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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Just Say It by Tessa Barrie cuts deep. It is the story of a woman who is trying to find out more about her mother to understand her own self. We can choose our friends, but we cannot choose our family. Carrying forty years of pent-up emotions against her mother, Elizabeth, has given Lisa Grant the drive to use her journalistic skills and find out more about her secretive and overbearing mother. As a child, she found comfort in the love of her father, until he mysteriously disappeared to Portugal when she was seven. Her mother had concocted convincing lies to break Lisa’s ties to her father. Elizabeth remarries, and Lisa is fortunate to have a wonderful stepfather. But there is no holding back when she discovers her mother’s big lie about her father not ever trying to contact her. As she sets out to investigate her mother’s life, she will confront Elizabeth about what she has uncovered. Elizabeth will be shocked, but she will give her daughter something valuable in time.
The amount of psychological and emotional harm that Elizabeth has inflicted on Lisa over the span of forty years may fill up a miniseries. Just Say It has that sort of storyline that recurs in books and films about an unstable relationship between a mother and her daughter. Tessa Barrie offers an intriguing twist to an old trope by bringing an attitude that transcends maternal melodrama. Barrie lets you dig deep into Lisa’s psyche, and what you discover is the feeling that we all cultivate: the need to know the truth. The emotional gap between mother and daughter becomes a chasm as Lisa feels her life turning into a pile of riddles that she must answer for herself. Just Say It is a beautifully written drama filled with emotion, both tearful and humorous, and you should grab a copy if you are into intelligent books.