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on 30 October 2009
What a change to read books about North Yorkshire and Cleveland-well researched and I felt back home.
The characters and the stories are gentle with amusing twists and turns.
I'm not writing a review as too many already but PLEASE Freya there is absolutely no need for "the lurid sex scenes" as one reviewer has written. Your books are good enough without them and to me they feel somewhat contrived and not really relevant-almost like added in to appeal to a certain type of reader who would not usually read books like these.
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on 25 May 2017
loved it x
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on 18 September 2014
Speedy delivery
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on 3 May 2009
Tess has run away from London to Saltburn with her small daughter and she more or less gives bridge builder Joe no option but to employ her as housesitter when she answers his ad. However, she doesn't fully unpack her car nor does she drive it again after she arrives. Joe on the other hand, doesn't tell her everything about the house and his life there, resulting in a shock for Tess when he is away on a work trip.

We follow Tess and Joe as they get to know each other and start to fall in love. The question is, when will they trust each other enough to tell the secrets of their past?

The north east features heavily in the book, which, as a Londoner who adopted Yorkshire as my adult home, I really like. And the theme of bridge building, both real and metaphorical, is strong throughout. The book is unashamedly romantic without being overly cliched and cheesy, very similar in tone to Pillow Talk.

Freya North's early work had a particular style that most either loved or hated. For me, she started to get really good when she introduced the McCabe sisters (Fen, Cat, Pip and their uncle). Her work from Love Rules onwards has got even better. So I was looking forward to reading this and I wasn't disappointed.

Freya North has matured into a writer who writes intelligently and with feeling about both the joy and pain of love. She's not afraid to get her main leads together by the middle (or even beginning) of a book, so we can follow their fledgling relationship as it matures through the stages of crush, lust and love. She often examines what love really means and this book is no exception.

If you liked Pillow Talk, you'll love this. It's not as serious in tone as either Love Rules or Home Truths, but if you liked those, you'll also like this.

And a last note for newcomers to Freya North's work, she writes very frankly about the bedroom antics, so if you prefer the bedroom door closed in books, be warned; but please read it anyway because she writes really well even if you feel the need to skip the steamy bits.
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on 20 July 2017
Loved this book, never read anything of Freya North before but am certainly looking to read some more of her novels. As other people have said, the secrets weren't as big as I was expecting but still the story line was brilliant & I felt I knew the characters and now have that feeling of missing them now I've finished it... although it was a bit predictable, it still had me turning the pages and I read it so quickly and am now lost without it.

Oh & why do people feel the need to review a book and practically give the story away!?
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on 15 February 2013
This is more serious than chick-lit, more grown up I guess - in that it presents love and relationships as neither black nor white - more shades of grey. The juicy bits are probably more like 5 shades of grey, but enough to keep you engrossed in the story. Lots of facts about bridges, but subtly done, and used as a metaphor for both the characters love and life. I really enjoyed this - wouldn't be my first choice for a light-hearted read, but I'd definitely read more by this author.
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on 24 July 2010
As soon as I opened this book, and looked at the first page, I knew it would be good. Tess running away from her past, and her secrets, with her little daughter Em, and Joe living in the big house with Wolf the dog. Tess applies to be the house sitter, as Joe is away a lot building bridges. Love, lust, tears and shared secrets all make this a great read. I had a job to put the book down, and was very sorry when I got to the end. Freya North sure knows how to write a good book.
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on 17 April 2014
First time reader of Freya North so not sure as to what to expect but it was a good story (probably a bit too much about bridges but each to their own) but the secrets aren't as huge as maybe the title infers but ok. Not sure if I would read another one by Freya North
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VINE VOICEon 13 June 2009
I pretty much grew up reading Freya North... from Sally (almost 15 years ago now... crikey), through the McCabe sisters and, latterly, onto Love Rules and Home Truths. I'm not sure the later books ever matched the early ones for sheer exuberance and freshness, but they were still excellent. In other words, I love North.

Secrets, though... I hated it. Such an awful thing to say, and I wish it wasn't the case. In reading Secrets, I cracked the magic formula: North knows how to create men we fall a little in love with. Her men are kind, clever, witty, independent, competent, filthy, warm, brimming with integrity and willing to wait and/or pursue the woman they've fallen in love with. The chap in Secrets is called Joe. Joe seems to be a wonderful man and, aye, you start to fall a bit in love with him.

Until, that is, a certain chapter. At the end of one chapter, he and Tess (we'll get to her later) are falling in love, and creating an insular bubble for themselves. In the first sentence of the next chapter, he has his head between another woman's legs. It almost felt like he'd cheated on me, which is testament to North's ability to draw you in. But the expletive that tumbled out of my mouth never really went away, and the book was forever ruined after that. Particularly given it's never actually resolved. Oh, there's all the navel-gazing where he discovers why he was so incapable of being in a serious relationship, at which point he changes and eschews all other women... but, frankly, the damage was done and I'd utterly disengaged from him.

And so there's Tess. Another reviewer commented on the fact that she was entirely perfect, and it really is true. She has a perfect figure, a perfect child, she is a domestic goddess, she is perfectly adorable... it's all a bit sickening, really. And the "secrets" she's hiding are truly ridiculous.

Indicative revelation upcoming: Tess spends the entire book terrified of the beach and in the end Joe finally gets her to open up as to why. Know why? Because as a child, she found a human foot on the beach and her parents didn't believe her. I mean, honestly. I truly believe North wrote that last minute, having forgotten that she needed to reveal a reason.

The final problem was the style of writing. Joe is a bridge builder, so there are constant references to building the bridge of their love; bridging the gap from the past to the history; building a bridge that will carry the weight of their vulnerability... on and on it goes, and it's actually really awful. It's sort of embarrassing in its awfulness.

Truth is, were this written by anyone other than Freya North, I wouldn't have bothered reviewing it, and if forced to, I would have given it 2 stars. But North is such a special author, and she will always deserve another chance.
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on 28 February 2010
I read a couple of Freya's early books when they came out but wasn't that keen. To be honest I brought Secrets as the third in a 3 for 2 but was very pleasantly surprised. I agree with previous reviewers that some of the sex scenes feel as if they are there for the sake of it but overall found myself getting drawn more and more into the book and the characters. The secrets weren't a big wow but this didn't matter as by that time in the book it was more about the characters.
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