The Fifth Letter focused on a group of four women who were faced with secrets and lies during a vacation. Eden, Trina, Deb, and Joni had been friends for over twenty years, but a recent vacation began to show the women the cracks in their relationships. When one woman revealed her true feelings toward another in the group, the result turned deadly.
At the start of their annual vacation, the women decided to write anonymous letters divulging a secret. I was surprised by their reactions when the letters were read. Rather than show sympathy towards one another as they revealed miscarriages, illegitimate children, failed marriages, and infidelity, they were actually very critical of one another. They certainly did not treat each other with the concern I would expect from a friend. It was soon revealed that a fifth letter existed because one woman wrote two letters. The fifth letter revealed some pretty aggressive thoughts by one friend towards another. Part of the suspense was trying to figure out who was upset and why.
This woman’s fiction novel was packed with emotional stories but was very focused on the present. As a result I didn’t feel like I had a good grasp on these women as complete characters. There was so little information given about the circumstances of their friendship that it was hard to believe they were even friends especially given the way they treated each, which was not very friendly. Of all the characters, I liked Joni best, because she seemed to be the most genuine. She was actually fraught with worry about which of her friends was upset and showed sympathy toward the other women.
I would place this in the beach read category. It wasn’t too strenuous to read and the secret and lies made this scandalous story feel like a guilty indulgence.