Dark Matter by Blake Crouch #BookReview

DarkMatter def


‘Are you happy in your life?’
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before the man he’s never met smiles down at him and says, ‘Welcome back.’

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined – one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

amazon uk amazon com



I’ve done it! What you might ask? Well I’ve only finally tackled this book I had for ages but which I’ve put off reading for so long. After having a very positive reading experience recently with my first sci-fi novel (Hold Back The Stars) I finally felt up to it to reading my beautiful paperback edition with red end papers of Dark Matter. The novel is way out of my comfort zone but it’s still somewhat of a thriller too so I was up for it.

The concept of the novel is based on the principle of Schrödinger’s cat (supposedly named Milton) who’s in two states at once, both death and alive at the same time before opening a box. In this novel it’s a different sort of dual nature which is most interesting and this is exactly what makes this book stand out of course. The question is: what if we had made a different choice, how would our life look like then? Would Jason be happier choosing for a career and making a revolutionary discovery or choosing to have offspring and spend the rest of his life teaching at a school? Jason is forced out of his life and into a different one where he made another choice and it felt like stepping into a Narnia-like wardrobe, only it wasn’t a wardrobe this time but a box. I was happy there weren’t any talking lions but the worlds Jason steps in were just as foreign and overall quite gloomy from the one we’re currently living in. I wasn’t too fond of this list of worlds that needed to be ticked off and I was quite happy when the story moved on from there and became more interesting for me with a mounting sense of tension. Can Jason find his way back to his family? And if he does what then? I didn’t exactly see a happy ending for him…

There were a few other struggles I had with this book. Some of the science talk went way over my head and thinking about it trying to see how that could really work with this multiplicity I think I only confused myself some more 🙂 so in the end I stopped trying. Jason also has a sidekick in part of the novel and it felt strange that this partner was missing in the most crucial part of the novel. I get that it’s about Jason and his family but I felt sympathy for this character and then suddenly I was left hanging, which I didn’t like so much. Last of all it was all pretty black and white, really good guy vs very bad guy, there was no room for nuance and I wish I could have liked both main characters, which would make it even more difficult to choose if Jason should return or not.

Overall it was very readable but not one I’d want to read again. I’m satisfied with the way it ended and it’s a stark reminder that we should consider ourselves very lucky, even if we don’t live in a perfect world, it could be much, much worse. On a personal level we should be aware of the choices we make, especially life-decisions, and not live with regrets.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.


Lovely Vicious (book 1) by Sara Wolf #BookReview

LovelyVicious def


Seventeen-year-old Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, nine weeks, and five days, and after what happened last time, she intends to keep it that way. Since then she’s lost eighty-five pounds, gotten four streaks of purple in her hair, and moved to Buttcrack-of-Nowhere, Ohio, to help her mom escape a bad relationship.

All the girls in her new school want one thing—Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East Summit High. Hot as an Armani ad, smart enough to get into Yale, and colder than the Arctic, Jack Hunter’s never gone out with anyone. Sure, people have seen him downtown with beautiful women, but he’s never given high school girls the time of day. Until Isis punches him in the face.

Jack’s met his match. Suddenly everything is a game.

The goal: Make the other beg for mercy.

The game board: East Summit High.

The reward: Something neither of them expected.

amazon uk amazon com


star three and a half / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

Novel number 300-something of my backlist and I’m ashamed to say I actually chose it as my next read because I confused it with another novel that I’d been meaning to read and clearly don’t have in my library (Truly Devious btw) Vicious, devious, you can see how got it mixed up right? Another funny thing about this novel is that Sara Wolf made it into a trilogy and the new title of this book is actually Love Me Never. Honestly if I’d have seen that title with that new cover I’d not have touched it. I know it’s one of my flaws and I’m happy I was oblivious because it turned out not such a bad read. I read it in a day!

What I enjoyed most of all about this novel were all the words and comments that came out of Isis Blake’s mouth. The writing style – the snide remarks especially – was very entertaining and it really made me smile a lot.

Isis makes an enemy of Jack Hunter, the school’s heart throb because he’s not at all interested when the friend she just made, Kayla, throws herself at his feet at a party and he makes that painfully clear. Isis doesn’t stand for it and demands an apology for the way he treated her but he isn’t giving in. She steps it up and then his retaliation made my heart pitter patter but unfortunately I found the next moves of Isis taking it quite (too) far. The romance is definitely not instant although you can feel there’s something between them.

Underneath this confident, battle-armour Isis there’s another side of her that left her wounded. There are layers to both Isis and Jack which bring more serious themes to the story and in the end they really pulled at my heartstrings. It ends with a cliffhanger so be aware that it’ll leave you wanting to know more. Overall, I have absolutely no regrets picking this one up, even when it wasn’t my intention.

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Five Survive by Holly Jackson #AudioBookReview



Eight hours.
Six friends.
One sniper . . .

Eighteen year old Red and her friends are on a road trip in an RV, heading to the beach for Spring Break. It’s a long drive but spirits are high. Until the RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere. There’s no mobile phone reception and nobody around to help. And as the wheels are shot out, one by one, the friends realise that this is no accident. There’s a sniper out there in the dark watching them and he knows exactly who they are. One of the group has a secret that the sniper is willing to kill for.

A game of cat-and-mouse plays out as the group desperately tries to get help and to work out which member of the group is the target. Buried secrets are forced to light in the cramped, claustrophobic setting of the RV, and tensions within the group will reach deadly levels. Not everyone will survive the night.

amazon uk amazon com



Six teenagers are stranded in the middle of nowhere, there’s a sniper outside and one of them has a secret, that’s about the gist of the story. Sounds great right? Five Survive was very promising but unfortunately the focus on the secret came rather late into the story. Red is the main character, the one who doesn’t really fit in, the one whose mother was killed in the line of duty and the one who’s always strapped for money. Is any of this relevant to what’s happening? You’ll just have to read/listen to the story yourself.

Whilst I very much enjoyed the denouement at the end, the rest of the story didn’t blow me away like her previous novels. A lot of time in the story is taken up by their attempts to escape. At a certain point there was also an elaborate mirror trick put in place to determine the position of the sniper but despite the very detailed account I still couldn’t see how it worked without any of them actually going outside. Other than that there was definitely some added shock value that I wasn’t really prepared for so I liked some of it very much and some of it was a bit tedious.

The tension could also been a little more present as I found they were relatively in a safe place as long as they stayed inside. It was only when they finally might receive some help that I became quite anxious. The title reveals that one of them dies and I was constantly wondering who wouldn’t make it, and why. I had no idea who the victim would be although I did want to put one of them up as the story progressed because there’s one selfish, egoistic character in that RV and if not given a choice I would know who to sacrifice.

I loved the Good Girl’s Guide to Murder trilogy so much so my expectations were quite high and while I’m impressed with the who and why of it all, I just didn’t feel it reached the same awesomeness level as her previous work.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like the narration at all. The narrator (Emma Galvin) had a hard voice and apart from the shouting going on  she talked with a raised voice so much even though it wasn’t mentioned explicitly in the text that it got on my nerves and probably influenced my opinion of the novel as well, even though I don’t want it to have an impact.

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

The Courier by Holly Down #BookReview

TheCourier def


Five years ago, Laurel Lovejoy had it all. The high-powered city job, the loving husband, the perfect daughter. Now, she is forty and alone, and working for a courier service. But she has discovered that being a delivery driver comes with a superpower: it makes her invisible. People accept her presence without question. They go about their lives, unaware of just how much she sees – how much she knows.

Laurel is particularly fascinated by the residents of Paradise Found, an exclusive gated cul-de-sac. She sometimes even finds her way there when she’s not working, using her days off to soak up as much information about the inhabitants and their lives as she can. Everyone needs a hobby.

Then one day Laurel sees something in one of the houses – something that blows her whole world apart, and will have devastating consequences for everyone involved . . .

amazon uk amazon com


star three and a half

First of all, this is the first novel that I read where corona and social distancing is part of the plotline. I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to read about the lockdown in a novel but it actually felt more than okay. It certainly triggered memories to the days we were all confined in our homes and somehow I quite enjoyed this trip down memory lane. It was so recognizable for me but even in the future I actually think it’s great for next generations to read about too and to see how life was at that time. I wonder if they’ll think this part of the story was completely made up too. With the shops closed we ordered more than ever online and so I think it was quite clever of the author to introduce Laurel as a courier for a delivery company. As it was back then she had to keep her distance, but that is something she really doesn’t do!

Laurel wasn’t the most likeable character for a number of reasons but her unhealthy interest in the lives of the residents of the six houses of Paradise Found totally gets out of hand. How far can you go to get to know someone? She wants to know everything about her customers, who they are, what they buy, and one day she even goes through someone’s trash! That’s not the end of the line but only the start of everything. Laurel has major issues and with her drinking she’s a very unreliable narrator so I couldn’t be one hundred percent sure if what she thought she had found out was true or not, although I had my own ideas.

Laurel had it all, the husband, the child, the nice house and a great job but in the present it’s all gone. Laurel is all alone, trying to hold on to her job and the rest of her time is spent either at Missing Mums meetings or drinking at her apartment. I really didn’t like her drinking but to cut her some slack her grief over the loss of her daughter was in her every thought. It seemed Laurel lost her little girl Sophie at a young age and she feels guilty but it was unclear what had really happened until the end because she doesn’t want to share her story at Missing Mums but does remark on her feelings and her daughter on a regular basis.

There was a big twist in each of the two storylines and my enjoyment of these twists are essentially on opposite sides. I give big points for this one surprising twist where the author created some specific expectations about the disappearance of her daughter where I thought myself quite clever but it still turned out different from what I had expected. A good different, with a lot of emotions. The other twist came entirely out of left field and left the story open ended. Shock value guaranteed!

I didn’t like Laurel all that much for the majority of the novel, first because she doesn’t seem the best mother, also because of her indiscretions, her lying and crossing the line with her work. I even symphathised with some residents when she tries to engage them unwillingly in sharing information about themselves, but in the end I recognised she wasn’t a bad person, I understood her better and when she finally won me over I didn’t get the satisfaction of knowing everything would be all right so when I finally got to that place I also wanted a different ending, a more happy ending and I feel like I was cheated out of it. In theory the author left room for a sequel but I wasn’t a fan of this twist nor how it was wrapped up, so instead of 4 or 4.5 stars I’ve ultimately decided to give 3.5 stars.

I received a paperback copy of this novel in my Capital Crime subscription box. This is my honest opinion.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid #AudioBookReview

Malibu Rising


A lifetime holding it together.

One party will bring it crashing down.

Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the centre of attention and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro-tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them…and what they will leave behind.

amazon uk amazon com


star three and a half

Even though Malibu Rising isn’t typically the genre of novel I’m used to reading, I don’t regret giving it a go. This was my second read by the author and having listened to this novel I think I already have a good idea what her bestseller The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo would be like.

Malibu Rising is a family drama about the Riva’s. The story starts with a very young and yet to be famous Mick who tries to win the heart of June and it ends with the current love lives of their children Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit (Katherine).

I really loved the chapters set in the past with the heartbreaking romance between Mick and June. I was captivated with their push and pull relationship and I rooted hard for them, well for June most of all because the pitfalls of fame and the lure of Mick’s many female admirers make him quite an absentee father. All things considered it’s quite a tragic story, and the star of the whole novel is Nina, which was clear quite early on and I’m so happy the ending revolved around her as well.

The narration by Julia Whelan was fabulous all the way through and although there were many scenes worth mentioning then I’d say the scene between Carrie Soto and Brandon, shouting on the lawn in front of Nina’s house was done with so much vigour that it’s one of my favourite moments.

The only remark I can make is that the party wasn’t all that interesting and when it is finally in full swing there were too many characters arriving and they didn’t really add anything important to the story. When they were mentioned again in the round up I didn’t know half of them anymore. Against all this background turbulence the Riva children flock together once again and the big question they’ll have to answer is what they’re going to do, whether they’ll stand together as a family or not. I’m happy I didn’t need to make that choice on their behalf but I believe they did the right thing.

Overall this was an enjoyable audiobook where I enjoyed some parts more than others. The party guests took away from the story and they dominated that part a bit too much but the ending was so apt. The Riva mansion going up in flames as mentioned in the synopsis and in the prologue of the novel didn’t even feel so bad anymore in the end, which was a finding I hadn’t expected at all. It wraps up the story beautifully.

Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg #BookReview

NobodyButUs def


When Ellie and her boyfriend Steven take their first trip together, what starts as an idyllic weekend soon takes a darker turn, as it quickly becomes apparent that each of them harbors secrets—and that one of those secrets is deadly.

Ellie is an NYU grad student, timid but fiercely intelligent, and eager for the perfect weekend away with her boyfriend. Steven is a wealthy and privileged teacher at an elite Manhattan school. His and Ellie’s relationship has stirred up envy among the teachers in his academic circle.

When they head out for their romantic break, they’re both excited to get to know each other better away from prying eyes. But when a snowstorm strands them in the house, they begin to realize that neither of them is quite who they say they are—and that one of them won’t escape the weekend alive.

amazon uk amazon com


star three and a half / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

Revenge is a dish best served cold. If there’s one book in the whole world it applies to it must certainly be this one. Ellie and Steven are staying at this remote mansion for a romantic getaway in celebration of their 6 month anniversary as a couple but let me tell you, a lot can happen in three days

At first I was unsettled the most by the house itself, its isolated setting, the weather conditions and the descriptions inside the house were eerie but slowly the characters started to make themselves more conspicuous and I was constantly mulling over who the bad character of the story would be. One of them gets the label as the villain but I think it’s up for debate and personally they’re both kind of evenly matched, neither of them had my sympathy until the end and then I kind of felt guilty for feeling sorry for the wrong person.

The tension really builds up during their cat and mouse games and the threat of harming each other but I still didn’t know how the ending was going to play out and who was going to ‘win’ or should I say survive 🙂 because oh boy they do go for each other! I wasn’t expecting what this novel was actually about and I had no idea who the third POV was, sharing dated diary entrees. Was one of them having an affair? A disgruntled ex? I was quite off the mark and not entirely.

I loved the atmospheric setting and the unpredictability right up till the last pages. I didn’t quite agree with the actions that started all of this and it seemed a little farfetched to go about it this way (it takes a psycho to know one perhaps) but it did make for some compelling reading. These characters are certainly ones to remember for a long time.

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Here’s To Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera #BookReview



From the creator of 13 Reasons Why, What If It’s Us is soon to be a feature film!

Ben survived freshman year of college, but he’s feeling more stuck than ever. His classes are a slog, his part-time job working with his father is even worse, and his best friend Dylan’s been acting weird for weeks. Ben’s only real bright spot is his writing partner Mario, who’s been giving him a lot of Spanish lessons and even more kisses. Mario’s big Hollywood dreams make Ben start to dream bigger—and the choices he makes now could be the key to reshaping his future. So why can’t he stop thinking about a certain boy from his past?

Arthur is back in New York City for the first time in two years, ready to take the theater world by a storm as the world’s best . . . intern to the assistant of an off-off-Broadway director. Of course, it sucks to be spending the summer apart from his sweet, reliable boyfriend, Mikey, but he knows their relationship is strong enough to weather the distance. Which is why it’s no big deal when his ex-boyfriend Ben stumbles back into the picture. And it’s definitely fine that Ben’s blissfully happy with some mystery boy. First loves are special, but it’s way too late for what-ifs. Right?

Even as the boys try to shake off the past, they keep running into each other in the present. Is this the universe trying to tell them there’s a do-over in their future?

amazon uk amazon com



I haven’t read What If It’s Us but this novel gave me a good idea what had happened to Ben and Arthur in the first book, from how they met to how they parted ways and why, so this can be read perfectly as a standalone.

Ben and Arthur hadn’t seen each other in two years but the minute they’re back in the same city it seems like the universe draws them and their thoughts back together. It’s not long before they were playing with fire but they both act like they don’t know it, as if it’s completely normal to hang out all the time with your ex and to text each other non-stop while you have a new partner. I was trying very hard not to judge them and to go with the feeling pushed upon me. I wasn’t itching for them to get back together at all, especially since Arthur is together with the incredibly sweet Mikey, and Ben is in the stages of officially becoming Mario’s boyfriend but I just hoped if push came to shove they would do the right thing in the end.

I’ve written two whole pages of notes on this novel but I have a feeling that I still don’t know what to say about it. I love sweet romance stories but this is not my favourite type of romance novel because I hate for people to get hurt in the process and there was definitely a love triangle vibe and while nothing really happened I felt there was some emotional cheating going on which is probably even worse.

They were both so hung up on the past throughout the novel and how they felt then that they transposed it to the present but you’re not the same people any more after two years and I didn’t feel they were very mature. OK they didn’t act like hormonal teenagers jumping in bed with each other but I did miss some reflection about their situation. There was so much jealousy going round that it made me cringe. I wanted to shout stop and think what you’re doing you guys. The side characters were great and one of their friends, Dylan, was quite a force of nature. He expresses his love for Ben at every opportunity and I found this strange at first (I wondered if he was gay too) but I started to really enjoy his witty one-liners. He brought the fun into this novel.

There’s some will they-won’t they going on but you just can’t ignore the direction the authors are steering to. After all the pining going on I was happy I finally got to this point. I’m not entirely sure I’m in the right demographic category for this novel as I think it’ll be better received by a much younger group of readers. I never fell fully in love with either Ben or Arthur because they both made some questionable decisions but even though I wasn’t their biggest fan I am happy with the way it ended.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

That Weekend by Kara Thomas #BookReview

ThatWeekend def



It was supposed to be the perfect prom weekend getaway. But it’s clear something terrible happened when Claire wakes up alone and bloodied on a hiking trail with no memory of the past forty-eight hours.

Now everyone wants answers–most of all, Claire. She remembers Friday night, but after that . . . nothing. And now Kat and Jesse–her best friends–are missing.

What happened on the mountain? And where are Kat and Jesse? Claire knows the answers are buried somewhere in her memory. But as she’s learning, everyone has secrets–even her best friends. And she’s pretty sure she’s not going to like what she remembers.

amazon uk amazon com



I enjoyed The Cheerleaders last year (here’s my review) so the next one on my wishlist of hers was That Weekend, a novel with an intriguing mystery.

I was all excited for this but I’m not sure what to say about this novel so it’s going to be a short review for once I guess. It was overall an okay story but there were no exhilarating discoveries for me, although I do think it might be a different experience for some readers. The red herrings didn’t work on me this time though, I wasn’t fooled.

My main issue with this novel is that That Weekend didn’t show a lot of progress throughout because Claire doesn’t remember anything. That’s been done a lot before and my opinion often varies how I enjoy this tactic. In this case I felt it didn’t create more mystery or tension but stalled the evolution of the novel a bit too much.

I had actually guessed where the story would go but I’m convinced that the majority of readers will be blindsided by it. I can’t explain why my mind had worked this out other than that I always keep every option in mind and this was one of them. I enjoyed hearing why this had all happened to the three of them but I wish the characters could have had more depth to them from the start of the novel instead of learning about them and finding out their history until I reached the last part.

Unlike The Cheerleaders where there were a lot of different storylines, this one was far on the simpler side. As I’ve come to know this author there is also a darker theme involved which I normally enjoy but it couldn’t give me the happy feeling I was looking for in the end. I am going to give this author another try because I’ve seen her brilliance and I hope the next one will be a whole other story 🙂

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin #BookReview

StayWithMe def


When the past intersects with the future . . .

Brenna Spector is held prisoner by the past. She has perfect memory, which allows her to recall in vivid and remarkable detail every moment of every day of her adult life. If only she could remember more from her child-hood . . . for she’s still trying to unravel the mystery of her sister Clea’s disappearance twenty-eight years ago when Clea was seventeen. But now her obsession with finding out what happened to Clea is taking a toll on her own teenage daughter, Maya, who’s been very secretive lately. And when Maya goes missing, Brenna fears her worst nightmare has come true.

. . . the outcome can be dangerous

As Brenna relies on her P.I. skills to find her daughter before it’s too late, evidence surfaces showing a possible link between Maya’s disappearance and Clea’s. But could a case from three decades ago really be connected to her daughter? Or is someone hoping that Brenna will play along in a twisted game—one that there’s no chance of winning . . . or surviving?

amazon uk amazon com


star three and a half

Stay With Me is the third novel in a trilogy about Brenna Spector. I had no idea about this being the case but it can certainly be read as a good standalone and I had no problems following the story. It does give away some vital details about an incident in the second novel so unless you don’t want to know who was behind it or how the incident ended you’ll be fine reading this. I actually picked up my copy (published in 2014 and translated in Dutch in 2016) because I recently read about one of her other books, The Collective, which received several five star ratings from other book reviewers already and sparked my interest as well.

In the novel Brenna is a private investigator and her worst nightmare comes true when her 13-year old daughter Maya goes missing almost 3 decades after her own sister Clea went missing at the age of 17. Together with her quirky sidekick Trent, boyfriend/detective Nick Morasco and detective Plodsky of Missing Persons they try to find out what happened at the slumber party Maya went to and what went on in her head in the days beforehand. Both paths turn up a number of disconcerting answers with toxic friendships and secret chats at the base of it.

Brenna’s photographic memory (hyperthymestic syndrome) helped to keep Clea’s disappearance in my head at all times and there seemed to be a small breakthrough there as well when she gets hold of some items that belonged to her sister. The question then is who had them all this time and how did they reach her.

Stay With Me was a good read but remained a bit cursory all the same, it didn’t go in very deep. I especially wanted to know more about what made one of the characters tick and made them so dangerous but I didn’t get the flashbacks that I wanted. The novel was an enjoyable read and I liked Brenna’s special ability (although it definitely is much more a curse than a blessing so not a superpower I want anymore) so I had no trouble steaming through this but at the same time I had a good idea what was in store in the end, even though I do think it’ll come as a surprise if you’re not a seasoned crime reader. It was a bit of a let down for me though and although the author did have one last twist in store, it felt overdone and I suspect it was only written for its shock value.

So with these ups and downs I’m still debating whether or not to add The Collective to my readlist. At the moment it is perhaps a bit more doubtful but of course Gaylin might have only gotten better with her writing and then I’d be missing out on a good story, so the vote is still very much out.

I bought a (Dutch) paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

The Secrets We Keep by Jonathan Harvey #BookReview

TheSecretsWeKeep def


Told from the point of view of four family members, The Secrets We Keep, by Coronation Street scriptwriter Jonathan Harvey, is a funny and poignant story.

It’s hard being that woman, the one whose husband disappeared. It’s made me quite famous. I just wish it was for something else.

He went out five years ago for a pint of milk and never came back. So here I am with a daughter who blames me for all that’s wrong in the world, a son trying his best to pick up the pieces and a gaggle of new neighbours who are over friendly, and incredibly nosy.

Then I find a left luggage ticket in the pocket of one of his old coats and suddenly I’m thinking . . . What if he’s not dead? What if he’s still out there somewhere?

You think you have the perfect life, the perfect kids, and then it’s all turned inside out. What if I don’t like what I find? And is it a chance I’m willing to take?

amazon uk amazon com


star three and a half

The Secrets We Keep is a character-driven story and is told through the voices of all four members of the Bioletti family. At the start of the novel Danny is standing on the cliff and it’s a long time waiting before I found out if he really killed himself and why. Why would he do this to his wife and children? This novel focuses on much more than on the missing person of this family though.

16 year old daughter Cally is dreaming of becoming a famous model and wants to take her first steps in the business after being discovered by a scout, even though her mother Natalie wants her to focus on getting a degree first. She’s headstrong though and she will fight for her dream to come true. Her gay older brother Owen is in a relationship with Matty and he struggles with his relationship. Cally often gave jibes to her brother about his being gay but I know she never meant it in a derogatory manner, she was just this cheeky teen. It was totally cool as far as I’m concerned.

Don’t let the luggage ticket fool you, it is this discovery that makes Natalie spring into action but I never actually found out what was in the luggage or why he left both luggage and ticket behind. It is only a means to crack the story open and while Natalie is finding out her husband Danny kept some things from her the author dives into Danny’s past. Danny recounts his life from the time he was a young boy and this section of the novel was the most compelling for me. His teenage life was very hard, he even slept on the streets before meeting Natalie and I felt for him in these sections. It also felt like he loved her the minute he saw her so it was a big mystery to me why he would walk out on his family.

I sort of received an answer in the end why he did what he did but it didn’t entirely satisfy me. The sympathy he had built up was slowly evaporating. He could have gotten a divorce surely if he wanted an escape. Then at least his wife and kids would have had closure and known what had happened to him.

The last 20 pages or so also felt a little rushed and it wasn’t wrapped up like I would have wanted it. Owen receives an important visit for example but you don’t know how that unfolds anymore. The lingering feeling after I finished reading remains that Danny is quite egoistic and thinks only of himself which is a bit disappointing after all.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.