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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping homage to Du Maurier's Rebecca, 4 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: The Secrets Between Us (Paperback)
Sarah is fleeing her troubled past relationship when she meets strong, silent Alex on holiday - soon she's settled in his remote village home, partly as nanny to his young son, but rumours about his first wife haunt her and she begins to wonder who she can trust...

If you like domestic thrillers with a gothic edge (Nicci French, Sophie Hannah) this is likely to be a good choice. Douglas writes well in an unobtrusive way and I was soon gripped by this book and reluctant to put it down.

I liked the way this introduces various gothic elements - menacing visions, female paranoia, a slight supernatural edge - without them ever taking over. My one criticism (and, hence, the dropping of a star) is the incredibly clichéd and over-the-top final confrontation with the villain, and the absurd deus ex machina to bring it all to an end.

That aside, this is an absorbing homage to classics such as du Maurier (Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel) and Jane Eyre. It's not great literature but it is a gripping read which kept me up half the night - recommended.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Sep 2012 18:41:57 BDT
M. Brown says:
I am at a loss to understand how anyone can compare this novel to any of Daphne du Maurier's, and even more bemused by the comparisons drawn between The Secrets Between Us and Jane Eyre! It's a good story, a page turner even, but up there with these gothic classics, definitely not, by virtue of the fact that the characters are simply not sufficiently developed or compelling to elicit the sympathy of the reader. Neither Daphe du Maurier, nor Charlotte or Emily Bronte, wrote plot driven narratives.

Why not simply allow the novel to stand, or fall, on its own merits, without making these absurd claims? The author herself tells us the story utilizes themes drawn from Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights - in doing this she raises expectations which are almost certainly bound to fail in my opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2012 09:09:52 BDT
Roman Clodia says:
I said 'homage to' not 'like' or 'as good as' - I also said 'it's not great literature' (and I'm not sure Du Maurier is great literature either) so I guess we're saying the same thing in different words.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Sep 2012 10:49:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Sep 2012 10:56:05 BDT
M. Brown says:
I know what you said and I understand the meaning of 'homage' - to show respect to or admiration of something or someone. In paying homage there must first be an acknowledgement of some kind of debt, an inference that one's own efforts are either seeking to emulate or have in some way been influenced by that person or thing, clearly the work of du Maurier here (and the Bronte sisters according to the author's notes in the back of the book). In my opinion this is disingenuous.

I also know you said 'it's not great literature' and I agree. On the other hand, I did not say Daphne du Maurier wrote 'great literature', although surely the definition of 'great literature' is subjective? I don't think you'll disagree that the Brontes and du Maurier wrote classic, timeless novels which are as popular and enduring today as they have ever been. Every time an author writes a story which either she/he, her/his critics and/or publisher, compare, pay homage, liken etc. etc. to any/all/other classic novels it raises the expectation in the reader's mind that they are in for wonderful, unforgettable read in that same literary style, written by someone of extraordinary talent. That reader will, sadly, usually be profoundly disappointed and may, also, justifiably, think they've been misled. That's my point.

And, for the record, I think du Maurier did write great literature.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2012 19:31:44 GMT
Mentioning Rebecca in the same breath as this book is an insult to du Maurier. A sadly mediocre modern novel or a beautifully written classic? The classic please.
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