope that the story encourages people to talk more about how difficult early motherhood can be, and to be more aware of how new mothers in their lives might be feeling isolated or struggling.
Q: Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?
A: I’m a compulsive planner – I always know exactly where the story is going to go, before I actually start writing it. I’d never finish writing a book if I tried to wing it, and I’m so impressed by writer friends who can just fly by the seat of their pants!!
Q: Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?
A: Because I plan my books, I tend not to let my characters run away with the plot too much, but the way they engage with the action and make the plots unfold sometimes surprises me.
Q: Which one of the characters in this novel was the hardest to write and why?
A: It was very difficult to put myself into Grace’s shoes. Even writing a character with depression is challenging, but trying to immerse myself in the world of a woman who was so isolated with her struggle and so unsupported by her broader community was heartbreaking. I interviewed more than a dozen women as I was researching for Grace and Beth’s stories, and I have so much admiration for them and for all women who walk a journey with postpartum depression.
Q: Which character in any of your books (Truths I Never Told You or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?
A: In my last historical fiction novel, The Things We Cannot Say, I wrote a character named Eddie, who is a seven year old boy with autism spectrum disorder. I wanted to write about a child with ASD who is both loved and loving, and who is defined by his strengths as much as his challenges. Eddie will always be a very dear character to me, and I’ve been so honored by the way readers around the world have responded to him too.
Q: What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?
A: I knew I wanted to be an author from a very early age. My dad remembers me telling him in Kindergarten that I was going to write books “when I grew up”!
Q: What does a day in the life of Kelly Rimmer look like?
A: Every day is different, especially at the moment when I’m self isolating at home and trying to school my children too!! I always try to fit in some time outside either tending to the garden or walking the trails on our property, but beyond that, it’s generally an unpredictable mix of reading, writing, teaching and cooking or cleaning.
Q: What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?
A: I try to have two manuscripts on the go at any one time. If I get really stuck, I just switch books. I also skip scenes if they aren’t coming easily. For me, finishing a draft is all about momentum – so if I hit a point in the story where I can’t quite keep the words flowing, I’ll just write around it and come back to it later.
Q: What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?
A: I still really love the way it feels to picture a story, and the challenge of trying to translate the ideas in my mind into words on the page will always thrill me. It’s taken a while for me to learn how to balance that creative side with the more pragmatic aspects to publishing. As a writer at home tapping away at your keyboard, you’re master of the story and it’s an intoxicating power – but as an author working with a whole team of people at your publisher, you have to learn how to be flexible. I’ve slowly learned that for my books to be as good as they can be, I don’t just need to endure editorial feedback, I need to learn to relish it. When I’m immersed in the story, I just can’t see the big picture the way my editors can. The author’s name goes on the spine, but the best books are the result of the work of a whole team of people at the publishing house too.
Q: What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?
A: No word you write is ever wasted, even if it doesn’t end up in a book. Most writers I know have thrown out entire manuscripts at different points during their career. You have to learn how to okay with the idea that sometimes you’re writing just to refine your voice or to figure out what does and doesn’t work for you. You have to love storytelling enough to be willing to do it even if the manuscript is never destined to become a book.
Q: What was the last book you read?
A:I’m currently reading (and loving) an advance copy of The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson, which will be published in late April.