Publication Date: July 27, 2018
You turn your back for a minute. And now your son is in terrible danger …
Louise is struggling to cope. As a busy working mum, she often has to leave her eight-year-old son Archie at her sister Alice’s flat.
Alice and Louise used to be close. But there’s a lot they don’t know about each other now – like the bottle of vodka Louise hides in her handbag, Alice’s handsome new friend and the odd behaviour of her next-door neighbour.
Archie is a curious little boy. He likes to play on his own at his auntie’s flat until one day when he sees something he shouldn’t. Now he has a secret of his own. One he can’t tell his mum. One that could put him and his family in terrible danger.
*Synopsis and photo from Goodreads
*I would like to thank the publisher, Bookouture, and NetGalley for providing a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
This is my first K.L. Slater novel and to be honest, I don’t really know why I requested the book since I find the blurb just slightly interesting. I am so delighted I get to read it, though. Because, surprisingly, I find it really impressive. It is not an action-packed mystery thriller and some might even find it a slow burn, but it immediately drew me in from the first page and didn’t let go until the last. It even managed to get me out of my reading slump.
The Secret tells the story of two sisters, Alice and Louise, who couldn’t be any different. Alice is living alone in an apartment she once shared with their mother when she’s still alive. Living like a recluse, she rarely goes out and just the thought of leaving the apartment send her a bout of anxiety. Not to mention the physical effort she had to go through due to the injury she sustained in an accident three years ago. Since then, she hasn’t been able to pull herself back together. While Louise seems to be living a great life, a husband and a son, plus a challenging job where she just got promoted and thus work started taking most of her time. Her husband travels a lot because of his job and therefore, Louise was left with no choice but to let her 8-year-old son in Alice’s care despite her resentment toward her sister. Alice may not know a lot about kids but in spending time with Archie, she noticed there is something off with her nephew. He’s anxious and irritable at times and clams up every time she asked what is bothering him. Alice knows something is wrong and she will not rest until she found out the truth, for Archie’s sake. But Archie would rather her aunt stop because he is holding a terrible secret that once uttered will break the family he has.
This book is such an absorbing read. I started reading without any expectation whatsoever and the blurb really didn’t give away much. But there is something about the writing style that got me hooked right from the opening page and I just can’t seem to stop until I reach the end.
The premise may not be as intriguing at first, but as I delved deeper into the story and was slowly getting to know the characters, I was engrossed. Told in multiple POVs and interspersed past with the present, with Alice and Louise as the focus, it allows us to see how the events from the past affected the life the siblings are leading now. Why Alice finds it hard to get herself together and why Louise resent her only sister. Alice started off to be a boring character, someone I feel sorry for but can’t fully sympathize with. While I instantly dislike Louise and it grew as I read. But as the story progressed and things slowly come to light, my perception of them changed in some ways. They both have interesting stories to tell which greatly helps build the intrigue and suspense.
It might seem everything is so predictable and I even thought I had things figured out so fast, so easily. But, alas, I was completely way off on my assumptions as it surprisingly gave startling twist and surprises I didn’t see coming. The ending was satisfying and everything was tied up fittingly. I enjoyed this engaging book immensely and I am sure thriller fans out there will appreciate this, too.