Cover Image: The Secret

The Secret

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Wow Wow Wow. My first book from Debbie Howells and now I want to read them all. This was such a good story! Very fast paced and kept me guessing until the end!
The chapters were the perfect length to help me breeze through this story. 
This book does have some CW: emotional and physical abuse/violence, child exploitation

However, this book kept me interested until the very end! Definitely recommend!
Was this review helpful?
Although the blurb on this book does not indicate this, this title is centred in many ways around Dr Andrew Buckley's bullying control of his wife, Elise and his daughter, Niamh. It is hard to believe that his extreme behaviour is not more obvious to the local community. He is a very unpleasant, unlikeable character. The title may be The Secret but there are secrets galore in this title which are brought to the fore painfully slowly. So many of these secrets seem to have been kept with the intention of not hurting the feelings of innocent characters within the book.
Many thanks to Netgalley/Debbie Howells/Avon Books UK for a digital copy of this title. All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
The author's books are a hit and miss for me. This one was a slow burner, and unfortunately, it turned out not to be to my liking. I found that all the POV's sounded exactly the same, and it stopped me from rooting for any of the characters.
The ending, though, was shocking, and it saved the book from receiving one star.
Was this review helpful?
This is an article headline that haunts the entire story. Elise spots this on a magazine cover whilst working as an air stewardess. It prompts her thinking about the other 90% and I think the writer cleverly reflects this ratio in the story.

A thrilling read, I was anticipating the final twist at the end – because there has been so much hype about it! Despite predicting some of the novel’s outcomes, I still enjoyed my first read by this author and am definitely going to seek out Howells’s other books.

Set in the sleepy village of Abingworth, it would appear that the mysterious death of local teenager, Hollie, leaves police stumped. The community seems to be full of secrets as the locals close off to the investigations. Told from the perspectives of Elise, Niamh and Jo, the police detective, the narrative details the events leading up to Hollie’s death and how Elise and Niamh are part of an even bigger story. Parallel to this, readers learn that the police are investigating a further, bigger crime that is linked to Abingworth, proving that this quiet village is anything but. This subsequently ties in nicely with the article headline, leaving readers question which category the different characters fall in to – good or not?

The way that characters alter over this story adds to the thrill of this read. Appearances can be deceiving and even though Howells demonstrates truths about particular relationships quite early on in the book, I enjoyed watching how so much alters over the police enquiry. Character reactions evolve and seeing how the community responds to Elise was especially interesting, considering how she is married to the local doctor. There is a lot of suspicion and distrust amongst the villagers and I think this added to the intensity of Hollie’s death.

Although there is a lot of sadness behind the story, I think Howells handles this in a sensitive manner. Elise’s loveless marriage, coupled with her desire to protect Niamh, adds to a lot of tension in the narrative. Indeed, Elise’s intentions at protecting Niamh after Hollie’s death proves significant to the police investigations and, added with the fact that Niamh’s narrative is few and far between, meant that Howells really builds the intensity of the story before any revelations come to light.

This was an exciting, twisting book but I do wish less attention had been paid to the final surprises. I think this would have made the story give a greater impact if I had not been anticipating it! Despite this, I thought the story thrilling and intense. I loved how the narrative switched perspectives to add further dimension to the plot and, with the very short chapters, it was difficult to not read this quickly.

With thanks to Avon books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book kept me captivated throughout.  I loved all the surprises throughout.  A small village mentality of protecting each other but hiding behind a smoke screen of suspicion but never confirmed secrets.  The characters were people you might meet in your life and felt real.
Was this review helpful?
A true twisty page turner of a book. Told from the point of view of the main characters which made it all the more engaging.
Was this review helpful?
I really liked this and what a surprise ending, I didn't see that coming. The small village where everyone thinks they know everybody secrets but they don't!
Was this review helpful?
I Really enjoyed this book, I liked the way it was written with each chapter from a different main character. I thought all the characters were great and believable. A quiet village setting with lots of twists and turns which had me guessing right to the end. 
A real page turner.
This was my first book by Debbie Howells and I am pleased to discover there is a back catalogue which I will look forward to reading. If you like a psychological thriller this is highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
A slow-paced thriller that deals with coercive control among other evils, this one does require a trigger warning for a few descriptive abuse scenes. 

The death of a local teenager in the tiny village of Abingworth unravels a string of secrets concealed under a toxic layer of lies, abuse and gaslighting. 

Despite the many glowing reviews that prompted me to request for this book, I simply couldn't bring myself to like it. While the subject matter does deal with a heinous crime, the plot itself was stretched out. For over 70% of the narrative, the various characters reiterated that 'they couldn't reveal the truth' or 'there was no point in saying the truth.' Instead of adding to the intrigue, this held the story in a sort of loop where after a point, it began to feel repetitive. 

The characters are well fleshed out - be it the tyrannical psycopath husband Andrew, abused wife Elise or traumatised teenager, Niamh. It was irksome to note that Dylan was mentioned only in broad strokes despite being an important link in the mystery. While I was invested in the investigation part of the storyline, the domestic abuse and coercive control part seemed way too preachy, especially in Jo's POV. Instead of allowing the story to speak for itself, parts of the narrative read like an article imparting information rather than a scene unfolding to evoke emotion or outrage in the reader. While the author's prose is commendable, her story telling technique needs much work. I really did like the ending though; that was one plot twist that I didn't see coming. 

Overall, a decent plotline whose execution was found wanting. I believe there was a good story in there that could have been written better. Thanks to Netgalley and Avon Books for providing a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This psychological thriller had me gripped by the synopsis, and although this was averagely paced, the short chapters made this an interesting, intriguing, and entertaining read. 

Told by multiple points of views, a favorite writing style of mine, “The Secret” did not disappoint. As expected from this genre, there were different revelations to unfold and when it came to twists, shocking moments and surprises, this author writes well. The conclusion was powerful and definitely unforeseen. 

There are a few sensitive issues within this story, that some readers may find upsetting and it would be beneficial to research fully.

Overall, a good thriller that I would definitely recommend and I look forward to reading more by this author.
Was this review helpful?
Overall I enjoyed the book, but couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed when it ended, I thought it was rather abrupt. It’s written from the point of view of three characters, each chapter has the person’s name at the top so you know who is telling the story. I like this format, and the story flowed well. From the start I was invested and wanted to find out what was going to happen. I recommend this book, thank you #netgalley
Was this review helpful?
Best friends Hollie and Niamh tell each other everything. They are the best of friends.
One day Hollie tells Niamh about a devastating discovery, swears her to secrecy, then vanishes.  The villagers claim to know nothing. But when Hollie’s body is found, the police know one of the villagers isn’t just a liar, but a killer…

I really enjoyed this book, there were plenty of twists and turns to hold my interest and keep me guessing.  I loved how there were two stories in this book that eventually crossed over into each other and how it was all tied together. I will say this for such a tiny village there were a lot of not nice people who lived there. But they all got the just dessert’s in the end.
Was this review helpful?
Many thanks to Netgalley and Avon Books UK for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately I haven’t read much over the holidays but started this in the New year and finished last night just in time for release day today!  So this is out now and if you like a psychological thriller this is well worth picking up.  
It was easy to read and had my interest quickly which is what I really needed to be able to forget the real world for a while.  
The writing was a slightly different style for me although I can’t put it into words why. I did wonder if I’d get on with it at the very beginning but the story quickly got me hooked.  
Told from the points of view of two women and a girl it tells the story of two families in one very small English village and, as the title lets us know, everyone seems to have a Secret. 
Trigger warning for domestic abuse and coercive control and general talk of child porn.  
I really enjoyed this story and liked the characters especially Elise and Jo.
Was this review helpful?
My first time to read Debbie Howells but definitely not the last!  Enjoyed this domestic thriller very much.  Great POVs and storyline that was easy to follow.  Loved the characters! 
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book
Was this review helpful?
So this was full on. I love a thriller and this did not disappoint.
Trigger for domestic abuse and suicide though. This was definitely not one for the faint-hearted. It was so good though - a great pace to it and definitely had some unexpected twists and turns to it. A tense psychological thriller was just what I needed!

I also was intrigued that this was set like an hour from where I live!
Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers and the author for this one.
Was this review helpful?
You can never really know what goes on behind closed doors, can you? When a young woman goes missing in a small village the police soon realise that there are secrets waiting to be uncovered.

A dark psychological thriller that is totally gripping.
Was this review helpful?
This is the book I’ve read from Debbie Howells, and to be honest it was a decent physiological thriller,Elise is married to her doctor husband Andrew who in public portrays a caring amiable persona,but behind closed doors he is a controlling bully who delights in bullying Elise and their daughter Niamh and having numerous affairs which he delights in taunting Elise about,.the police become involved when a child porn ring is thought to have its roots in the village where they all live.With plenty of twists and turns along the way and secrets being revealed it is a book that kept me interested to the final chapter.A good 4 star read from Debbie Howells.
Was this review helpful?
Fabulous!  What an absolute corker of a book! More twists than your local theme park rollercoaster and some absolutely horrid characters who make for a great read. Families, close-knit villagers who close ranks when push comes to shove, dubious financial transactions and secrets between friends, not to mention an occasional lie to distract from what goes on behind closed doors. All of this and so very much more kept me turning the pages in Debbie Howells' latest gripping tale so fast that I had whipped through it in under 24 hours. And that is a rarity for me!
Niamh and Hollie are the only 2 teenagers in the village of Abingworth and as such stand out among the residents. They live in each other's pockets, telling each other everything. Yet when Hollie goes missing, Niamh seems to be in the dark as much as anyone as to what could have happened to Hollie. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Was this review helpful?
Elise is trapped in a loveless marriage to Andrew, a local gp. He is overbearing and manipulative. Two sudden deaths and the investigation into a children porn ring intertwines with Elise’s life. Her daughter knows more than she has admitted. Secrets she has kept for her brother and friend. Elise also has a secret that she hadn’t shared. The story is told from Elise’s  viewpoint , her daughters and one of the detectives. Thoroughly enjoyable read
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publishers at Avon Books UK and Netgalley for this e-ARC of The Secret.

The Secret is a multi POV novel set in a quaint English village. Elise, wife to a doctor and mother to daughter, Niamh, is in a loveless marriage with a serial adulterer. Niamh is one of only two teenagers in her small village, and Jo is the police officer called in to inspect the death of Niamh’s friend, Hollie. 

Secrets are fervent in this village, with everyone seeming to be holding something back. While Jo investigates the disappearance and subsequent death of Hollie, secrets will begin to unravel in every direction. You’ll never guess the biggest secret of them all.

I enjoyed this book for the most part. While it was a bit repetitive at times, I was definitely interested in figuring out the secret that Hollie shared with Niamh shortly before her untimely death, and I have to say that I definitely didn’t see it coming. The ending was also a great twist. Overall though, the characters and dialogue were kind of bland and cliché-y. 

The Secret releases January 6th!
Was this review helpful?