Reviewed by Amanda Schafer

Casey’s family is complicated. Casey’s life is complicated. Here she is, living with a Michael and his three children and she’s contemplating leaving him. The oldest child clearly hates her, the youngest clearly loves her, and the middle child, Dylan, seems to be warming to her. However, there is a part of Casey’s life that Michael doesn’t know about: Casey is a recovering alcoholic. Michael’s ex-wife, Mallory, was an alcoholic as well and it was her alcohol that caused the divorce and subsequently gave Michael custody of the children. How can Casey tell him about her past? So many times she has wanted to tell him, but has held back because she doesn’t know how he will react. Casey finally decides she will leave Michael and just disappear from their lives. Everything is ready…the note, her bags, and her heart. But as she’s walking out the door, the phone rings and it’s the school calling to tell them that Dylan is missing from school. No one has seen him or heard from him in hours.

Trying not to panic, Casey calls Michael to let him know. Michael in turn calls Mallory, who frantically comes and starts questioning Casey. The situation in the house is volatile with Mallory there acting crazy and panicky. Michael feels torn between his current love and his ex-wife. After they track down some clues and figure out Dylan is in Ohio, they decide that Michael needs to go get him. However, while Michael is gone, Mallory turns on Casey and gets her drunk. When Michael comes in and finds Casey in an altered state, he begins to question everything in his life. Oddly, Mallory is the one who is acting the most normal which is completely out of character for her. However, one incident will change everything again causing Mallory to snap back to her normal behavior and causing Michael to make a final decision regarding his family.

In Things We Didn’t Say, Kristina Riggle deals with a very powerful and explosive topic: alcoholism and how it affects families. Whether you’ve dealt with this issue from a distance or in great detail in your own life, you will find something to relate to in this story. The characters are very real, the descriptions very vivid, and the emotions very raw. None of us really know how we will handle these situations until we’re actually in them. Riggle provides us with an accurate depiction of what can happen when alcoholism gets out of control, but also the effects that secrets we hold back have on our  loved ones. Things We Didn’t Say is the first book by Kristina Riggle that I’ve ever read and I’m anxious to check out more of her work.

Rating: 4/5

Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.