Review

When We Were Worthy by Mary Beth Whalen

Book coverPublished:Lake Union
Date:12th September 2017
Format:e-ARC
Pages:278
Genre:Mainstream Fiction
Source:Publisher via NetGalley

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When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.

At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall?

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When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen was a really good, thought provoking story. It is set in the small town of Worthy, where the local high school football players are kings – and full of themselves. Alongside them are the cheerleaders and it is these girls who form the basis of the book.

The story is told mainly from the alternating points of view of…

  • Marglyn – mother of Mary Claire one of the cheerleaders. We first meet her when she has just had an argument with her daughter and made a choice that displeases her daughter. Through this relationship the story explores the mother/daughter relationship and what is good parenthood and all the emotions that go with that.Darcy – mother of Graham, who is about fifteen years of age. She is split from her husband Tommy who went off with someone else. Darcy married young and is now only thirty-six. She is really annoyed when Tommy buys Graham a new car – sure to make him esteemed among his peers.
  • Leah – a young sophomore cheerleader and friend of Mary Claire, Keary and Byrnne. On the night of a fatal accident she is split from her friends for a reason and so misses a fatal accident. She has a secret and we watch her make a journey of courage, trust and truth as the story reveals itself.
  • Finally Ava, new to Worthy, with a husband who suddenly seems to have deserted her. She has two young children and is a sub teacher at the high school. As she is trapped into something not of her making I felt for her as those she should have been able to count on for support abandoned her.

This story fully engaged me, I didn’t mind going from one character point of view to another. It was realistic and showed the foibles and weaknesses – even evil of human nature, people’s blindness – sometimes by choice, to what goes on around them. It also explores parenthood, friendships, the difficulties of fitting in and being accepted. Most of all it shows how trust, hope, truth and love are so important and are what really counts.

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