The Secrets Between Us

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The Secrets Between Us By (author) Louise Douglas, book reviewSarah is at her most vulnerable when she first meets Jamie and Alexander. She is on holiday with her sister and brother in law, and emotionally raw from the stillbirth of a child and the subsequent breakdown of her marriage, not to mention her husband’s infidelity with a friend.

The beginning of the story is a bit implausible – Sarah meets Jamie first, who tells her his mummy’s gone, and imagines what could have been with her stillborn baby. Then after looking at Alexander in his swimwear, they find themselves with 15 minutes to have sex. This is followed by Alexander offering her a job rather than a relationship, as a carer for Jamie – Sarah accepts and moves across the country – what has she to lose?

Even during this weird beginning, though, the book is better than it sounds – I was quickly engaged by Sarah’s story and Louise Douglas skilfully builds up her characters and the developing relationships between them. I was very taken with the portrait of Sarah’s relationship with Jamie, as an instant rapport is replaced by understandable distrust and then she gradually wins him over.

I fell for The Secrets Between Us, its characters and storytelling nearly as fast as Sarah falls for Jamie and Alexander. However, this is a suspense novel as much as a love story. Alexander’s beautiful, glamorous wife Genevieve has vanished in suspicious circumstances, and he is the prime suspect. Sarah can not believe he is capable of murder, but lots of people think differently, including Genevieve’s family who live locally. At this point Douglas ratchets the suspense up.

In the acknowledgements Douglas mentions borrowing Gothic themes from classics like Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca and the work of the Bronte sisters. Most of the other elements of The Secrets Between Us are quite common in popular fiction too, but they are put together well here. Not even catching sight of a major part of the ending put me off too much – as with many good crime novels, I enjoyed seeing how the story got there as much as any final revelations.

This was my first Louise Douglas book though I have been meaning to read her earlier novels for a while after recommendations from others – I am looking forward to them now.

The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas
Published by Bantam Press, July 2011
Thank you to Transworld for sending me a review copy of this book (as part of a review challenge).

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Secrets Between Us, The
by Louise Douglas

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Written by elkiedee

My name is Luci and I live in North London with Mike and our two little boys - Danny is 4 and Conor is 2. I'm trying very hard to bring up two little bookworms, with some success so far. I work full time and at weekends the little monsters like to hang out in the park, but otherwise I spend every spare minute reading and talking about books online. I read a variety of books but particularly like crime fiction, literary novels and short stories, women's writing, biographies and memoirs, and social history. My many many favourite authors include Barbara Comyns, Anne Tyler, Katherine Mansfield, Toni Cade Bambara, Diana Wynne Jones, Denise Mina, Ian Rankin, John Harvey and George Pelecanos.

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