Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Time to Tell” as Want to Read:
A Time to Tell
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Time to Tell

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  68 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Set between the 1950s and the start of the 21st Century, "A Time to Tell" is the poignant story of Cara, from her dramatic attempted suicide to her roles as a smitten eighteen-year-old, wife, widow and grandmother, and her final, passionate reunion with the man she has always loved. It is also the parallel tale of Cara's prodigal son Benjamin and his daughter Penelope, who ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Pen Press (first published December 13th 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Time to Tell, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Time to Tell

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Oct 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A Time to Tell (Maria Savva)
A fantastic story. Spanning from the 1950's to present A time to tell is the story of one family's life. Set right in the center is the Matriarch Cara. She has a deep secret that has haunted her, and is still doing so to this day. Her children each have their own inner demons they must conquer and face. This family is torn apart due to this past sin and Cara is determined to somehow pull them all back together to what they once were. But can she pull off this seemingl
Mar 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indie
What a family! Everyone has his or her own dysfunctional way of dealing with a situation whether it is suicide, alcoholism or abuse. Each person's inability to cope is fascinating, while at the same time, mundane. Assumingly set in an average class of people, the seemingly extraordinary behavior becomes ordinary. What happens within the family and behind closed doors is swept away and neatly hidden, or expressed as a private matter that will be dealt with, but never really is. The people presuma ...more
Paul Keefe
Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A Time To Tell is the spellbinding story of Cara Hughes, and the dark secrets that plague her and her family. From the time she first falls in love, and that relationship’s tragic ending, to meeting her first love again as an elderly woman, we are transported as voyeurs through the heartbreak of Cara’s life.

Now, confined to a wheelchair, Cara must confront the torrent of problems that have coursed their way down through her family, washing over each in turn, inflicting suffering on those she tru
Mar 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This is my latest novel. 'A Time to Tell' is a romantic drama/family saga which spans 50 years and three generations of the same family. It is the tale of Cara, an elderly woman who has regrets about secrets she has kept from her family. As the novel progresses, we see how these secrets may have affected the lives of her loved ones, and she reaches a point in her life when she feels that she must reveal all, even though it is the last thing she wants to do. It is also a story about Cara's grandd ...more
Jen Knox
Oct 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A Time to Tell is a great book. The story is multi-faceted: part mystery, part love story, part psychological thriller. I loved the swift touch Savva seemed to have with her scenes, painting them in soft, wide strokes that caused this reader to feel comfortable to lose myself in the scene without being over-burdened by detail or under-burdened by sloppy writing.
The only minor complaint I had was with the perspective shifts. When visiting Cara's past, we're in italics, and thrust as though into a
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Powerful & Emotional Insight Into Relationships & Forgiveness

Wow!‘A time To Tell’ is a potent story that packs a punch. From the very beginning, we are drawn in by Cara Hughes dramatic, failed suicide attempt. What follows is an emotionally charged page turner spanning over 50 years of Cara’s life. Maria Savva is an exceptional storyteller, bringing the many colorful characters to life as they face some of the darker issues, which trouble today’s society. Abusive relationships, secrets,
Julie Powell
Oct 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
A Time to Tell raises important issues surrounding what has been named ‘domestic violence’. It was interesting (and sad) to see how history repeated itself throughout the generations, echoing the tragic dilemma of humankind.

However, the switch between ‘times’ was cleverly done in this sophisticated story of Cara and her family, giving a good insight into the relationships to which we can all relate.

A Time to Tell has a great prologue that creates enough intrigue to pull in the reader and has a
Jerry Travis
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fiction
After reading this book, I ordered two more! I've already got a person in mind to send one of the extras to, and the other I'll keep around for the future. (I almost always keep a copy of anything I've read, for reference.)

Within the pages of "A Time to Tell", intertwined with a compelling story, is the stark reality of domestic violence. From time to time, I do a little psychological counseling for people who either can't afford or won't go to see a professional counselor, and I can't think of
Darcia Helle
In this sweeping saga, Maria Savva beautifully captures family dynamics, the secrets we keep from the people we love, and the damage caused by the lies we tell.

Cara is the family matriarch, and on the surface she is not particularly likable. Then we look deeper and we see her damaged spirit. We find the broken part of her, long buried, and we learn how one event, one misunderstanding, changed everything. Cara covers her pain with strength, but also with secrets and lies.

Cara's family, her chil
Mar 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a novel about secrets. It begins with Cara as a young woman attempting suicide, and most of the novel takes place in Cara's old age, as many of the secrets within her family begin to unravel.

From the first scene, the first big secret is born. Cara is attempting suicide because she's discovered that her lover Frederick is a married man. She then quickly marries Billy, the man who saved her from drowning. But what she can never admit to anyone is her suspicion that their first child, Benja
Laura J. W.
Mar 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
I found A Time to Tell compelling and looked forward to reading it every day, (I very often found it difficult to put down! Always a good indication of a good read.) It is a solid, complex story that rolls along with a steady, and at times, breathless pace. It has a distinct, emotional voice that speaks from Cara’s point of view that is clearly from her generation. Cara is hobbled by the psychological second-guessing of her actions in the past, which is a chronic aspect of the human condition, w ...more
Katherine Marple
May 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Maria Savva's A Time To Tell was beautifully written. It's a story that follows an aging old woman who travels through all her memories in present tense. It's about losing love- making sacrifices- learning to love again- caring for people who make mistakes- forgiveness- and learning to accept others, including all of their falicies.

A Time To Tell was also about miscommunication. In the story, we witness Cara, the aging storyteller, being neglected. She is old and has mulitple sclerosis, so cann
Tiffini Johnson
Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a complicated family!

It is also a book whose topics (domestic abuse primarily) that need to be discussed in ways such as Savva has done. It's told in a voice that most of us can relate to in at least some way. She paints very good descriptions and draws very realistic people for whom the reader can easily feel for. I wish that the back and forth POVs were a little easier to follow: assuming you're in one POV because the words are italicized and then learning you're not in the perspectiv
Trish Lamoree
Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An exploration of how being a victim once can cascade throughout generations within the same family, each generation sure that theirs is the only one with the problem. Maria Savva explores the depth of both the abuser and the abused without the great dramatics of Oprah. Instead, she steps into the issues softly and gently as if your grandmother's hand led you to discover the deepest secrets that no one ever really should have kept.

A Time to Tell flows perfectly between the time lines of all thre
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book as I have never read anything from this author before, but I’m so glad I did. It’s been the first book in a while that I couldn’t put down. I just had to keep reading to find out what would happen to the characters. If I had to label it, I would say family drama, contemporary.

There was always a lot going on, and a lot of it sad. I admit, at times, I did think that too much was going wrong—but thinking about what has happened to many people I know, I r
Andrea Howarth-Salazar
Apr 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I would definitely recommend this - I read 'A Time to Tell' in just one day. I found that I really identified with Cara from beginning to end and shared her feelings throughout her rollercoaster ride of family revelations! There was a sense of deep satisfaction in the ending when Cara was reunited with Frederick. The plot is complex and the themes socially relevant, but in the end it was the character and feelings of Cara that hooked me and I found myself reading on to find out what would happen ...more
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern, fiction
'A Time to Tell'is a very well written book that tells the fictional story of a girl called Cara through her life span from teenager wife widow to grandmother. It is a story of loverelationships and the dark side of domestic violence. This is an eventful story which is sad and disturbing at times. The story is carefully written in respect to some what disturbing issues that can unfortunately occur within some relationships. Domestic violence is not often talked about openly within our society. M ...more
Georgiann Hennelly
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A Time To Tell spans one Familys life from the 1950's to the present. Set in the center is Cora the Matriarch. She has a deep secret that haunts her still to this day. Her children have their own inner demons they must face and conquer. The family is torn apart due to this last sin and Cora is determined to somehow pull them all back together as a family again. But can she pull off this impossible feat? An emotional heartfelt read. Ms Savva takes us into the hearts and minds of her characters. A ...more
Apr 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Holy horrible, melodramatic soap opera of a book...enough said...
Mar 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, england
An interesting tale of family secrets and domestic abuse. Another change of pace for me from the whdunits I'm so fond of.
Authors Express
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A complex story about the life of Cara Hughes, I found this to be captivating from the first page. A family troubled from early on, the book spans a period of about fifty years beginning with an attempted suicide.

Cara met and fell in love with a man and believing the feelings to be mutual, she succumbs to his needs. And her own. Young, pregnant and expecting a future together, she's devastated to learn he's already married. And has other children. She doesn't tell him she suspects she is pregnan
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can people change: A Time To Tell by Maria Savva
So many families can resonate with this book. Can people change? Can families mend? The circa from 1950's Cara's teen years ( the main character) to now her golden years. We read how events within a family shapes others futures within the family. Domestic abuse is a horrible thing for families to go through. My heart was broken many times reading this. Cara has lived through a broken heart since her teen years. The secrets she kept, the secrets her
Maria Haskins
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Time To Tell is part mystery, part romance, part character study, and I really enjoyed it. It’s an insightful and piercing look at a family where secrets and lies have shaped people’s lives for decades, and about what happens when those lies and secrets are exposed. The main character Cara, carries a very big and very heavy secret from her past: it’s a secret that weighs her down with regret and sorrow and even anger, but as dark as that secret is, there are also brighter memories of love and ...more
J. King
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
I struggled a great deal with this book: I was slow getting into it; the characters at times seemed to behave randomly; I found numerous missed story opportunities (e.g., that looking after Cara might have been just the thing to treat Tom's depression, that Cara might have required a fundamental shift in how she saw herself before she forgave Gloria); some of the prose felt overly expositional (sequences of "Who cares?" with bits of "Wow!" in between); I often felt the characters changed their p ...more
Nov 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
I had high expectations of this book, too high as it turns out. Reviews and star ratings indicated a worthwhile exploration into the nature of family secrets and domestic violence. By page 100 I gave up in disappointment having suffered through paper thin characters, all too speedy resolutions of conflicts and secrets and the implausible re-emergence of a lost acquaintance, all of which are more suited to a poor tv soap than a highly acclaimed book.

Having read again through the reviews on this s
Klaudyna Z.
Aug 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: kindle-books
I can't figure out why everybody gave this book such high ratings. I didn't like a single character in this book. They all had secrets that they were keeping from one another. I felt like Cara didn't have the balls to own up to her mistakes and I couldn't believe that she acted like she didn't care about how her son Ben was abusive and almost killed his first wife. I thought Penelope was too pushy and Gloria was just a bitch. The ending was terrible too because I felt like there was no real clos ...more
Dierdra McGill
Sep 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A Time to Tell was not a page turner but the story was enough to hold my interest. Parts got repetitive and boring for me and at times I just did not like the characters at all. This was more in the second half of the book as I did enjoy the first half but I really did not care for the "twist" and the ending.
Overall I probably would not recommend this book but I did enjoy the first half so felt like I should at least do 3 stars.
May 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
The writing was okay but the characters...... There wasn't a single one I liked. They all kept secrets, saw how others secretly adversely affected people and then still kept their mouths shut. They just buried their heads in the sands. It takes passive aggressive to a whole new level. And it gets two 5 star reviews from the author on good reads. What's up with that?
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
The kindle version of my novel 'A Time to Tell' :)
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: on-nook
I didn't care for this book. I thought it was predictable, cliche, and not very well written.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Cutting Edge
  • Molly Hacker Is Too Picky!
  • Beyond My Control: One Man's Struggle with Epilepsy, Seizure Surgery & Beyond
  • Gone
  • Caraliza
  • Thalo Blue
  • Ladies and Gentlemen...The Redeemers
  • The Concert Killer
  • The Wraith
  • Here All Along
  • Eyeleash: A Blog Novel
  • Digger's Bones
  • Dream On
  • The Games Men Play
  • Sin and Vengeance
  • B-Sides and Broken Hearts
  • The Devil and Preston Black (Murder Ballads and Whiskey)
  • The Lexical Funk

Writer of novels and short stories, multi-genre. Maria's short stories have appeared in the BestsellerBound anthologies and the Mind's Eye Series of books, as well as the online magazine The Write Launch:

Maria is also a music blogger at the Real Rock And Roll blog:

Look out for current news about her writing on her website: http://w
More about Maria Savva

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • An Empty Cup
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Underground River
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Word Game
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fraulein M.
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sister of Mine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bury What We Cannot Take
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Searching for Grace Kelly
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Bricking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Thunder and Rain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • All Grown Up
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Light of Hidden Flowers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ecstasy
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Elephant Keeper's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Virtues of Oxygen
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Home to Harmony (Harmony #1)
    $11.14 $1.99
  • Dog Crazy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Towers of Tuscany
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Who We Were Before
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River, #2)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Sin No More (Reverend Curtis Black)
    $10.39 $1.99
  • The List
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Lost & Found
    $5.74 $1.99
  • A Watershed Year
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Savage
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Designer
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Novice: A Story of True Love
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Go Away Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Leaving of Things
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Flower
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lisette's List
    $11.99 $1.99
  • This Burns My Heart
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Journeys of Socrates
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.20
  • An Absent Mind
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Book of Ruth
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Covenant
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Digging In
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
    $11.99 $12.99
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Going Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • In Between Days
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in the Glass
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Super Sad True Love Story
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Prayers and Lies
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Go the F**k to Sleep
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Just a Couple of Days
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Girls from Corona del Mar
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Daughter of Union County
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • Delicious!
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Embers
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Sugar Men
    $3.99 $1.99
  • You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Last Storyteller: A Novel Of Ireland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stiltsville: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • To the Bright Edge of the World
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Patriots
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Flicker of Old Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All the Good Parts
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Food of Love
    $3.99 $1.99
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow
    $11.99 $2.99
  • A Scattered Life
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • An Amish Buggy Ride
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Elizabeth Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $4.99 $1.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Sinful Calling (Reverend Curtis Black #13)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On a Cold Dark Sea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • My Lady Viper (Tales from the Tudor Court #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Edward Adrift
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $1.99
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »