Happy Wednesday! Today I have a review of Half of What You Hear, a book I had to read after reading my friend Stephanie’s glowing review. It publishes on Friday via Harper Books!
Greyhill, Virginia is known for its old money and old traditions and old…gossip.
Bess Warner, along with her husband Cole and their children, move to Cole’s small hometown of Greyhill. Bess will now live across the street from her mother-in-law, and she’s excited to take over the family’s inn.
Fitting in is not easy in a small town, especially as an adult with secrets to hide, and Bess has her share from her former career in Washington. She can feel the gossip spreading, and it hurts. Not only does she have to adjust, but so do her children.
Bess is given the opportunity to write an article of a “famous” resident of Greyhill for the Washington Post, and she scoops it up.
Susannah “Cricket” lane is a native of Greyhill and from an old, established family, but she’s been living in New York for years when she decides to return. Why she left has been gossiped about, and now the town is talking about why she is returning. As Bess interviews Susannah, she can’t get a read on whether Susannah is sincere, or if she’s trying to expose Greyhill’s community on all sides, good and bad.
All small towns aren’t like Greyhill by any means. I live in a tiny town now and have never experienced the drama or gossip; however, I also know what it’s like to move to a small town as an outsider where everyone knows each other. I’ve mentioned before in my reviews that we moved frequently when I was a child, and my father’s family was well-established when we moved to his hometown, just as Greyhill was Cole’s hometown. It IS hard to start over in a town where everyone knows your business. It also can be hard to figure out just who you are.
Kusek Lewis has written a thoughtful and illuminating take on secrets and (some) small towns. I connected to the story and its characters, and it was entertaining and well-written. It can be hard to fit in, and the author captured those feelings with authenticity and sides of drama and gossip for fun.
Thank you to Harper Books for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
From well-loved women’s fiction writer Kristyn Kusek Lewis comes a breakout novel about a woman moving to a small community and uncovering the many secrets that hide behind closed doors—perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Elin Hilderbrand.
Greyhill, Virginia—refuge of old money, old mansions, and old-fashioned ideas about who belongs and who doesn’t—just got a few new residents. When Bess Warner arrives in town with her husband Cole and their kids, she thinks she knows what to expect. Sure, moving to Cole’s small hometown means she’ll have to live across the street from her mother-in-law, and yes, there’s going to be a lot to learn as they take over Cole’s family’s inn-keeping business, but Bess believes it will be the perfect escape from Washington. She needs it to be. After losing her White House job under a cloud of scandal, she hardly knows who she is anymore.
But Bess quickly discovers that fitting in is easier said than done. Instead of the simpler life she’d banked on, she finds herself preoccupied by barbed questions from gossipy locals and her own worries over how her twins are acclimating at the town’s elite private school. When the opportunity to write an article for the Washington Post’s lifestyle supplement falls into Bess’s lap, she thinks it might finally be her opportunity to find her footing here…even if the subject of the piece is Greyhill’s most notorious resident.
Susannah “Cricket” Lane, fruit of the town’s deepest-rooted family tree, is a special sort of outsider, having just returned to Greyhill from New York after a decades-long hiatus. The long absence has always been the subject of suspicion, not that the eccentric Susannah cares what anyone thinks; as a matter of fact, she seems bent on antagonizing as many people as possible. But is Susannah being sincere with Bess—or is she using their strangely intense interview sessions for her to further an agenda that includes peeling back the layers of Greyhill’s darkest secrets?
As Bess discovers unsettling truths about Susannah and Greyhill at large, ones that bring her into the secrets of prior generations, she begins to learn how difficult it is to start over in a town that runs on talk, and that sometimes, the best way to find yourself is to uncover what everyone around you is hiding….
Have you read Half of What You Hear, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR