Author: Cat Shook
Published by: Celadon Books on Apr. 18, 2023
Genres: General Fiction
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: Celadon Books
Book Rating: 8/10
For fans of We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange and All Adults Here by Emma Straub, Cat Shook’s debut novel If We’re Being Honest is the snappy, smart, heartwarming story of the Williams family, and the sweltering summer that rewrote their history.
When Gerry, the beloved Williams patriarch, dies suddenly, his grandchildren flock from across the country to the family home in Eulalia, Georgia. But when Gerry’s best friend steps up to the microphone to deliver his eulogy, the funeral turns out unlike anyone expected. The cousins, left reeling and confused, cope with their fresh grief and various private dramas. Delia, recently heartbroken, refuses to shut up about her ex. Her sister Alice, usually confident, flusters when she spots her high school sweetheart, hiding a secret that will change both of their lives. Outspoken, affable Grant is preening in the afterglow of his recent appearance on The Bachelorette and looking to reignite an old flame with the least available person in town. Meanwhile, his younger brother Red, unsure of himself and easily embarrassed, desperately searches for a place in the boisterous family.
The cousins’ eccentric parents are in tow, too, and equally lost—in love and in life. Watching over them all is Ellen, Gerry’s sweet and proper widow, who does her best to keep her composure in front of the leering small town.
Clever and completely original, If We’re Being Honest reminds you that while no one can break your heart like your family can, there’s really no one better to put you back together.
Complex, heartfelt, and absorbing!
If We’re Being Honest is a tender, hopeful, multi-generational story that delves into all the emotional bonds and intricate ties that exist between family members and immerses you in a tale about confronting the past, accepting the things you cannot change, following your heart, learning to heal, and embracing whatever comes next.
The prose is well-turned and fluid. The characters are flawed, troubled, and bitter. And the plot is a captivating tale about life, loss, heartache, grief, guilt, love, secrets, resentment, revelations, acceptance, familial drama, friendship, hope, forgiveness, and introspection.
Overall, If We’re Being Honest is a nuanced, uplifting, character-driven debut by Shook that was a good reminder that family can be frustrating, messy, secretive, and sometimes hard to love, but they can also be surprising, supportive, loyal, and the only true place that feels like home.
This novel is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to Celadon Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.