Cover Image: All Her Little Secrets

All Her Little Secrets

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I literally could not put this book down. It's fast-paced and utterly engrossing, full of twists and surprises. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Was this review helpful?
Well-written, tightly paced. I went into this blind and am glad I did. It was a great ride. It’s part-legal thriller, part commentary on racism, a d it was fantastic.
Was this review helpful?
Elise Littlejohn just got the opportunity of her life, promotion to general counsel, something she has dreamed of since she left Chillicothe, Georgia, and all of its secrets behind, it is umfortunate that it has come at the expense of the death of her married lover. His death not withstanding, this could be a chance of a lifetime, all of her sacrifice is being rewarded or is Elise actually the sacrificial lamb. Pick up All Her Little Secrets to find out which one.

All Her Little Secrets is a well written fast pace thriller replete with thought provoking prose and a flawed yet  affable protagonist that you root for even when her sins come to light. I thought the mystery aspect was well done even though the small town girl who made it with secrets trope has been utilized time and again, Morris brought a fresh perspective with her Black protagonist Elise, a perspective which made it a satisfying read. I highly recommend that you pick it up. 4.5 stars
Was this review helpful?
What a tricky and extremely complex novel! I’ve seen this cover so much I felt as if I had read it already. Give me a amnesia pill and let me read it again. Wanda Morris gives us a complex and intricate woman named Ellice Littlejohn,, a well respected corporate attorney at the height of her career who is casually intimate with her superior Michael in their Atlanta lawfirm.  When  Michael is  found dead and Ellice is promoted to his job) the suspicion of the police and colleagues is pointed at her.  Ellice, now feeling even more isolated as the only African American attorney, desperate to separate herself from the death, can only do one thing. Investigate.  We are off and running on an enthralling and gripping mystery that is really a heart pounder.  Excellent.  Please write another, quickly.
Was this review helpful?
With All Her Little Secrets, author Wanda M. Morris captures her readers’ attention from the outset as Ellice Littlejohn, a middle-aged black attorney in a large Atlanta trucking company, arrives for an early morning meeting with the head lawyer.   Entering the office of her boss, who also happens to be her long-term lover, she finds him dead in his desk chair, a gun on the floor beside him.  Something in her past causes her to flee the scene rather than phoning the police. 

Morris tells Ellice’s story in two time periods and locales, gradually revealing the secret past in small-town Chillicothe that shapes Ellice’s decisions in the present.  As Ellice learns she has much more to worry about than her lover’s murder, further decisions complicate her situation, endangering her career and her life. 

Many readers will probably want to devour this book in one sitting.  I cannot help thinking what a suspenseful film All Her Little Secrets could become.

Thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for the advance reader copy.  I have preordered a copy for my daughter who works in an Atlanta area law office.
Was this review helpful?
This debut novel by Wanda Morris was so well written and engaging. I loved it! I wanted it to get to the conclusion, but I really didn’t want it to end! Ellie was the perfect protagonist; likable, intelligent and loyal. She was perfectly imperfect and was so honest about how exhausting life can be for a black woman in America. It really made me think. Looking forward to more from this author. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a digital arc of this book. Releases November 2, 2021.
Was this review helpful?
This is a story about secrets.  Ellice Littlejohn seems like she has everything going for her -- college and law degrees from top schools, a senior legal job at a major Atlanta corporation, and a beautiful apartment.  Beyond the facade that Ellice presents to the world, though, everything is not quite what it seems -- Ellice is sleeping with her married boss, she is one of the few Black employees at her company, and her childhood contains many dark secrets that she has successfully kept hidden ever since she left her small hometown.

One early morning, she walks into her boss/lover's office for an early morning meeting, only to find him dead from a gunshot to the head.  Soon, and seemingly out of nowhere, Ellice is called to the company CEO's office and informed she will be promoted to replace her boss.  As Ellice becomes more deeply enmeshed in her company's affairs, she begins to sense something is not quite right -- just as the police are getting suspicious of what really happened to Ellice's boss and her role in his demise.  Ellice soon finds herself trying to head off a conspiracy before it destroys everything, and everyone, in her life.

This was a strong thriller. The central mystery kept me on my toes, zig and zagging several times.  The author effectively paired the thriller with a story of whether it is ever possible to escape your past and an examination of the overt and covert challenges of navigating the legal and corporate worlds as a Black woman.  I tore through this one in a single day.
Was this review helpful?
Ellice Littlejohn is a 50-something, Yale-educated corporate attorney working for Atlanta-based Houghton Transportation Company. Despite the company being criticized for its mostly white male hiring practices, Ellice, a Black woman, appears to be on a path for success. When she discovers her boss Michael Sayles in his office one early morning dead of an apparent suicide, she flees the scene. She wants to insure that her years-long affair with her mentor isn’t discovered and she wants to keep any knowledge of her past a secret. Once Ellice is quickly promoted to general counsel, her life turns upside down. She soon starts to discover the secrets being held by her company, which may have contributed to Michael’s death. In flashbacks, Ellice’s difficult childhood in rural Georgia is revealed and the tragic events she is hiding from everyone come to light.

Author Wanda M. Morris has created a tense mystery thriller in a corporate setting that is plagued by racism and sexual discrimination. It takes toxic workplace to a whole new level. All Her Little Secrets is a fast-paced, highly entertaining book that I couldn’t put down.

Rated 4.25 stars.
Was this review helpful?
I kept wondering how the plot would have changed had Ellice called the police upon finding her boss and lover Michael dead on the floor in his office rather than walking away and letting someone else find him.  An attorney for an Atlanta trucking firm. she's working hard to put her past and more importantly her secrets behind her but they're out there and some one always knows.  Now she's been promoted into Michael's position and she's a target.  No spoilers. This sorta legal thriller hits on issues of toxic corporate culture, racism, conspiracies, and so on.  Ellice makes some remarkably bad decisions.  Some of it is quite trope-y and some of the characters are almost caricatures but I did want to know what was going to happen- and was a bit surprised.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  I'm eager to see what Morris writes next.
Was this review helpful?
This was a fast-paced story about a lawyer getting an executive position at the company where she worked after the predecessor allegedly commit suicide. As the story unwinds, there are some corporate challenges playout for the female character who is black. She finds out her brother is somehow involved and gets murdered. The story takes the reader through her discovering of corporate misdoing and making amends with her past.
Was this review helpful?
This was a very good book kept me hooked until the end, a very fast paced and on the edge of your seat read!
Was this review helpful?
Shelf Awareness Pro, Tues, Oct 5, 2021:

Wanda M. Morris's fast-paced and thrilling debut, the aptly named All Her Little Secrets, reveals the many, many secrets collected over the years of one woman's life--and what happens when they eventually catch up to her.

Ellice Littlejohn shows the world the woman she wants them to see: "Smart. Tempered. Ellice Littlejohn, the consummate professional." What she hides behind that façade, though, is far more complicated--and potentially dangerous: a childhood spent in poverty in Chillicothe, Ga., with an alcoholic mother and abusive cop for a stepfather. An unlikely scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, and a brother left behind on her departure. A misguided affair with her married boss, executive vice-president and general counsel of Houghton Transportation Company, which has only a handful of female employees and even fewer employees of color.

These secrets feel entirely disconnected from Ellice's reality as the only Black employee in the legal department--until she finds her boss, who is also her lover, dead in his office before the crack of dawn one weekday morning. "Blood. Death. This was Chillicothe all over again." She panics, "And I did what I always did. I ran. My earliest memory is of running."

This brutal discovery falls at the very start of All Her Little Secrets, and Ellice continues that fast-paced run from her secrets for as long as she can. "The more I tried to shake it loose, the more intertwined the past became with the present," she realizes. Her desperation to keep that past hidden boxes her and her younger brother into an increasingly impossible corner--one, or both, of them must take the fall for a conspiracy that goes far beyond Ellice, her boss or her employer's shady dealings.

"This entire situation was a complicated knot of moral and ethical issues I wasn't quite sure how to fix," but Ellice's sheer determination to do just that ultimately forms the heart of Morris's suspenseful and compelling novel. As Ellice's secrets threaten to reveal themselves--or be revealed by an all-too-knowledgeable enemy--All Her Little Secrets builds to an exciting conclusion, marking Morris as an electrifying new voice in the genre. Morris's debut will prove perfect for readers looking for thrillers that reveal dark secrets and twisted webs of lies alongside hard truths about the realities of racism and sexism in corporate America. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Shelf Talker: A tightly paced debut thriller pits the lone Black lawyer in a large corporation against a web of lies and conspiracies that threaten to reveal dangerous secrets from her past.
Was this review helpful?

Genre: Mystery, thriller, fiction

Brief synopsis: Corporate attorney Ellice Littlejohn is thrust into the executive ranks of her office after her boss is murdered, but feels that not all is what it seems at the company. While she investigates, secrets from her past threaten to be revealed. 

As a law student, when I read the synopsis of this legal thriller and heard the comparisons to How to Get Away With Murder, I knew I had to read this. I was not disappointed!

What I liked:
⚖️ Started out with a bang!
⚖️ Thrilling moments and twists.
⚖️ Loved the main character and definitely got Annalise Keating vibes.
⚖️ The law student in me loved the lawyer talk and discussion of legal ethics.
⚖️ Dual timelines of the present and Ellice’s past.
⚖️ Important discussion of race, especially in the legal field/corporate world.

What I didn’t like:
⚖️ A little confusing keeping all the coworkers straight.
⚖️ At times a little cheesy/cliche.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and am very impressed this is the authors debut work. There’s important messages and themes about race since Ellice is the sole black executive and one of the few black employees of the office. There’s also a plot point about an extreme political group, keeping this vague to avoid spoilers.

I was super entertained trying to figure out who arranged the murders, what nefarious thing was going on at the office, and what secrets Ellice was hiding. She had a rough upbringing so please see the trigger warnings. Ellice is a total bad ass, I would love to see this as a limited series tv adaptation.

If you are looking for a legal thriller, this is the read for you! 

“I was a fighter. Black girls … fight all the time. We fight to be heard, to be recognized, to stay alive. We fight even when we don’t know we’re fighting.”

⚠️: Child sexual abuse, substance abuse, abortion, murder
Was this review helpful?
Ellice Littlejohn finds her boss dead and walks away. That's just the beginning. As things unfold, everyone learns the gospel truth. Ellice Littlejohn must put things right because the other option is deadly. 

Ellice Littlejohn leads a double life. On the one hand, she is the only black lawyer at an elite company in Atlanta. On the other hand, she has a closet full of skeletons. 

When your bosses start a war, the only option is to fight back. 

I enjoyed this read. I consciously read authors and stories from various backgrounds. I live in Atlanta, so the history and places are all too familiar. There's always something to relate to: everyone can relate to pain, fear, and empathy. 

This is a tribute to a self-sacrificing black woman in whitewashed corporate Atlanta.
Was this review helpful?
When fourteen-year-old Ellice Littlejohn left her hometown of Chillicothe, Georgia behind to attend boarding school in Virginia on a full scholarship, she never looked back. She later becomes a successful attorney and rewrites her history so well that even her closest friends don’t know about her terrible childhood. When her boss and the man with whom she’s been having an affair is found dead in his office, Ellice begins to uncover secrets her company is hiding and risks her own troubled past being exposed.

This book is told mostly in the present from Ellice’s point-of-view, but has several shorter chapters that go back to the past and reveal parts of her childhood. Some of the things she experiences are very disturbing and hard to read. In the present day, Ellice experiences both overt and more subtle discrimination as the only Black lawyer in the legal department of Houghton Transportation. It is shocking how deeply some of the racist feelings and behaviors go among most of the executive team of the company. Ellice made some questionable decisions in the past, which can be excused by the circumstances and her youth. She is a character I was rooting for, even when she made it very hard to do. When things heat up on the investigation into her boss and lover’s death, she makes one bad choice after another and that becomes frustrating. 

This is a very  tense and suspense-filled novel. It was hard to put down until I could find out the whole story of what was going on at Houghton. I was surprised by some of the things that came out about the murder, the motive, and the killler. I like the ending, but there were still some loose ends that weren’t tied up. There are also missed opportunities, especially in getting to know the character of Juice, a friend of Ellice’s brother, and her best friend, Grace, better. When some of Grace’s backstory was given, I thought for sure that would play a part in how Ellice handles her current problems, but it is never expanded on. It makes me wonder if a follow-up book is planned for the future. If not, it’s a shame that Grace didn’t play a larger role in the story. In spite of that, I enjoyed this interesting and fast-paced mystery.

Thank you to NetGalley, William Morrow, and Scene of the Crime Early Reads for this ebook. An advance copy was provided to me at no cost, but my review is voluntary and unbiased.
Was this review helpful?
Ellice Littlejohn is the only black corporate attorney at a mostly white shipping company. One morning she finds her boss and lover, Michael, dead in his office. What follows is a serious of twists and turns as Ellice tries to uncover what happened to Michael along with the many suspicious things happening around his murder. This is definitely a fast-paced thriller - sometimes a little too fast as I felt some items were merely plot points that could've had more depth. This includes the racism that is prevalent throughout the book. I think some additional background about Houghton and some of the others that worked there would've helped with that. I enjoyed the flashbacks to Ellice's past and this really helped solidify the relationship with Sam and Vera and made you care about them. This is a solid debut by Wanda M. Morris and I look forward to reading more from her. Thanks to Book Club Girl for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
What exactly was going on? She left him lying there, as she hurried down to the proper floor where her own workspace was waiting for her.  There was so much blood, she knew that Michael was dead.  Ellice had to pretend like nothing had happened.  They’d been meeting up for a while and no one knew of their relationship.  Michael paid her well and they both were happy.  They were both lawyers, except Ellice was the only black lawyer in the firm and Michael was married.  

Ellice was good at pretending that she knew nothing about what happened that morning.  As the police and emergency personal arrive at the office building, Ellice tries to stay calm yet inside she’s a nervous wreck.  When invited into the CEO office, she feels her days are over and yet, she can’t believe her ears when they offer her Michael’s job.  What?!  Instantly, I think this is a set-up.  I’m cautious of everyone, why would they do that and who would do it?  Then, Ellice hears that it’s a racially motivated move to place her in Michael’s position, which makes sense since there’s some tension on their doorstep.  Yet, this doesn’t make sense to me and why kill him?  

I liked how Ellice didn’t accept what individual were telling her and she downed her private detective tools and she started her own investigation.  She actually made a great detective as she explored every lead and she pursued every little trail she found.  I found that in the middle of the book, it got a bit slow for a while but then, it picked back up in speed and the book’s conclusion was brilliant. In the end, what she uncovered was some twisted account with a lot of different pieces attached to it.  It was quite the discovery.  This book was an entertaining mystery that I enjoyed.  4.5 stars
Was this review helpful?
WOW! What a great mystery set in a law firm! Ellice is the only black lawyer at her law firm and she is having an affair with her boss. When he is found dead by Ellice, she walks away like she never saw his dead body as she doesn't want any attention on her. She is promoted to his job and that is where the fun starts! This book has lots of twists and turns and I enjoyed them all. I received an advanced readers copy and all opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This was a well-written, intriguing, and beautifully constructed legal thriller focusing on race, hidden secrets, and sex, sexuality, and rape.  It handles each topic with care and great interest, and provides a lot of really profound and often striking insight into topics prevalent and important in today's American South.
Was this review helpful?
Didn't love it, didn't hate it. The story was fine, but it felt like there were some missing pieces, and the pacing was a little off at times. Many of the decisions made by the main character (Ellice) might have been a bit more believable if she was younger and more naïve, but rarely made sense for a character who is a successful lawyer in her mid-50s.
Was this review helpful?