Things We Never Say by Sheila O'Flanagan

"Most people are good." Abbey sat down again. "Most people want to do the right thing by each other. Only sometimes we don't know how." 

Title - Things We Never Say
Author - Sheila O'Flanagan 
Publisher - Headline Review
Publication Date - April 24th 2014 
Format - Paperback (Provided by publisher)
Pages - 512

The blurb

The irresistible new novel from No.1 bestselling author Sheila O'Flanagan. Abbey Andersen is the last person to go looking for change. Yes, it's tough that she barely sees her mother these days - but in San Francisco she has great friends, a steady relationship and a job she enjoys. When Abbey is contacted by Irish lawyer Ryan Gilligan she learns in an instant everything she believed about her roots is a lie. She must travel to Dublin to find out more - but she's scarcely off the plane when she's plunged into a new crisis. One that will change everything not just for Abbey but for the family in Ireland who had no idea that she even existed. Now Abbey has to make a choice that will affect everyone she knows. How can she be sure she makes the right one? And can life ever be quite the same again? 

Becca's thoughts

Firstly, a huge thank you to BookBridgr and the publishers Headline Review for providing me with a review copy of Things We Never Say by Sheila O'Flanagan.

Things We Never Say focuses mostly around the Fitzpatrick family; Donald, Gareth, Suzanne, and the women brought into the family by marriage, Zoey and Lisette. And of course, the character from which the whole story stems from, Fred Fitzpatrick, the father/father-in-law. 

After building up his business and coming away with a whole lot of money, Fred is now living in the lap of luxury. His wife is no longer with him, but Fred has a huge house, expensive cars and a whole lot of regrets behind him. It seemed to me like Fred's children were waiting for the man to die. Right from the very beginning, they talk about Fred's will, and wonder who their father/father-in-law is going to leave his home too. They discuss it freely amongst themselves, and I just couldn't help but feel sorry for Fred. He knew what they were talking about. He knew that they were all waiting for him to pop his clogs, but there's one thing that Fred's children didn't know about their father. It seemed that Fred had secrets all of his own, and a past that no one knew about.

Abbey Andersen and her mother Ellen Connolly are linked to the Fitzpatrick family. Abbey has a grandfather and her mum is adopted, and Ellen's real father is still out there and he wants to talk to her about what happened all those years ago. It's clear that Fred is desperate to make amends. He's feeling guilty about something but Abbey doesn't know exactly what that something is. With the help of an investigator, Fred sends handsome Ryan Gilligan in search of Abbey and her mother, with a message that Fred wants to meet with Ellen. 

Luckily, Abbey is given the chance to see Fred in the flesh. Her mother Ellen can't go because of personal reasons that you find out about later in the story, but Abbey is intrigued with this man and this whole other side to her life that she had no idea existed. Whilst visiting Fred, Abbey is horrified when he collapses and dies. What follows is the reading of Fred's will, and Abbey cannot believe what Fred is willing to give to Abbey and her mother...

Honestly, booklovers, this was one hell of a read. Family playing a huge role, money playing another... Each character has been given their own unique personality and I just couldn't help but shake my head in disgust at the way Fred's will was torn and grabbed at. 

Donald was the eldest of the Fitzpatrick children, therefore he felt like it was his given right to take charge of any matters such as their father's will. I found Donald to be quite stubborn and set in his ways, but on another level, I can understand his uproar when the will is read to them all and he doesn't exactly get what he wanted. Also, when Ellen Connolly is brought into the picture, Donald realises that he is no longer the eldest. It's like he panics because he's losing control of the family. He just wanted money and lots of it. 

And don't even get me started on his vile wife Zoey. A money-grabbing blonde who went on shopping trips constantly, wracking up the bills on Donald's credit cards! Zoey's weapon was her looks and charm though. She looked good and she knew it. Therefore whenever Donald would to kick up a fuss about the money that she had been spending, all Zoey had to do was bat her eyelashes his way, and she was forgiven. I didn't like Zoey at all. She snooped and she gossiped. I just had this image of a sort of Stepford Wife. 

Gareth was the younger brother of the family, and to be honest, I didn't really get any sort of bad vibe from him at all. It seemed to me like he followed Donald a lot of the time. He sort of agreed with what Donald said and didn't really have the courage to argue against him, and if he ever did, it sounded all meek and scared. I can't blame him though, Donald is rather terrifying when he gets started. All red-faced and a bit of a hulk impressionist. 

Lisette was Gareth's wife. Again, I felt like she was the meeker version of Zoey. Although when the two wives are coupled together, they do tend to get up to some sneaky things! Lisette also seemed to me like she was the more level-headed one of the two women. The reading of the will didn't send Lisette into as much of a tizzy as it sent Donald, but she had her eye on the prize for other reasons, such as the huge debts that she and Gareth have wracked up from dabbling in the property market. Lisette actually liked Fred, she went round to Fred's house a couple of times a week and did some shopping for him, but she always had her eye out for the will. 

Suzanne, who isn't around much of the time due to trying to start her own business abroad, was probably the only one of the Fitzpatrick women that I liked. She and her father Fred never got on and you find out why as you read the book. It kinda' stems from when she was a young girl, and Fred was very watchful over her. Suzanne isn't too fussed about the will, although the money would help to get her started on her business adventure. 

And then Abbey Andersen and her mother come into it and it all goes topsy turvy. It got very exciting, there was drama and a bit of a family feud begins to take place. Each family member begins to get worked up, each with their own particular reason, and it was just so enjoyable to read! 

Becca's Books is giving Things We Never Say by Sheila O'Flanagan four scrumptious cupcakes. It was a whirlwind of secrets and uncovering the truth. And I loved it! 


1 comment :

  1. This is a brilliant introduction to Sheila O'Flanagan's latest novel - and what a prolific writer she is! I feel like I know the characters already!