Keeping Secrets by Andrew Rosenheim

As a child in California,  Jack Renoir witnessed the brutal murder of his uncle, and ever since then, he has cut himself off from emotion, refusing to allow himself to get close to anybody.  He gets a job in security clearance, which means that he has to unearth the secrets that people hope to keep buried.  But thirty years later, he meets Kate Palmer, an English businesswoman, and can’t help falling in love with her.  Jack moves to England to start a new life with Kate, and put his past business behind him…but it’s not long before little things start to raise doubts about Kate, and despite his intentions, Jack can’t help trying to discover exactly what it is going on…

This book has two storylines;  Jack’s life with his uncle Will and Will’s girlfriend Maris, and the events which led to Will’s murder; and Jack’s life with Kate and his suspicions about what she is not telling him.  The story switches between California and Belfield (Kate’s family estate in England) and also between the present day, and thirty years before.  I enjoyed the parts set in California very much.  I do believe that in fact, the story of Jack’s childhood and his subsequent approach to relationships, would have made an interesting novel in itself, without the storyline of his relationship with Kate.  I do believe that the book would have been much better if it had been about 50 pages shorter, and had concentrated more on the events of Jack’s childhood (and their subsequent effects) than on his current life and relationship.

The storyline about Jack’s relationship with Kate was less interesting; the secret which Kate was obviously hiding from Jack was not as interesting as it should have been, and I ended up not really caring how that particular aspect of the story turned out.  I did not think Kate was a particularly likeable character, and found it hard to care about her or her family.

However, the book was interesting enough to hold my attention.  I am not sure whether it was supposed to be a romance, or a mystery, and I think the mystery aspect worked better.  Renoir was a likeable character, and certainly easy enough for the reader to like.  I would certainly be interested in reading further books by this author.

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