Cover Image: The Secret

The Secret

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Member Reviews

This was an exciting psychological read.  It was uncomfortable to read in places but extremely well written.  
I didn’t actually much like Niamh,  though he upbringing and vile father probably had a part in that. I also didn’t warm to Elise but that’s not to say they weren’t written well. They definitely were! 
The book seemed too slow down towards the end and become quite obvious and then a very sudden twist to finish 
I will definitely search out more books by this author
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This book was a bit hard to read in places, a family suffering metal and physical abuse. 
It had me really captivated and reading very late to find out what happened. The very end was totally not what I thought, but I love the way that Debbie Howells manages to  get you immersed in the storyline.
Thank you netgalley
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I have just spent about three days with Elise. Elise seems to have it all, a job where she travels to different cities on a weekly basis, a daughter doing well at school, a grand house in  a tight knit village, and a husband who is the village doctor. So why does driving home fill her with dread? Why is her life shrouded in secrets?, and what kind of devastation will it take for the secrets to be shared?..
A tale about abuse, and loss. and control, and fear. A book with well developed characters. A quick easy read.
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This is an intense psychological suspense. The multilayered plot and relatable characters make this a book you have to finish.

The themes are noir-crime but they are sensitively written. Told from two unreliable protagonist viewpoints this is a poignant story with immersive suspense. 

The third viewpoint from the detective on the case adds a police procedural element. The detective is complex and insightful. 
The final twists resonate.

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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The story was set well, but I really struggled with Andrew, I didn’t find him believable.  I did enjoy the story and the stories entwined were compelling.  I kind of guessed the plot twist but it was definitely worth the read. 

Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for gifting me this arc in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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This book was a fast paced psychological thriller that grabbed your attention right from the start. The characters in this book all seemed to have a dark aura around them and the book was written with multiple points of view which made the flow easy to follow.

The story revolved around a small village in the UK  with an ongoing investigation into a child pornography ring. Add to this the dark secrets of the Buckley family, the disappearance of a local girl and sometimes unreliable characters, this book kept me guessing right to the end.  The Buckley family included Elise, (mother/wife/airline flight attendant), Niamh (teen daughter/student/friend) and Andrew (father/husband/local Doctor).  The secrets of this family and the small community in which they lived intertwined and provided the backdrop for this quick moving storyline.  

I enjoyed reading this eARC and would like to thank the publisher for the opportunity to review.
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Thank you Netgalley and Avon Books, this book is terrifyingly a compelling page turner, I anxiously enjoyed this story and whilst reading it “it felt like watching a movie peeking through my fingers that were covering my eyes” and yet I could not put it down. Midway through, there were parts that made me feel squeamish and quite uncomfortable and I feel it’s worth mentioning there are particular triggers throughout the story regarding child exploitation and domestic violence and yet I was so engrossed in the unfolding story I was compelled to keep on reading.

The idyllic village of Abingworth, where everybody knows everybody, it really does go to show, non-one ever really knows what goes on behind closed doors, over the neighbouring fence, down the end of that leafy secluded drive-way. How well do loving parents know what their adored children get up to, who they mix with, or the secrets they are hiding from their parents.

I couldn’t help repeating to myself throughout the story a headline ‘Only 10% of people are good’ that Elise a flight attendant, Niamhs mother, had noticed on a passenger’s magazine, and I felt as the story evolved there was never a truer word spoken. To me it felt it was ringing true of a lot of Abingworth villagers. It began to feel like I could count out on my fingers who that 10% of people were and it began to look a lot like only 10% of the people weren’t deceitful, cheating, or lying.

This is a really good read, plenty of plot twists with an ending I did not see coming, I do recommend you read this book, and other books by Debbie Howells you will not be disappointed.
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This book simply has to be one of the best books I have read in 2021!

I have not read Debbie Howells before, but after reading this one, I´m certainly going to add her to my list of outstanding authors.  

The storying line is utterly compelling, two friends, Hollie and Niamh, one telling the other her secret, and what a secret!  This book has everything, intrigue, murder, domestic abuse, blackmail, all brilliantly drawn together by the author. And as for the ending, never saw that coming!!

Sensational book!

My thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy in return for an honest review.
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This was a great book. The chapters were fairly short and told from different POV’s.

There were lots of characters some I really disliked. Lots going on too, and this will keep you guessing until the very end.

It was interesting reading from Detective May’s perspective and seeing things from their side.

This was my first book by this author and I will definitely be reading more.

Thanks to Avon books Uk and Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A fast-paced, gripping psychological thriller that won't let you think about anything else until you reach the end. I devoured this book in just two sittings. 

The story is told from the POV of Elise (mother), Niamh (daughter), and Jo (detective), who try to come to terms and solve the mystery of the death of Hollie, a teenager found dead in the village where they live. The main story soon develops including a ring dealing with child pornography, a violent husband, and a village whose inhabitants all seem to be hiding something. I loved to see all the threads coming together and the ending was very satisfying. 

This was my first book by Debbie Howells and definitely won't be my last.

Thank you so much NetGallery and Avon Books for the opportunity to read the advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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In my opinion this is a brilliant psychological thriller which had me gripped and read within 24 hours.
I would point out that this book may not be for everyone as there are a few triggers involved- mental health, domestic abuse and others which I won't mention to avoid giving any spoilers. However, these issues are dealt with sensitivity by the author.
Thanks to netgalley and Avon books for this recommended read.
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This is a book that will keep you guessing. You know from the beginning that the father, Andrew, is not a nice person. He’s cruel, unfaithful, and generally a bad person. What you don’t know is how is he, or is he is, part of deaths in the book. 

The story has several narrators and I love this type of story. You get to see from different perspectives. I really enjoyed this book, especially the characters as they develop throughout the story. I would recommend this book to someone looking for a complex thriller with a lot of mysteries to solve.
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I was a bit unsure about this kind of throughout the book to be honest. In places it was really good, especially the ending which was a great little twist to end on. I did find that some of the things I managed to guess which took away from the story. I just wasn’t as gripped the whole way through as I was hoping to be. Which doesn’t mean there weren’t good points - sensitive topics were covered well and as mentioned the ending was unexpected but in a good way. 

Thank you NetGalley and to the publishers for my copy of this book in return for a review
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What a book! I had no clue what any of the twists would be, the plot is very well thought out. I enjoyed the writing style, it really brought the characters to life and made me so invested in Hollie and Niamh's lives. The setting of a small village works so well as it made the whole story feel isolated and closed in. I will definitely be reading more of Debbie Howells' books in the future!
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2.5 ⭐

With the central topics such as a murder of a teenager, domestic abuse and child porn, this book will hardly ever end up on anyone's list of pleasant reads. But it was an ok thriller/mystery that I’d probably liked more if I haven't encountered similar plot twist in a couple of other recent reads.

The good news is that the book was able to suck me in. Not for a second did I think about DNF-ing it - I had to know what's going to happen. However, once I got to the end, I’m not sure it was worth it.

Plus, I had two huge problems with the narration. 

First - it was really repetitive. So many times there would be a scene, then someone would be repeating it word for word to someone else.

And second - the way they've been acquiring evidence was a bit off. Basically, lots of people knew more that they were saying, and they were pretty much adding a bit more every next time they were questioned. It killed all the excitement after a while.

On the positive note, the character work was done really well. Most characters were nicely fleshed out and I could almost imagine getting to know them as if they were real people.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of The Secret by Debbie Howells in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a real behind closed doors type of thriller and set in a small village to boot!

Elise is a flight attendant whilst her husband, Andrew is the local doctor. They live in a beautiful house with their teenage daughter Niamh. Although Niamh doesn't go to the local school her closest friend is Hollie who lives in the village and it soon becomes apparent that the two girls are sharing a secret. What it is will have serious consequences for many.

This is a tense thriller which stays the right side of believable that allowed me to be swept under by the swirling darkness of what truths the story shone a light on.

A great story to look out for in 2022.
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If you are looking for a gripping page turner, they don’t get much better than this! 
A great story which moves at a cracking pace. I raced through this book constantly trying to guess who was responsible for what and failing miserably. It is expertly written with so many twists and turns, with many different characters each having their own motives and actions questioned throughout. 
I would certainly recommend this as a great psychological thriller to add to you wish list and rated it 5 stars. ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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This is a brilliant psychological thriller. 
The title of the book suggests one secret but most people in this village are hiding something from others. 
Hollie and Niamh are best friends but when Hollie is found dead, the Police start to look into the lives of the people in the village. 
Niamh’s Dad, Andrew, is a nasty piece of work and has made her Mum’s life a misery for many years. Elise has had enough and starts to build the courage to leave him, but he then beats her so badly, she ends up in hospital. 
The Police are supportive of Elise and persuade her to get away from Andrew just as evidence is found of his link to other crimes. 
There’s lots going on in this book and it will definitely keep you guessing who killed Hollie. 
A brilliant book that I’d highly recommend. 
Thanks to Avon Books UK and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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The Secret is a tense psychological thriller told from several interesting POVs and consists of an intricate plot with delicately woven threads. The pace is more on the slow side but that worked really well here and I found myself intrigued from start to end. 

This book highlights a range of difficult and sensitive topics including domestic violence and specifically marital coercive control, issues which the author confronted realistically and sensitively. The small town feel in this novel was poignant and proved how tight-knit communities can be equally helpful when it comes to having eyes on fellow neighbours and uncovering secrets but also have their downfalls with villagers closing ranks when feeling threatened. 

I really enjoyed this book, the gripping way in which it is written and the revelations and twists that are revealed throughout.

Thanks to Netgalley and Avon Books UK for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Advance Copy from Netgalley

TW: This book deals with domestic violence and child pornography

I really enjoyed this multiple narrative fast paced thriller. Short pacey chapters told from different narratives creating suspense found I was constantly changing my views wondering 'who to trust'.

I kept turning pages wanting to know more as just as I thought I had things sussed another curve ball would be thrown keeping me engaged to the last page - even that threw a final 'oh' moment.

The book starts and you think it's a typical whodunnit and then it changes and becomes so much more of a tangled web.

Well worth a read and I'll be seeking more from Debbie Howells in the future.
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