The first thing I would say about this book is that there are a lot of triggers around mental health, domestic abuse/violence as well as others which I won't list as it would like act as a spoiler.
This is my first Debbie Howells book and I have to say I really enjoyed it.
Niamh and Hollie are the only two teenagers in a sleepy village and become friends. Hollie discovers a secret about their village and its residents and swears Niamh to secrecy, Hollie is then found dead and the whole village is under suspicion and Niamh agonises over assisting the Police by unveiling Hollie's secret or remaining loyal to her dead friend.
I think books like this, which relate to a long, drawn out secret (which is kept from the reader until the end) live or die by their ending when all is revealed. The reason that this is 4 stars rather than 5 is that I thought the ending was quite predictable (and I am very rarely able to guess the endings of books!).
However the story was good, and I think Howells captured the small village feel very well. There are some truly vile characters who you will end up hating and some real heroes who you will cheer for and Howells captures the essence of both the good and bad extremely well.
I would definitely recommend this book to others however due to the issues within the book it may be a difficult read for some. I should say, however, that Howells does write about the issues about very well and senstively.
Thanks to Avon Books and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to Avon Books and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
The Secret by Debbie Howells is a very dark thriller about deadly secrets. The story revolves around two teenagers: Hollie and Niamh. They're best friends and tell each other everything. One day, Hollie tells Niamh one of her darkest secrets, and then she turns up dead. Who would have killed Hollie in order to keep her mouth shut? And what was the secret that was so devastating it merited killing a teenager? The story alternatives between three viewpoints: Niahm, her mother Elise, and Jo, a detective on the case.
Here is an excerpt from the Prologue, which is from Niamh's point of view:
"Hollie didn't have a chance. She was too fragile, looking for a love she needed but had never had. Not even from the people closest to her: the mother she adored who screwed her up, then killed herself; the father who didn't have time for her; the stepmother who tried to love her, but couldn't give her the mother's love she craved.
It seemed inevitable that Hollie and Dylan would fall in love. And, for a while, it was glorious... When love consumed you the way theirs did, everything else was irrelevant.
Until the day of yellow sky and wild winds, when it all stopped."
Overall, The Secret is a seriously dark thriller that will appeal to fans of Karin Slaughter. The beginning of this book was great, but it went downhill from there. I took off 1 star, because just like Karin Slaughter's Pretty Girls, this book is way too dark for me. I went in expecting a nice domestic thriller with some twists. Instead, this book has probably every trigger under the sun. I took off another star, because I couldn't stand Niamh's character. Her actions, such as keeping dangerous secrets from everyone around her, are nonsensical and only serve to make the plot last longer. I took off another star, because there are a lot of conversations, but not a lot of action. I wish there had been more showing instead of telling If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of domestic thrillers, you can check out this book when it comes out in January!
This is a book I could not put down…this book was sent to me on Kindle by Netgalley for review…murder…mayhem…abuse…divorce…family…friends…psychological and physical abuse…narcissism…family dynamics…this story is woven as a true story but is fiction…when reading this book, I felt as if I knew the characters…the good part is that the bad guys are caught…they get what they deserve…the ending is somewhat surprising but not totally. I look forward to reading more by this author.
I absolutely love everything about this book from the story to the cover. It’s a great story that completely brings you in immediately. The pacing is perfect and I loved the ending.
Great book I read this on a rainy day in a couple of hours. I loved the characters and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened. This book is a great thriller.