The Fifth Letter (Nicola Moriarty, 2017)


Why did you choose this book?

I order books for the fiction collection at my library.  I read the synopsis of this one while deciding whether or not to buy it and was immediately intrigued.  Also, Nicola’s sister is Liane, who wrote “Big Little Lies.”

What’s it about?

A group of four friends, who have been inseparable since elementary school.  As a bonding exercise, the clingiest of the group (Joni) suggests that they all write an anonymous letter containing a secret, to be read out loud to the group and discussed.  Someone writes an extra letter, having gotten cold feet after pouring out their dirtiest secret – that they are so jealous they want to kill or maim another member of the group.  Who wrote it?




I wanted this book to be good so badly.  “The Fifth Letter” borrows from the format and style of BLL, and is well-written, but OMG I didn’t care.  I never really felt that the characters were in danger, and to be honest, I didn’t really care if they were or not.  I also thought the revelations of secrets at the end of the novel were blah.

Refresher (here there be spoilers)

No really, this is a book summary/plot synopsis

Ok, I warned you…

The secrets:

Trina: feels like a bad mom, abusive husband.  Saw that coming and all moms have insecurities about motherhood.

Joni: a bunch of secrets – just have an honest convo with your hubby already!  So many misunderstandings could have been avoided.

Eden: Claimed to have had a baby as a teenager, but really was scarred as a result of a rape and the fact that her mother never believed her about what happened.  Pushes Joni, who cracks her head open on the edge of the pool and almost dies.

Deb: attends a divorce support group as a result of her parents’ divorce when she was a child.  Wants to kill Trina (but not really – “I would never act on it!”), because Trina (who doesn’t remember this) used to make fun of her for having warts on her hands.

Also, Eden’s hubby and Joni almost kissed, which sends everyone into fits of jealousy.  Dudes, calm down.

And there are sections where Joni “confesses” the whole story to a priest, basically as an excuse for the author to explain occurrences to the reader without actually describing the whole scene.  I think in the end Trina ends up dating the priest, who decided to become a psychiatrist after listening to Joni’s confession.  He was my fave character, which should tell you something.

I read this entire book in 3 hours (which is rare for me with adult fiction), and I kind of wish I hadn’t even given it that much time.