35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Courageous, multi-faceted and wonderfully human,
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This review is from: Secret Lives (Kindle Edition)
There's a little introduction to this edition stating that the book is no longer in print, but thanks to the invention of downloadable books it's once more available. This shows how cut-throat and competitive the world of publishing is, because this is a beautifully written and highly accomplished story which deserves to be available to a wider audience.
It's written in a format which I always enjoy: a current third person narrative interspersed with a sub-plot written in the first person. All of the main characters keep their secrets and the gradual and sometimes painful revelations are what keep turning the pages. I'd guessed pretty early on a couple of these secrets, but I started to care so much about the characters that I wanted to find out how things would pan out for them. Of course, for one of them, the enigmatic and elusive Kate Swift, we know right from the start that she has died young and follow her daughter's attempts to understand her life and discover what happened. But we want so much for the past to be healed and an optimistic future for all involved.
Along the way, whilst carrying her own demons, Eden Riley meets and falls in love with a man who also has demons of his own. Ultimately, we learn that we are all victims of victims in some way.
The author very bravely - and fairly graphically - touches on the subject of child abuse. It's enough to make you feel deeply uncomfortable, but doesn't go too far.
It's all about a web of human relationships, each person carrying their own burden and intrinsically linking together. The only minor criticism I have is that as fully rounded and empathetic as Kate's character is, I find her unconvincing in the capacity of a successful children's book author. That is only a little niggle and doesn't detract from the story.
The ending ties things together very nicely, is happy and poignant in equal measures and I'm sure will stay with me for a long time.