The Things We Leave Unsaid
by Megan Mayfair
The Things We Leave Unsaid
Is it the things we don’t say that haunt us the most?
Clare is anxious to start a family with adoring husband, Pete. When she takes on the seemingly simple task of obtaining her late mother’s birth certificate, she finds herself in a family history search that will challenge everything she thought she knew about her life.
Scarred by her parents’ ill-fated marriage, Tessa lives by three rules – dating unavailable men, building her café into a food empire, and avoiding her father. However, when her carefully planned life is thrown into chaos, Tessa is forced to decide which of these rules she’s willing to break.
As Clare and Tessa’s paths cross and their friendship grows, can they both finally unlock their family secrets in order to realise their futures?
Set in Australia, and centring upon a trendy coffee/cake shop, The Things We Leave Unsaid tells the stories of Clare and Tessa through alternating chapters.
Both women are very different. Clare, a quiet, naïve young woman, has recently moved as a result of her husband’s new job. Tessa, a confident, savvy young woman, is ambitious and decidedly single. When Clare takes a part-time job at the coffee/cake shop, the two women develop a friendship.
Tessa has devoted her time so far to creating marvellous cakes for the coffee shop, and her marketing strategy is in need of some attention. Fortunately, Clare has those skills and soon shows her worth through PR suggestions that help to attract new customers. Together, the two women work well, their skills complimenting each other and the future looks rosy.
There is some real humour to be found in the coffee shop. Co-worker Harry is quick with his one-liners, but the funniest moments come with Sam (an on-off boyfriend to Tessa) and his client Zoe; she seeks Clare’s PR help in promoting her career.
On the family front, Tessa hasn’t seen her father in years (he left the family for another woman), and is dealing with her mum’s dementia virtually alone. When her father returns to Australia, Tessa’s bitterness overwhelms her attitude to him. She struggles to let him back into her life and doesn’t want him anywhere near her mum, for fear of her being upset.
Clare and Pete are expecting their first child, amid much excitement from Pete’s large family. Clare feels a little swamped by all the attention, as she was raised by just her Nan since her mother died when she was young. As a soon-to-be mum, she is keen to find out more about her own mum but the search for birth and death certification is nowhere near as straightforward as she expects or hopes.
The author handles both characters with great attention to detail. I really felt as though I was getting to know them personally as the story progressed. Although, I did begin to find Tessa quite annoying by constantly questioning herself, and making rash decisions then regretting them. In fact, I was quite pleased when Dr Sharma – with whom she begins a relationship and then ends it as the commitment-phobe she is – turns her away when she returns with her tail between her legs. It teaches her a lesson that she needs to learn, and was quite refreshing to read. I also felt she is quite controlling regarding her father’s access to her mum, until she realises that her reaction is based on her own anger and not necessarily what is best for her mum. Again, these were very realistic emotions and behaviours.
Clare, I found to be needy, quite selfish at times, perhaps understandably so given the fact that she and Pete go through some very tough times. However, she does cut him out, as though his grief is not as real or as painful as her’s. I could totally empathise with her, and felt the author portrayed her in a very authentic manner.
As the story wraps up, it’s good to see how both women change. The issues they go through are handled with sensitivity, and are experiences that many readers will encounter themselves. The problems they overcome influence their lives positively, and they both become stronger as a result.
As the title suggests, we can never know truly what’s going on in a person’s life, and sometimes the things we omit to reveal to others are no less important in determining the way we react or the decisions we make.
This is a feel-good story (eventually), filled with real life issues and emotions. If you enjoy a compelling story, a touch of romance, fun and sadness in equal measures, then this story will serve you well.
Megan Mayfair is a Melbourne-based writer who draws inspiration from her beautiful hometown and regional Victoria to create contemporary women’s fiction, containing a big dash of romance and a spoonful of family intrigue.
With a background in public relations, copywriting and higher education, Megan is passionate about words and loves to bring them to life on the page. Megan holds a Master of Arts in professional communication and is a member of Romance Writers of Australia and Writers Victoria.
Megan is married with three children, loves a good cup of coffee and believes you can never have too many scarves.
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