Author: Valerie Taylor
In this much-anticipated sequel to What’s Not Said, award-winning author Valerie Taylor continues the tale of Kassie O’Callaghan, whose chaotic quest to have it all sets up a battle royal with a woman who has other ideas.
With the court date set for her divorce and the future she’d planned with a younger man presumably kaput, Kassie O’Callaghan shifts attention to reviving her stalled marketing career. But that goal gets complicated when she unexpectedly rendezvous with her former lover in Paris. After a chance meeting with a colleague and a stroll along Pont Neuf, Kassie receives two compelling proposals. Can she possibly accept them both?
Kassie’s decision process screeches to a halt when her soon-to-be ex-husband has a heart attack, forcing her to fly home to Boston. There, she confronts his conniving and deceitful fiancée—a woman who wants not just a ring on her finger but everything that belongs to Kassie. In the ensuing battle to protect what’s legally and rightfully hers, Kassie discovers that sometimes it’s what’s not true that can set you free.
[What’s Not Said #1 Review]
What’s Not True is the direct sequel to What’s Not Said. While it is ideal to read both novels to fully connect with the characters and story, there are enough pieces of the backstory throughout this novel to help the reader understand everything. The recap elements were well done as they are informative enough for those that did not read the first novel while not being too in-depth to be too much for those that only need some recap. The story continues to follow the main cast of characters after the unexpected ending for them in the first novel.
Kassandra (Kassie) O’Callaghan, a woman in her fifties, is in Venice where she was originally going to meet her best friend Annie; however, her friend had other plans. Instead, Kassie reunites with Christopher (Chris) Gaines, who she met in Venice five years before and started a secret long-distance affair, even though he is ten years younger. As a recap for the previous novel, Kassie and Chris were planning to start a life together and Chris even relocated to Kassie’s side of the United States in Boston from his house in San Francisco. However, Kassie’s divorce plans from her husband, Michael Ricci, went haywire after he landed in the hospital in need of a kidney transplant. Their story was further complicated as Chris learns about his birth parents, where Mike is his father and Karen Copperman, who used to reside in Elephant Butte, New Mexico, but relocated to Boston. Karen ends up being the kidney donor for Mike and the two of them restart a relationship together. As Mike is moving on with Karen and he and Kassie are working on finalizing their divorce, the events led Kassie to take the trip to Venice.
The story starts off where the first novel left off with Kassie in Venice with Chris and the two of them are going to Paris together. There two main stories as the reader follows Kassie and Chris trying to work everything out given Chris’s relationship with Mike. The other storyline follows Mike who is now with Karen, but is not entirely sure about the direction his life is going. On the other hand, Karen is determined to make her relationship with Mike work and replace Kassie’s existence in everyone’s lives. Additionally, Chris’s adoptive parents, Charlie and Sarah Gaines play a role in the story after the discovery of Chris’s biological father and their previous history with Karen. The novel is complex as all of the stories all intertwine with each other with one twist after another. Even towards the end of the novel, the twists did not stop, so the novel leaves the reader on the edge of their seat from start to finish.
Overall, this is a complex soap opera with multiple affairs, betrayals, and journeys of self-discovery. There are some nice themes of regret and life decisions as some of the characters think about the mistakes they made along the way and if they would do things differently if they could go back in time. All of the characters in this story have their own flaws and some are more likeable than others. I loved how well-written and realistic they are. They may not be perfect, but they are each working to try and find their own happiness, which looks different to each of them. Each character reflects on different decisions from their past and how some of these decisions worked out and others led to consequences. Each of them is working towards finding a way to make decisions for their future as they continue to journey through life. An excellent sequel that was a great addition to the series!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, She Writes Press, and the author for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**