Book Review - The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas

I received this book to read and review from Transworld as part of their book group. The idea is that you choose four books from their list of twelve and they send you them one at a time through the month of August. I choose ‘The Secrets Between Us’ by Louise Douglas, because I have never read any of her books before, in fact never even heard of her, and I thought it’d be a great opportunity to go out of my reading comfort zone, plus I thought the book sounded interesting.

Sarah meets Alexander on holiday in Sicily, where she is escaping her marital problems and taking a break from the real world. It seems that Alexander is doing the same thing with his son and they end up deciding to start again together. Sarah moves to the quiet village in Somerset where Alexander lives, to be his nanny and housekeeper and, she hopes, more. It soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems with Alexander and his previous relationship. His beautiful and much loved wife Genevieve seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet, totally against character, and the entire village (her rich and powerful family included) think that Alexander has something to do with it.

Sarah is beginning to fall in love with Alexander and simply cannot believe that he would do anything like what people think he might have done – but when the evidence and the hatred builds up against him, what will she do?

I struggled to get into this book at first. I found the whole idea that a person would meet someone on holiday, have sex with them once and then up sticks and move to a completely different part of the country, leaving behind everything she knows, to live with said person was a bit too far fetched. To be honest I don’t think the author made it particularly believable either, with the way she wrote it. I know you can use artistic license when you are writing fiction, but this just seemed a little too far fetched for me to swallow.

A couple of chapters in though; I had more or less forgotten about the odd pretext for the book and was pretty much hooked. The story is billed as ‘a passionate love story’, but I thought it was more of a psychological thriller in parts. For a lot of the book, I didn’t really understand what was going on, which I think added to the effect. During the story, Sarah seems to, understandably give her situation, lose her mind a bit, which adds to the confusion and means that I was pretty much turning the pages at a rate of knots. The confusion means that you are never sure what is going to happen, although you always have the feeling that something big was going to happen – I very much enjoyed that aspect of the story.

The characters are well written and aren’t at all exaggerated, which is sometimes the case and I do find irritating. Sarah is likeable and believable. Alexander is dark, quiet and brooding. I’m not quite sure why Sarah fell for him, I don’t think the author really gives a good enough reason for that, but at various times in the book you feel sympathy, annoyance and warmth for him and it helps with the did he, didn’t he storyline. Genevieve is wonderfully written and cleverly so too as are the many other side characters who don’t have a starring role in the story, but help to build it in their own way.
Overall, even though I struggled to get into the book and I didn’t really enjoy the way that it started, I thought the book was good and it did grip me eventually. It is a love story of sorts, but not a traditional one and the web of intrigue is much more prominent in the story than the love aspect of it in my opinion, which is fortunate for me, because I’m not a love story kind of girl!


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