Book Review: “Secrets and Lies” by Lynda Renham

New home, new village, old secrets… and a haunting spirit?

Flora and Adam McIntosh move to the country. It’s a setting they’re not used to, but they absolutely love it, or at least Adam does. Flora isn’t so keen. She’s torn. She can admire the home’s charming quaintness, but she can’t shake off the feeling of a presence in the home.

The proud villagers are welcoming, but they’re also suffocating. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Everyone’s doors are open, literally, even if you don’t want them to be.

I did enjoy this book. The premise was great. Wherever Flora was, she wasn’t safe. Nowhere was safe for her. This added a lot of mystery and fear of what was going to happen next. The mix of overfamiliar villagers, secrets, Flora’s inquisitiveness, and a haunting spirit made this story addictive.

There were however a few things about the narrative I didn’t enjoy. Reflection and thoughts. Flora has many of them during the story. They were mostly following the line of questioning of: Is it this? Is it that? Could this happen? Or could this? Maybe this person did this. Maybe that person did that. It was a little much. Let the reader think about these questions, not Flora. Or not Flora as regularly as she does throughout the book.

There was also a twist which I DID NOT see coming. But as I reflect (not as much as Flora) on it, I feel the author cheated a little bit here and there to make this twist impossible to guess, which kind of ruins the fun. A character can’t react a certain way to something and then later in the book it’s revealed that same character already knew about it. Unless I’m misunderstanding the scenes, I would say that’s cheat storytelling. I can’t say too much more without giving away this twist (it’s not the big twist). Hopefully those of you who have read it know what I mean.

Overall, a fair 3 star rating. 4 star for the premise itself, brought down by my little doubts. 

Secrets and Lies by Lynda Renham

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