The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas

I’ve taken a while to reflect on this book before writing my review – every review I’ve read so far has been glowing, whereas for me, the book didn’t quite work.

Sarah has been through a very difficult time, dealing with both a stillbirth and the betrayal of her partner sleeping with her best friend. She goes away with her sister to think things over, and whilst there she meets Alex, and his son Jamie. She seems immediately smitten – after just two meetings she sleeps with him, and agrees to move in. Although this arrangement is partly to help with Jamie, it’s also a romantic arrangement, and I think this early point is where I lost my connection with the story. Sarah is meant to be damaged from her experiences, and yet she’s jumping into a new relationship without a second thought.

Once moved in, Sarah realises that Alex’s missing partner, Genevieve, was loved by all around her. They find it hard to understand why she left, and why she hasn’t been in touch since, and so Sarah is understandably not made very welcome.

From here, the book isn’t sure if it’s trying to be a romance, a ghost story, or a thriller. Sarah and Alex’s relationship is rather volatile, and there were many times when I wondered why she stayed. The ghost story doesn’t quite evolve enough, and the thriller aspect seems stronger during the second half.

As a positive, Louise does manage a good sense of menace throughout, with many of the characters changing, and making you wonder who to trust.

It is a good story line, with quite a few twists, and it keeps going until the end. I just think I’ve seen it better done. However, with the amount of 5 star reviews, it must be working for most people, so it’s probably worth a go.

Black Swan Rising is published by Bantam, and was sent to me as part of the Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge.

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