She knows all your secrets. But will she keep them?
Look around you. Who holds the most power in the room? Is it the one who speaks loudest, who looks the part, who has the most money, who commands the most respect?
Or perhaps it’s someone like Christine Butcher: a meek, overlooked figure, who silently bears witness as information is shared and secrets are whispered. Someone who quietly, perhaps even unwittingly, gathers together knowledge of the people she’s there to serve – the ones who don’t notice her, the ones who consider themselves to be important.
There’s a fine line between loyalty and obsession. And when someone like Christine Butcher is pushed to her limit, she might just become the most dangerous person in the room . . .
The Secretary had terrible characters but it was so fun to read. Christine and I share the same profession and almost the same amount of years at the job so of course I wanted to read this novel and take a peek behind the curtains of another corporate environment (the offices of one of the biggest supermarket brands in the UK). Christine Butcher is like the perfect secretary. She’s discreet, meticulous, organised… and that’s where our similarities stop because Christine really takes her skills to the limit. It’s unbelievable how devoted she is to her boss Mina Appleton. She knows Mina’s every mood and aims to please Mina however she can. It goes way beyond helping her only at work. Christine is utterly blind to her bosses manipulations, but I must admit I never felt deeply sorry for Christine exactly because of the fact that she was so obsessed with her boss. I’m sure people in the highest echelons would praise her and would want someone exactly like her, but normal people know that her priorities were really askew. She was truly a very fascinating character to read about and I felt like I really knew who she was.
The story was told through Christine’s eyes and even if she tells the story as if everyhing is fine and normal, there was a constant sinister and ominous feeling present. Would she wake up and stand up for herself? What would be her breaking point? What was she going to do with all the knowledge she had on Mina? Oh I felt gleeful in advance because I seriously don’t think I could hate Mina more. I was waiting patiently for Christine to see that her boss is like all bosses; someone who takes as much advantage as she can but IS certainly NOT your friend.
I was excited about the story development and I gobbled up every word, phrase and chapter with a racing speed. Christine did not let me down at all and I loved how it ended, so grandiose and clever. Christine is both a good person and a bad person and I loved how hard she made me work to decide which side dominates most. I don’t know if it’s permitted but I still love her in the end.
I haven’t read this author’s debut novel Disclaimer but after reading this novel I need to have it so I’m definitely putting it on my Christmas list!
I found a battered copy of this book in a Little Free Library. This is my honest opinion.