Only Ever Her by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen – Book review

I was first introduced to Marybeth’s work when I reached out to our Instagram followers in search of a drama similar to one of my new (to me) favorite TV shows: One Tree Hill. The book? When We Were Worthy. It featured familial drama, small town conflicts, and life altering events that reach everyone in the community – AKA, all the things that make me love OTH. So when I saw she had another release coming? I added it to my TBR immediately without reading the synopsis.


It was to be the perfect wedding—until the bride disappeared.

Annie Taft’s wedding is four days away, and it will be one of the grandest anyone can remember in her small South Carolina town. Preparations are in order. Friends and family are gathering in anticipation. Everything is going according to plan. Except that Annie herself has vanished. Did she have second thoughts?

Or has something much worse happened to the bride-to-be?

As the days pass, the list of suspects in her disappearance grows. Could it be the recently released man a young Annie misidentified as her mother’s killer? Could it be someone even closer to her?

While her loved ones frantically try to track her down, they’re forced to grapple with their own secrets—secrets with the power to reframe entire relationships, leaving each to wonder how well they really knew Annie and how well they know themselves.

My thoughts

First things first, I want to address a misconception – mostly on Goodreads, but also kind of rooted in synopsis itself. While this does contain suspense aspects, the bulk of the story focuses on how the individuals that are “left behind” deal with Annie’s disappearance. As previously mentioned, I went into this without having a full understanding of the synopsis, which I absolutely recommend.

This book was so genuinely special, and had me wishing that it would never end. It was beautifully written with just a dash of suspense, compelling me forward in search of the truth – where is Annie, what really happened to her mother all those years ago, and how will the community going to cope with the repercussions of these events?

LOL sorry couldn’t resist, guys
I loved the characters and genuinely saw them leaping off the pages. Honestly, I’m still sitting her, wondering how their realities are going to change as a result of the conclusion of the book. What I enjoyed most, however, was how Marybeth captures the emotions and sense of community in a small town in the midst of crisis and controversy. Unless you’ve lived it, breathed it, and just flat out know it from personal experience, it’s hard to accurately project what happens in a small community. She truly capture the perceived social obligations, the personal struggles, and the community relations that ultimately dictate alliances.

Honestly, I just plain adored this book and can’t wait for Whalen’s next publication! Thank you so much to Lake Union Publishing for providing my review copy. It’s always my privilege to share my honest thoughts and opinions with.. well, anyone who cares to listen!


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