A cross-border tale about desire, family, Mexico and the pursuit of truth
In her debut novel, “More Than You’ll Ever Know,” Mexican American writer Katie Gutierrez mixes murder mistery with family drama
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In 1985, Lore Rivera marries Andres Russo in Mexico City, even though she is already married to Fabian Rivera in Laredo, Texas, and they share twin sons. Through her career as an international banker, Lore splits her time between two countries and two families—until the truth is revealed and one husband is arrested for murdering the other.
In 2017, while trawling the internet for the latest, most sensational news reports, struggling true-crime writer Cassie Bowman encounters an article detailing that tragic final act. Cassie is immediately enticed by what is not explored: Why would a woman—a mother—risk everything for a secret double marriage? Cassie sees an opportunity—she’ll track Lore down and capture the full picture, the choices, the deceptions that led to disaster. But the more time she spends with Lore, the more Cassie questions the facts surrounding the murder itself. Soon, her determination to uncover the truth could threaten to derail Lore’s now quiet life—and expose the many secrets both women are hiding.
Told through alternating timelines, More Than You’ll Ever Know , the debut novel of Mexican American Katie Gutierrez, a Laredo native, is both a gripping mystery and a wrenching family drama. Presenting a window into the hearts of two very different women, it explores the many conflicting demands of marriage and motherhood, and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.
In addition to questioning why someone would bother to have a double life, “Gutierrez’s story encompasses a global recession, the devaluation of the peso, a devastating earthquake in Mexico City and the 1986 World Cup. By slipping back and forth across borders, alternating between Spanish and English and different points of view, Gutierrez creates the impression of lines easily crossed,” wrote Chandler Baker in his book review for The New York Times.
Despite the characters ranging from white to Mexican American to Mexican, their nationalities are not central to the story, something the author pretended.
“I grew up in Laredo, a city that was 99% Mexican and Mexican American, but read one book by a Latina author until I was in college — Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street” in seventh grade. It’s outrageous that a kid who always wrote stories and wanted to be a writer never saw that life reflected in fiction. So it was really important not to make identity an issue of trauma or oppression, to let each individual’s identity just seep through the story,” Gutierrez told the L.A. Times. “I wanted Lore’s identity to center her without “othering” her and to flip the switch on what people might expect from a Mexican American woman.
Born in Laredo, Texas, Gutierrez has an MFA from Texas State University, and her writing has appeared in TIME, Harper's Bazaar, the Washington Post, Longreads, and more. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and their two kids.