When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.


My Thoughts: A story that could have been ripped from the headlines, Not That I Could Tell was a reminder that secrets, lies, and possible violence could be hiding behind any of the doors in a friendly neighborhood.

From the police and the media presence to the suspicious behavior of several normally sociable neighbors, there is a sense hovering in the neighborhood that nothing will ever be the same in the quiet small town of Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Izzy is new to the neighborhood, and smarting from her own feelings of betrayal when her best friend and potential love interest marries her younger sister. Clara, who hosted the party and who has her own past connections to domestic violence, is suddenly hypervigilant. Then there is Paul, the almost ex-husband of Kristin, moving back into the house after his wife has gone missing…and acting sad and victimized by it all. But what is really behind his behavior? What had happened between them? How would the neighbors learn to cope with events?

As the story winds down and with the police unable to close the case, a few things happen unexpectedly that bring out the final secrets and reveal everything that was unknown. The story was interesting, with some characters I enjoyed…but I figured out much of what was happening long before the end. However, there were some missing pieces that I enjoyed watching unfold. 4.5 stars.***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.


81+iucjYd9L._SL1500_In Pirriwee, a beautiful little Australian village on a peninsula by the sea, a lovely school seems an unlikely place for the cauldron that is brewing.

It all comes to a climax on Trivia Night, a costume-like event that is a fundraiser, but also a finale for the storms that have been brewing since the beginning of the school year.

One little boy. A charge of bullying. A petition that has been circling. Secret domestic violence. Cheating. Big secrets coming to light. These and other conflicts have divided the mothers, the children, and the community.

Three women are the centerpiece of Big Little Lies. At a crossroads, they each have secrets and the lies they tell themselves are even bigger than the ones they tell others. Jane, the new mum, with her adorable boy Ziggy, is hiding horrific secrets about his paternity. Celeste, the beautiful rich mum, whose handsome husband Perry has a hidden dark side, has twins, Josh and Max. And Madeline, the most likable of them all, is sometimes loud, often boisterous, and seems to enjoy conflict. But she is very sad that her fourteen-year-old daughter Abigail has chosen to move in with her dad and his new hippie-like wife Bonnie, completely forgetting that he abandoned them for the first half of her life.

How will the tensions building between the families play out? What will Celeste do about the dangerous secret she is hiding? And how will Madeline deal with the latest foolish prank her daughter has pulled? And will Jane keep running, or can she finally accept the truth she has just realized?

There are peripheral characters, like Harper, referred to as one of the “blond bobs,” seemingly caricatures, but their behavior and attitudes reflect the dangers of the clique-like mentality of the parents in the school. And then there is Renata, a mum whose passion takes on a form of scariness.

The climactic Trivia Night came to a smashing conclusion, and even though I already knew many of the secrets by then, more came crashing down around the characters like a stunning blow. Nothing would ever be the same again for the community. But would some good come from the events, a healing kind of balm? The story had a hopeful ending, which I loved. If I could, I would grant ten stars to this book. 5.0 stars.