The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

fifth-letterJoni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all.


The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty is a story about relationships, friendships, secrets and betrayal. The story revolves around four women, Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden. These four met when they were kids but established a friendship that lasted long into their adulthood. At first, I was so envious of the four. I have lost touch with my gals who I met in Uni(undergrad) and I found myself missing them as I read about these four. My friends and I used to play a game of ‘confessions’ which was fun and this book had me reminiscing about those days.

However, once the dark secrets started emerging, I became way less envious of the four. As a matter of fact, I was  glad that I didn’t have such friends. Nevertheless, I quickly got totally lost in their world, shamelessly enjoying the secrets and wondering how it would impact on them and their friendship.

This book is quite a captivating read. The secrets and lies made it hard to put it down. I wanted to know everything. I especially wanted to know the writer of the fifth letter. My suspicion about the writer’s identity  kept changing with each new chapter. I really thought it was Deb but then again something happened to make me suspect Trina. However, Eden did something during the retreat that made me think it was her. I also had my suspicions about Joni.

Another pleasant surprise was about the narrative style. The story is told through two timelines explaining present and past events. The past events are narrated through a confession(yes, the priest kind). One of the four women is talking to a priest about events that occurred before and after the fifth letter was written. The priest even had his own suspicions about who the writer was. I am not Catholic but I really like the whole idea of confessions. It is kind of mysterious in a way. Talking to someone who you can’t really see and confessing all sorts of things.

If you like women’s fiction, I think that this book will appeal to you. If you are like me and you enjoy reading about other people’s scandalous secrets and confessions then you will definitely enjoy this book. However, it is only fair that I mention that this book is not just about secrets (and confessions, I really should go for one), it tackles other themes that most women will relate to. I also like that it depicted the reality about how friendships change over time especially with new responsibilities of getting married and having kids. It also portrays the pressures of keeping up with friends. Being the last one in your group of friends to get married, have kids and or get that dream job? These characters were quite relatable and this helped me enjoy the book even more.

23 thoughts on “The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

    1. Hey Mikaela,yeah I found out from goodreads that they are related.There is also a third sister who is also an accomplished author but can’t remember her name right now 🙂

      1. Oh, wow, that’s so cool! A family of writers is so interesting me; I don’t really hear about them much, but since there’s families of actresses and singers, I guess it makes sense. 😂

  1. “I really thought it was Deb but then again something happened to make me suspect Trina. However, Eden did something during the retreat that made me think it was her. I also had my suspicions about Joni.” Haha – loved this! Sounds like the author did a great job if she managed to have you suspecting everyone in turn… 🙂

  2. What a unique premise for a novel! I am definitely intrigued. I also used to play a “confessions” game with my girlfriends. Luckily, it never turned ugly. Sometimes there were tears, but we were always better for it when we were done. I’ll have to check this out. Thanks for the great review!

    1. Confession games can be nice. What I remember most from ours were the giggles and laughter. I guess that most of them were about boys since we were in our early twenties. I miss the girls though 🙂

      Thank you and I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did:-)

    1. I haven’t read any of Liane’s books. I have been meaning to start with Big Little Lies since I have a copy already. I can’t wait to read it and compare her writing with her sister’s 🙂

  3. Someone else recently reviewed this book, and I remember being intrigued then, too. Lectito, I think? Do you follow her? Anyway, I thought this book might get sappy, as in the women admit they don’t love their children and/or husbands, but it sounds much more sinister than that! I’ll put this one on my TBR. Thanks, Diana!

      1. Thanks for the link. I have heard about The River at Night. Interestingly, I wanted to read it and had even requested the ARC but I didn’t get it.I am now waiting for the book to be available locally.

    1. I don’t know Lectito but I will check out her blog. This one wasn’t sappy at all. It actually turned a bit dark though I guess the main theme behind the reveal was jealousy. Having been part of such a group pf girlfriends(we were six), I thought the book was quite realistic.

      1. I’m definitely more excited about the darkness! The first story about four women that I can think of is Sex and the City. The show can get a bit sappy, but the book wasn’t lighthearted at all. Carrie’s kind of…I don’t know…regular? Whereas Sarah Jessica Parker makes the character shine a bit. If you think of really early episodes in which Carrie is always smoking and a little dank-looking, that’s what the book is like.

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