More Than You'll Ever Know
reviewed by Fiona Cook
Dolores – better known as Lore – Riviera knew she shouldn’t dance with the handsome stranger who wasn’t her husband, knew she shouldn’t climb on the back of his motorcycle, knew she shouldn’t meet with him again after that first night in 1985.
But even she couldn’t have known how tragic an unravelling it would lead to, how allowing herself to make those mistakes could lead to even more trouble than she imagined in her worst dreams. Twenty-two years later, reporter Cassie Bowman is driven by her own tragic past to uncover the whole story behind a murder whose headlines intrigued her – and to capture it, she’ll need to talk to the only woman who really knows the truth.
Told in alternating timelines and viewpoints, More Than You’ll Ever Know is so much more than just a search for the truth. Don’t get me wrong – that part of the storyline is gripping, and I absolutely needed to know the story of how it all went down. But to race to that ending would be to miss a stunning novel – a beautifully-written portrayal of family, of the second coming-of-age that is getting to know the truest part of yourself rather than a number that can be reached by anyone.
It’s her expertise that gives More Than You’ll Ever Know the nuance and consideration needed to keep it from sensationalism. Bigamy isn’t excusable just because the perpetrator is female, and the book never tries to sway the reader into thinking that it is. But bad decisions never happen in a vacuum, and Lore felt real, human, and it was easy to see how stuck she was, feeling like she was playing roles in support of other lives rather than truly living her own. Cassie, too, while not the focus of the story, was a fully realized individual, one who had plenty of her own concerns – she wasn’t relegated to a key to Lore’s truth, but even found some of her own along the way.
Katie Gutierrez may be a debut author, but she writes with an insight and confidence that usually belong to much more seasoned writers. I so enjoyed this first of her novels – and I’ll be here waiting for the next.