Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas

I'm part of the Transworld Book Group! This book was read and reviewed as part of the Transworld Book Challenge.

I was sooo pleased to get this book, as am a huge fan of Louise and loved her previous two novels.  This one is a bit different and certainly darker, but even better than I expected.

Sarah takes some time out in Sicily with her understanding sister and brother-in-law to try and make sense of her life.  The infidelity of her partner after the devastating loss of her baby son has left Sarah feeling rootless.  During her holiday she meets the charismatic Alexander and his charming young son Jamie.  She discovers that Alexander's beautiful and talented wife, Genevieve has recently left him and her need to be loved and to nurture leads her to the make the snap decision to move from Manchester to live with Alex and Jamie in Somerset as their housekeeper.
However, the move from city to rural life has it difficulties, not least the questions raised by the locals about Genevieve's sudden disappearance.  Is Alexander all he appears and what isn't he telling her?

In her acknowledgements, Louise Douglas mentions the impact of several classics as inspiration for this novel and it shows; it's brilliantly written and has a modern slant on the Gothic theme. It's very reminiscent of Rebecca in terms of the theme of previous wife and the secrets around her, and how the character that we never meet in the book can completely dominate. 

It's very atmospheric with a brooding, claustrophobic tension that gradually builds.  I read the whole thing in a day and stayed up late reading (despite it being the night before the start of the new school year) as I couldn't leave it without reaching the conclusion.   It's really difficult to review this book as I don't want to give the ending away, but it's a fantastic read, I can't praise it enough!