Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Secrets Between Us - Louise Douglas

Sarah has suffered a devastating double blow in her personal life, and has temporarily escaped from her painful loss to Sicily with her sister May and her sister’s husband Neil. There she meets handsome Alexander and his young son Jamie one day by the hotel pool, then on two more occasions, and suddenly Sarah is falling deep into something that will change her life. She leaves everything she knows behind, her life in Manchester, her friends and family, and moves to live in Somerset with Alexander and Jamie as a nanny and housekeeper. A new start, where no one knows her. But this is no straightforward new life leading to romance; this is not what she thought it would be like. Instead, Sarah finds herself right at the centre of a family torn apart by anxiety at the mysterious absence of beautiful, talented Genevieve, Jamie’s mother and Alexander’s wife.

Rich in description of the setting and surroundings, and with a mysterious air throughout, this is such a compulsive novel, with very short chapters of the kind that make you think ‘oh just one more before I put it down!’ Though the original premise was surprising to me, that Sarah would just up and leave her supportive family having met this man so briefly, when she was in an unsettled emotional state, I did get drawn into the storyline and intrigued as to the outcome. I did marvel at how much Sarah trusted Alexander despite him seemingly sharing so little of his past with her. This adds to the intrigue of the storyline. The pace really picked up in the second half of the book as the investigation intensified and the author built towards an exciting ending.

At the end of the book, the author mentions in her notes that she was influenced by some themes from the classic gothic novels she loves, such as ‘Rebecca’, and certainly I noticed echoes of ‘Wuthering Heights’ with the eerie tapping at the window of the trees during a storm at Avalon, the house Sarah inhabits with Alexander and Jamie, and the mysterious supernatural hints at a presence within the house calling to Sarah. She also captures the sense of isolation Sarah feels, at being in a small village where there is a tight community and she is the unwelcome outsider who people are suspicious of. The old houses, abandoned barns, the old disused quarry, all add to the atmospheric portrayal of this place.

I read and reviewed this novel as part of the Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge. Thank you to them for providing the novel and for the opportunity to be part of this. The book was provided free and my review is my own honest opinion.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Oops, I was trying to edit my post and I accidentally deleted it! What I was TRYING to say is that I'm definitely interested in reading this book - maybe I'll even review it on my own blog... Not to mention I love the idea of a mysterious woman named Genevieve, since its my name too ;) Great pick, Lindsay!

  3. Ah good name choice then! Hope you like this one when you read it, and look forward to your review! :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and leave a comment. It's great reading your comments and I really appreciate them :)