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Book of the Month Review + Coupon: December 2023

Jeanne Sager
ByJeanne SagerFeb 28, 2024 | 0 comments

Book of the Month Club orange logo on the side of a book

Book of the Month
4.1 overall rating
37 Ratings | 13 Reviews

Book of the Month is a monthly book subscription box. Each month, five curators pick out their favorite new hardcover books, and you can choose which one you want to receive on the first of the month for $17.99/month. You can also add up to two additional books for only $9.99 each. (This box was named one of the best subscriptions for avid readers in the 2023 Subscription Box Awards.)

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)

My BOTM Pick for December: No One Can Know by Kate Alice Marshall, Hardcover Retail Value $24.64

Book title No One Can Know by Kate Alice Marshall lies on its side

Back of Book Summary:

Emma hasn’t told her husband much about her past. He knows her parents are dead and she hasn’t spoken to her sisters in years. Then they lose their apartment, her husband gets laid off, and Emma discovers she’s pregnant―right as the bank account slips into the red.

That’s when Emma confesses that she has one more asset: her parents’ house, which she owns jointly with her estranged sisters. They can’t sell it, but they can live in it. But returning home means that Emma is forced to reveal her secrets to her husband: that the house is not a run-down farmhouse but a stately mansion, and that her parents died there.

Were murdered.

And that some people say Emma did it.

Emma and her sisters have never spoken about what really happened that night. Now, her return to the house may lure her sisters back, but it will also crack open family and small-town secrets lots of people don’t want revealed. As Emma struggles to reconnect with her old family and hold together her new one, she begins to realize that the things they have left unspoken all these years have put them in danger again.

My Summary

It's a tale as old as time — girl meets boy, boy gets girl pregnant and loses both his job and all of their money, forcing girl to return to the home where her parents were brutally murdered when she was just a kid.

OK, so maybe it's not the "girl returns to her childhood home" story you were expecting, but Kate Alice Marshall's psychological thriller No One Can Know takes you on one heck of a journey, twisting and through the maze of childhood trauma. Emma Palmer's just found out she is pregnant when her husband admits he's lost his job and the bulk of their savings to boot.

As a freelance graphic designer, Emma doesn't have much in the way of funds to keep them afloat. What she does have are the keys to the childhood home she hasn't visited in years, a home you quickly learn was the site of her parents' murder. The murderer was never found, but the police did have a prime suspect — Emma herself.

Soon the version of her life that Emma's crafted for her husband unravels and with it comes questions about her marriage, the man she married and the secrets each has kept from the other. Meanwhile No One Can Know's dual timelines and multi-perspective story sends you shuttling back and forth between the days in the Palmer household before and around the murder and the days in the Palmer home in the present. Not only do you get to know Emma and her siblings but come to understand that they are as much victims of their parents as their parents are victims of murder.

Marshall's novel introduces a host of possible killers along the way — from Emma's two sisters Daphne and Juliette (who now calls herself JJ) to crooked cops and a former maybe love interest/maybe protector — but as much as this is a whodunit novel, it's also a story of what happens when victims of childhood abuse grow up.

The Verdict

I hadn't even gotten to the first page of my December Book of the Month Club selection, and I already knew I was going to like it. The evidence was written out there on the dedication page:

"This one is for my parents. Which is kind of awkward, now that I think about it. They're really lovely people. I promise."

I giggled, of course, and felt an immediate kinship with an author with a sense of humor that matches my own slightly dark and quirky bent.

This psychological thriller was far from a funny read, but much in the way those four sentences created an instant feeling of connection with the author, Marshall's evocative writing established a firm connection with her protagonist. You can't help but feel for Emma Palmer, even as you wonder if she might be responsible for her parents' violent deaths.

Orphaned as a teenager, cut off from the only family she knew and made a pariah by her small town, you see a woman who has seemingly gotten a second chance at happiness, only to watch it slip away. Then page by page, you come to challenge your understanding of what happiness really is, and what it means to face the past as Emma fights to clear her name before her child is born to the town murder suspect.

Value — Was This Box Worth It?

One of the many things I love about BOTM is the ability to grab hardcovers before they are actually available to the general public, and No One Can Know as another early release that was not available on bookshelves when it arrived in my mailbox. In fact, it won't be released in hardcover until late January 2024!

With that in mind — not to mention all the twists and turns that made this book hard to put down — this Book of the Month Club pick was definitely worth it.

BOTM Club starts at $17.99, depending on your chosen subscription.

The Cost: $9.99 + free shipping (This price is only for your first month).

Value Breakdown: This box costs $9.99, but the book I chose will retail as hardcover for $16.00, which was a discount of about $5 for me. (Remember...this is first month only).

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this book if you sign up today? Yes! But you will need to order it as an add-on.

What do you think of the Book of the Month subscription? Let us know below with your own review!

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Book of the Month is a popular online subscription service for books that helps millennial women discover the best new reads. We announce a curated selection of between 5 - 7 new and early release hardcover books every month. Members choose one on the site, and we ship it to them in a bright blue... read more.

Jeanne Sager
Jeanne Sager
Jeanne Sager has strung words together for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and more. A writer, photographer, and social media geek, she lives in upstate NY with her family and too many pets.

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