Sunday, May 19, 2024

Things I Need You to Know

Things I Need You to Know by Mark Lamprell
6/4/24; 352 pages
Text Publishing Company

Things I Need You to Know by Mark Lamprell is a highly recommended novel dealing with a dysfunctional family as they grieve that turns into a psychological thriller. This is a novel that you must read to the end in order to fully appreciate the writing.

Birdie McBride and her five daughters are mourning the loss of her husband and their father. Ned was a devoted husband and wonderful stay-at-home father, allowing Birdie to pursue her legal career. Then Ned dies and leaves them all grieving and their lives upended. Birdie struggles with being a mother, working, and grieving, which leaves her relying on her oldest daughter, Charlotte, 16. Ned left behind a document for Birdie titled  "Things I Need You To Know." It is a guide to everything from household maintenance to each daughter’s emotional landscape.

Complicating the grieving process is Birdie's diva mother, singer Dawn Featherstone who must always be the center of attention. Ned's best friend, physician Marcello Architto, who is also trying to help Birdie, presents another complication as there is a long history between them.

Things I Need You to Know is a novel of a family in crisis. The narrative deals with grief and asks how a working mother can keep her family together after her stay-at-home husband dies and leaves them all floundering. Beyond that it also deals with love and trust. Birdie knew Ned loved her but she wasn't sure she totally loved him until he was gone.

Birdie is a fully realized character and all her flaws are on full display as she works through her grief and the narrative shows flashbacks from her life. She didn't always make smart decisions. She is in crisis now and looking back at poor choices she has made while realizing her flaws. In the end she uses her strengths to save her family.

There is a huge, shocking twist/revelation toward the end of the plot that changes everything, even the tone of the novel. Well played, Mark Lamprell. Your excellent writing pulled this up from an average novel to something much better. Thanks to Text Publishing for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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