I've given this book a 5 star scoring not because it's the best of literary fiction or because it's one of the best books I've ever read, but it's certainly one of the best chic-lit books I've read. We all know what chic-lit is - it's fun, frivolous, witty, fast paced with a cringe or two and a happy ending. This book has all those essentials with the added bonus of a great original story. Most stories of this type have a lead character who suffers from low self esteem or some other major weakness to build her up for a strong ending but this one has a fairly ordinary, average housewife who is strong willed and is quite capable of taking care of herself - it makes a refreshing change. The characters are likeable and realistic and there's just the right amount of naughtiness and mischief to keep you reading along at a good pace.
If you like chic-lit or a humorous light read then you can't do better than this book by Sue Moorcroft.
on 3 November 2010
"Want to Know a Secret" is one of those books you simply can't put down. I took it with me to while away the time before a doctor's appointment and when I got home, I just carried on until I'd finished. I was hooked from the very first page and forgot everything else I had to do that day - there was no way I was going to stop reading until I'd reached the end! The book is about greed, revenge and secrets, and how people cope when their previously well-ordered lives are suddenly turned upside down. It was brilliant and I loved both James and Diane (the hero and heroine) and was on the edge of my seat waiting to see whether the nasty, manipulative Gareth would get his comeuppance. Loved all the other characters too, especially George - wow, what a great boy! I wanted to hug him for being so wonderful to his girlfriend. All in all, a fantastic read - I highly recommend it!
on 2 November 2010
I had all good intentions of getting lots of work done but it wasn't to be. Started reading this book over breakfast before sitting down to work and couldn't put it down! I loved this book.
The characters have real depth, the writing is excellent and there is always a twist to drive the narrative on.
Honestly, don't pick it up if you've got something that needs doing, but what a treat reading this book was.
on 1 October 2011
Normally if I was in a book shop, I would avoid this genre I am ashamed to say. No more! I loved this book.
Diana Jenner gets a visit from the Police to say that her husband has been injured in a helicopter crash. She tells them they must have the wrong person as her husband wouldn't be in a helicopter. She is shocked when they confirm that it is her husband. She then discovers that he has been hiding a big secret from her and their daughter Bryony. How many other lies has he told? How many other secrets is he hiding? They are not very well off and she is shocked when she finds out that the lies involve a lot of money.
Diane then meets James North, whilst uncovering many other lies. He has lots of money but also an alcoholic wife who is draining the life out of him. His chance meeting with Diane turns things upside down when they fall for each other.
This is a story of secrets and lies; love and hate; bitterness and intrigue.
Who could believe that chic-lit books could be such a good read? Not me! I couldn't put this down and read it in two days, which is almost a record for me. I loved how all the lies unfolded and how the families lives weaved themselves. The relationships that were formed throughout the book were intriguing.
I knew how I wanted the book to end, but couldn't see it going that way at all, as too many people were getting in the way. There were a lot of characters involved in this book, but unlike other books I have read recently, this didn't put me off and I managed to picture each of these characters in my mind, due to the way the author described them.
I loved how the story came together and enjoyed the intrigue and the way the lies unfolded. I will certainly be reading more of Sue Moorcrofts books, and will never again say never to chic-lit style books. A thoroughly enjoyable read and a book I would read again. I can't wait to share this!
This is the first book by Sue Moorcroft which I have read and I am impressed. Gareth and Diane have been married twenty five years. Money has always been in short supply but somehow they have managed to keep their heads above water and bring up one child - Bryony - currently in Brazil helping to care for orphans. The couple live in a small isolated Fenland village some miles from Peterborough. One day Diane is horrified to discover that Gareth has been seriously injured in a helicopter crash. Diane is even more shocked when she discovers that Gareth has a family he has not told her about whom he has been seeing for the last two year. He also has a lot more money than Diane was aware of.
As Gareth's secrets start to unravel Diane takes on a new lease of life and starts to make changes. Her dressmaking business takes off and she finds herself attracted to James - Gareth's half sister's husband. The book is about what happens when secrets and resentments are exposed and a couple's relationship is put under severe strain. There are wrongs on both sides and people need to change their minds and their behaviour before life can get back on an even keel again for everyone involved.
I enjoyed the writing and I enjoyed the characters and I thought the way all the conflicting emotions were described was excellent. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a novel with more depth to it than many books aimed at female readers. There are family issues, class jealousies and differences in attitudes to money or the lack of it and there is the problem of how much should married couples reveal to each other. Men and women who seek to control others are also shown in various guises, both benign and not so benign. An excellent and thought provoking story with some interesting background in the retail fashion trade, helicopters and things medical both physical and mental.
I really enjoyed this book from the first page. It is a love story with a difference. Dianne and James fall in love but both are married and both are unhappy. They also have families who depend on them and need them. Will they ever get together? To say too much would I think spoil it for the reader but there is a very strong realistic plot which throws up surprises throughout the whole book. There are wonderful characters, some loveable and some awful but all are very human and realistic.There is love, hate, betrayal, deceit and also a such a very understandable confusion in some characters that makes you want to hug them. There is a lovely realism about this book, that one feels it could so easily happen. It is difficult to put down. I would recommend it to anyone. Do read it.
on 15 February 2014
I have read Sue Moorcroft's books before, and they remain warmly in my heart.
"Want to Know a Secret?" is typically Sue Moorcroft in that it's amazingly romantic and packed with gorgeous hero moments that leave you longing to step inside the book and melt into the world of love. But it's also packed with real life - family troubles, family rifts, family you didn't know about, family you wish you didn't know about and could forget, guilt, greed, depression and money troubles to name just a few.
I have always found Sue's writing addictive and this book is no different. Once I started, I just couldn't stop. I think this book has a less full-on romance storyline than other Moorcroft books I've read. In this book, the romance is interwoven with the very clever storyline and you don't even realise where it's coming from until it's upon you making your heart beat faster and your cheeks flush ever so slightly. The romance is more of an undercurrent, pulling you under and then releasing you, giving you enough time to recover before the next wave comes crashing in. And the main thread of the story I thought was really excellent - it's original and cleverly crafted together.
There are a lot of characters in this book, but each and every once had their place. They are all unique and well developed. They fit perfectly into their little world. The pace is perfect, and will keep you gripped right through to the very last word.
As always with Moorcroft's books, the only disappointment I had was when I'd turned the last page and it was over. If you haven't ever read a Sue Moorcroft book, you're seriously missing out - get yourself to a book store or get yourself online and rectify this immediately.
I met Sue Moorcroft at a workshop a couple of years ago where she talked about writing this book, and how she researches her novels (for example in this novel there is a helicopter crash that she had to be able to write realistically about). I have to say, that although she came across very well, I think in focussing on the research element perhaps she undersold the book - now that I've read it, I'm much more impressed than I thought I would be.
I suppose technically it's "Chock-lit" (like "chick-lit", but aimed at older female readers rather than younger ones!). It has the romance, the mid life crises etc. But I felt this book had far more to offer than putting it in that sub genre suggests. Diane's husband Gareth turns out to be a surprisingly bad egg, in a fairly original way, and given that she also has secrets, Diane herself isn't painted as perfectly pure. James and Tamzin North also have a rocky relationship, so romance between Diane and James seems almost inevitable. And yet, it isn't, as this story retains that air of originality, and also believability. The story is also about both couples children, and their respective problems, and how that affects what their parents decide to do. There are many issues here that a lot of couples could relate to, and even more if they have kids. But it's an upbeat novel overall, with a feel-good ending. I thought the characters of this novel were its strength - a lot of novels have good central characters, and then the rest are stereotypes - but in this book, they are all original, which lifted it above average. It's well paced, with plenty happening right from the beginning, and hence hard to put down. It would make a great holiday read. I shall definitely look out for more of her books (and I can recommend her workshop skills too!).
When her husband Gareth is severely injured in a helicopter crash, Diane Jenner finds her quiet and sedate life unravelling. Uncovering the extent of Gareth's lies and deceit throughout the last few years of their passionless marriage, Diane meets each new surprise with quiet dignity and strength. For the first time in over 20 years she begins to put her own dreams and desires ahead of those of her husband and daughter Bryony, and in the process proves her own independence and falls in love with James; the husband of Valerie who was piloting the helicopter when it crashed.
Diane is perhaps a little too calm and collected during her confrontations with Gareth considering what he has hidden from her, and to even justify remaining his wife because it would upset their daughter if they divorced is somewhat absurd and outdated; as Bryony is 20 and at an age I thought would understand and agree with her mother's reasons. All the late teens, early twenties young people in this book are somewhat self absorbed and wrapped up in problems that their parents predominantly shoulder. Bryony has returned from Brazil after hearing about her father's health, yet she has her own news. Tamzin, James' youngest daughter is battling depression, yet her mother insists it is nothing more than hormonal mood swings; leaving James to deal with the bad days of self harm and overwhelming gloom.
Diane and James' burgeoning relationship is nicely handled amid the startling events that unfold, yet even in this aspect of her life Diane remains somewhat emotionally distant. She weighs the pros and cons of embarking on an affair with James and focuses on the damage it could cause rather than be swept passionately and impetuously away in the arms of a man who adores her (disregarding her one moment of lustful madness in the back of James' car). Diane definitely comes across as a bit blah at the start of this book, but by the end I was cheering for her all the way as she sheds her somewhat meek exterior and emerges a strong, confident and talented woman.
THe story begins with a well crafted event, so beyond the comprehension of a woman living in straightened circumstances that she assumes it is a mistake. This introduction is very well written and drew me in to the rest of the story, which is a bumpy road for "Diana Jenner" involving re-empowerment, rescue-refusal and the arrival of spring promising a happy future of emotional and physical fulfillment.
It is an easy read, enjoyable but not amazing.
The underlying plotting is far from original, the ideas have been replicated in countless stories. Given the genre, this isn't a criticism, the issue is how good is the execution.
The story moves along very well. I felt more attention had been given to the main female characters than the main male characters. Both were a little stereotypical, on one side an oppressed socially, emotionally and materially deprived woman, another is an anorexic self-harmer, the third becomes pregnant by a dodgy Latin lover while doing a gap year thingy in South America, on the other a successful and confident businessman and a young rhythm guitar playing god and the villian, a chippy, unpleasant, controlling, working class hero.
The voicing of the characters is done quite well, but I felt occasionally the author got lazy. For example, the main character while currently living in the back end of isolated East Anglia had had a privileged upbringing but seemed to have never seen a caffe latte nor a cappuccino. I think we are led to infer that chocolate was a rare to vanishing treat in her life. These and other incongruities impinge.
A couple of times the writer resorts to A. Modern. Written. Emphatic. Device. which jars and undermines other good writing.
However, as stories like this go, this one wasn't bad.