Our Little Secret by Claudia Carroll
Publishing Date: 8th February 2018
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 319
Genre: Women’s Fiction
A sparkling story about what happens when you let someone into your life… but they turn out to want more than you’d bargained for!
Sarah Dee has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all?
When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can’t get a job, she thinks she’s doing the right thing. She’s being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is. But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And could this be a good deed that goes further than expected?
Claudia Carroll does it again with a sparkling new novel about what happens when your life becomes up for grabs…
In “Our Little Secret” Sarah Keyes, the main character, loves her job, and she indeed works very hard not only in her law firm, but also volunteering as a free legal aid. She’s currently divorced and now living only with her teenage daughter Darcy. One day, Sarah meets Lauren, a very bright girl working in a nail salon – Lauren is young, clever and studied hard for her law degree and her background history breaks Sarah’s heart, so she decides to do her best to help this girl. Lauren herself very easily and seamlessly slots into Sarah’s life and everything seems perfect. But is it really…?
To be honest, judging the book by the cover, I was expecting something else – some kind of a romance, a vintage read, and what I’ve got was a brilliant, dynamic and modern story, an emotional roller – coaster ride. It was compelling, and truly addictive, with the right dose of drama and humour. It was a book written in a brilliant, chatty style. This novel was a little different to other Claudia Carroll’s offers – it was somehow more mature, touching upon some heavier issues, but at the same time light and uplifting. It was tense but not like you’d expect from thriller or mystery, oh no, it was much lighter in tone but it was also somehow sinister.
The characters and the story were so easily brought to life, they just came alive on the pages. Sarah was a great character but let’s be honest, she should have known better, right? She was too naive and too caring for my liking in some aspects and well, the reality came and bit her strong. Of course it was not her fault that she was taken for granted, I just only couldn’t stop thinking that yes, she should have known better! The fact that she’s rushed so much into the new friendship, believing in everything that was told and offering help right and left was a little too unbelievable – would you open your heart, wallet and house to a stranger? However, when she realises what’s going on, I adored to see the change in her and that she feared nothing to reclaim her happy and trouble – free life.
I can’t express how annoying Lauren’s character was, from the very beginning, always there, always knowing better, always with a smile. Arrrrghh! She was this kind of person that would do anything, at whatever cost, to achieve her goals, and the more I read, the more I disliked her. Really. This whole sweetness, the do – gooder, oh no, it was not for me, I wasn’t buying it. However, she was really brilliantly pictured, and Claudia Carroll has captured all the main attributes that makes a toxic character toxic, and how well Lauren was able to spot all the vulnerable points of her victims.
The story is told in alternative chapters, from Sarah, Darcy and Sarah’s best friend Liz points of view. I really liked their takes on things happening, the different takes, as we were able to see things Sarah wasn’t able to see. Liz was a great character, she saw things as they really were and there was no beating around the bush with her, and I really liked her no – nonsense approach in all aspects of her life. She was a great and supportive friend of Sarah. There was a small element of romance in the book as well and it was a great addition in my opinion. It didn’t feel rushed and it developed in a natural way – it just seemed realistic. Yes, it was a little surprising but it worked well in this part of the story.
So this book. Really. It made me feel so, so angry! Probably all of us know such Lauren – characters. While reading the novel I knew that some of the characters are right about her, and it made me so angry that it took Sarah so long to notice all the signs. I had a feeling that I can’t relax in Lauren’s company, that I can’t trust her, that she’s sucking off all the positive vibrations from the vicinity and I couldn’t believe that Sarah can’t see this. Really, guys, be prepared to be completely lost in this story. It was thought – provoking and it will lead you on to ask questions, to make you think, while exploring the darker, heavier side of friendship. “Our Little Secret” was fast – paced and complex story about gaining control and staying in control, about getting your life on the right path again, about using and about being used, with riveting characters and interesting plot, full of secrets and lies. Highly recommended!
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