Watch this review of The Fifth Letter and other bookish videos on my booktube channel.
Many many thanks to my literary pal Eduardo for recommending this book to me!
In it, four women who have been friends for longer than 20 years take a girls’ getaway. During their trip, they decide they will each write an anonymous letter, confessing their deepest, darkest, all-consuming secrets.
One woman writes too scathing of a letter, then burns it in a fit of nerves and replaces it with another, more innocuous one before the others find out.
Hahahaaaaa! They always find out!
The book hinges on these two questions:
- Who wrote the fifth letter?
- What bad things will come of it?
This sort of plot and indeed the name “Moriarty” may seem familiar, and that’s because it is! Nicola Moriarty is the younger sister of Liane Moriarty, she of Big Little Lies fame.
I won’t say Nicola follows it completely, but she does seem to follow the Liane Moriarty book formula:
- We follow the friendship of an intimate group (2 – 4) of very different women.
- Each woman has a Very Important Issue she’s secretly carrying around.
- There’s a central mystery that’s hinted at in the beginning of the book, then teased out with excruciating slowness in glimpses throughout the rest of the book.
You can definitely see the pattern here, but I won’t hold that against the book or the author! Some of my favorite authors have figured out a formula, and then plugged most of their subsequent books into said formula. For instance:
- Dean Koontz: There’s a super evil, supernatural force out there. But a special someone with a pure heart and quirky humor can snuff out that evil. Who wins? (spoiler alert: good always triumphs)
- Harlan Coben (in his non-Myron Bolitar books): People are enjoying normal, suburban life, when WHAM! Down drops a big mystery. It seems like all is lost, and oftentimes, a main character winds up dead.
- Nicholas Sparks: Two lovelorn people are jaded against love. Against all odds, they find love with each other! They share at least one passionate night, and then one of them often dies.
Yes, the books are formulaic. But, with the exception of Nicholas Sparks, I love these authors! I will steadfastly read them. You might even see them on my bookshelf in the background of my videos.
Bottom line: This book is good and so is the author. Can’t wait to read more!