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The Secretary

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  3,841 ratings  ·  566 reviews
Renée Knight follows up her international sensation Disclaimer with this shivery tale of psychological suspense, featuring a character as disturbing and compelling as Mrs. Danvers in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.

From her first day as Personal Assistant to the celebrated Mina Appleton, Christine Butcher understands what is expected of her. Absolute loyalty. Absolute discreti
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Harper
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Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,841 ratings  ·  566 reviews


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Richard
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers-uk
The Secretary is the second novel by Renee Knight. I experienced it as an audiobook.
Christine Butcher is a secretary who becomes the personal assistant to Nina Appleton, the hard headed, ambitious heir to Appleton’s, a nationwide supermarket chain.
Many of us, I’m sure, have had a boss like Nina Appleton at some point in our working lives. She’s vain, manipulative and really doesn’t care who she treads on to get what she wants.
Christine strives for perfection and puts her P.A. job and her servic
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Michelle
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss-arc-s
"Being a secretary back then was, it seems, not so different to now. That ability to make oneself invisible. It is astounding the number of conversations carried on in front of us, as if we don't exist. The silent witness is a role I'm quite used to. Watching, listening - as quiet as a mouse, at the heart of events - my loyalty and discretion never in question. And yet, loyalty and direction are qualities for which I have paid a heavy price."

This is the story of Christine Butcher, an average
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly unexpected!

Christina Butcher is THE Mina Appleton’s personal assistant. Along with that comes high expectations. Complete loyalty. No slip-ups. Christina has been in this position for over twenty years, and she has it down to a science.

She’s also absorbed every single secret Mina has.

And Mina knows this. Christina may have been loyal, but she’s too big of a risk to keep around.

At the same time, no one knows what Christina is capable of when she’s backed into a corner.

The Secretar
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Sue
Yet another book I’ve read by this author (the first being Disclaimer) which I thoroughly enjoyed.

This one is much darker and much tenser.
It is a slow burner of sorts but I’ve read worse. It’s easy to follow and what keeps you going is that you know something is going somewhere quite nasty or a boom bang coming!

The Secretary and the role of Secretary has to be loyal and be able to keep things to yourself and much more than that at times. Sometimes you need to hide things, distract from informa
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Ceecee
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
4-5 stars.

Well, this book makes me realise how lucky I’ve been over the years with my bosses as MOST of them have been good to work for! Mina Appleton runs Appleton’s Supermarket Chain which prides itself on fairness to suppliers and customers. Christine Butcher is her secretary, preferring that title to PA. she takes loyalty to a whole new level as she is a silent witness to a whole raft of business malpractice as Mina drives profit before conscience. Eventually, Mina’s dodgy dealings catch up
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Umut Rados
I can describe this book as a really chatty mystery. It's told from one person's perspective, which is 'The Secretary', and whole book is her telling the events that lead to the end of this book.

Christine is a secretary and starts to work for Mina, in her own family business. Mina is one of those very ambitious women, who thinks the world should revolve around her. Very manipulative, cold-hearted and she can do anything to reach what she wants.
Christine is happily married with a daughter. She
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Frank Phillips
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
4.5 Stars for this one.
Think, The Devil Wears Prada with a very dark, demented twist to it!!
This was a VERY addictive thrilling read. It felt like 100 pages, I couldn't put it down. I will say I wish the ending had turned out differently, but altogether this was a great devious gem of a thriller, and I would recommend it to all fans of phychological suspense novels.
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Amy
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: physical-arcs
I’m completely torn about my feelings on this one, on one hand it was a quick, addictive read that I flew through quickly. But on the other hand, it was just so damn weird that I’m not even sure I can explain it to you, but I’ll try!

This is told entirely from the POV of the secretary, Christine and focuses solely on her relationship with her boss, Mina. There is very little dialogue, it’s more of one long stream of Christine’s inner monologue with occasional conversations. It was just an odd set
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Mandy White (mandylovestoread)
The Secretary by Renee Knight was a bit of a slow burn, taking a while before much really happened. But when it did my goodness it really did. There is a lot of build up of the main characters which all comes into it in the second half of the book so it is worth sticking with it. I am still not entirely sure how I feel about the ending though... maybe it was too easy to end it that way?

Christine Butcher is a secretary working for Mina Appleton for 18 years. The 2 women are the complete opposite
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ABookwormWithWine
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

The Secretary by Renée Knight might be on the slower side for some, but I was confused from the very beginning and it was great!

What it's about: Christine Butcher has been Mina Appleton's secretary for over 18 years when Mina is accused of perverting justice and unlawful practice regarding the running of the family business, Appleton's supermarkets. Christine has been keeping Mina's secrets for years, and silently watching everything she does, but not always seeing Mina for what she
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Pauline
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Secretary by Renée Knight was an excellent thriller.
Christine starts working as a secretary for Mina who is running her family business with her father. Mina becomes more demanding on Christine's time and this takes its toll on her family life as she is working longer hours and weekends and has to attend to Mina's every whim. Her job becomes the main focus and this has unfortunate consequences.
I really enjoyed this book it was a real page turner.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK, Tr
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Lou
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Secretary, Ms Knight's second novel, is a tale of sacrifice, power, betrayal, obsession, loyalty, revenge and office politics with acute observations that set it apart from similar books. The writing is scalpel sharp, but this is slow burn suspense so anyone expecting fast-paced shenanigans might want to look elsewhere. With superb characterisation and a riveting plot, this is a great read. It's a cleverly written, entertaining and exciting tale which somewhat reflects the dog-eat-dog nature ...more
Jeanette
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was 4.5 stars- just a smidgen away from being a 5 star perfection. Possibly it was because the first 1/2 let you believe it was more a whodunit, mystery, or thriller than it actually is? Regardless, that parsing might only matter to me. It's not only psychological genre but modern real.

Truthfully, it's only the 2nd or 3rd novel in this humongous genre group for which I can post that I read the last 30 pages with bated breath. And without a swear, a murder or a sex scene on top of it. Far mo
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Sarah
Mar 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF it was far to slow for me and some of it made no sense. A disappointing read.
Gary
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have wanted to read this book for a while but if I am honest I liked it but didn't love it.
The secretary is Christine Butcher who works for Mina Appleton, who runs a family supermarket chain having taken over control from her late father. Christine is desperate to please and her life is taken over by the demands of her new boss. She is so much more than a secretary and tends to all Mina's wants and need both in her business life and her personnel life. Is there anything Christine won't do to s
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Kathryn in FL
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This story had me reliving some of my past experiences with narcissistic bosses, it was so realistic and yet, ominous, foreboding and insidious as well. Christina becomes a personal assistant to Mina Appleton, the soon to be CEO of a UK supermarket chain and her nature is very dark, pathological and perhaps psychopathic but you be the judge. Christina is a decent secretary with little or no experience (it was vague). She is young and financially struggling. She believes this job is the answer to ...more
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews
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The Secretary by Renee Knight. (2019).

Look around you and see who holds the most power in the room: is it the loudest person who looks the part with the most money, or is it the meek overlooked person who bears witness to all of the information and secrets? Christine is the latter type. She's the type who quietly, perhaps even unwittingly, gathers knowledge of the people she's there to serve. But there's a fine line between loyalty and
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Michael
Renée Knight, a graduate of Faber’s Writing a Novel course first came to the reading public notice with 2015's Disclaimer that was generally well received with its original storyline and creative plots. Unfortunately, this novel was released around the same time as The Girl on the Train that meant numerous comparisons although in my humble opinion Knight's debut was superior. Fast forward to 2019 and we have the follow-up.

When Christine Butcher is offered a job by Mina Appleton who is poised to
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Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
Very underwhelming book.

I loved her first book Disclaimer so much, this was such a disappointment compared to that.

All this build up in the story to a trial over (view spoiler) Ugh, what a waste.

The jumping timelines back and forth caused unnecessary confusion too.
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JULIE ☼
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
This story is about Christine Butcher who surrenders her family in her support of Mina Appleton, a business woman and local celebrity/television personality. What she fails to realize is that her devotion for Mina may not be reciprocated. While Christine is everything one looks for in a Secretary—discrete and loyal—she ultimately shows herself as a woman not to be crossed.  Love and loyalty sometimes  come at a cost, does it not?

I’m perplexed with my feeling on this one. This read like the diary
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☮Karen
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 solid stars. I had a hard copy (ARC) and the audio version from Hoopla so did a combo here.

I don't know why The Secretary isn't getting higher ratings and more exposure. It was surprisingly good, but then I love slow burners like this. It is a short book, but it does take a while for the plot to ramp up and even then it's not exactly action packed. Like I said, a slow burner to let us see how devoted Christine is to her boss Mina, how Mina may or may not be an evil monster, and how Christine m
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Kelli
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a mystery/thriller that dragged in parts, but it had to, I think, to allow its truly scary character to emerge. It was well-developed and the ending was unexpected, but I don’t have much else to say about it. I was surprised to see this available as an audio through the library because many GR friends had recently read it and rated it 5 stars.
3.5 stars
Tracy Shephard
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a whopper of a tale..

The loyalty between employer and employee is one that works both ways, and in this tale we see how the relationship between Mina and Christine shifts and changes and ultimately shows just who is in charge.

Mina has inherited Appleton's from her late father but her way of doing things is powered by money and success rather than fairness and friendship.

Christine is a experienced and loyal secretary, she knows all Mina's secrets and has even covered up a few misdemeanors
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Rachel Hall
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loyalty, discretion and betrayal in the workplace.. creepy psycho thriller & courtroom drama..

An outdated title belies an utterly riveting story of discretion and loyalty between the eponymous secretary and boss at the head office of a supermarket chain that builds to a creepy battle of power games and a courtroom betrayal before a stylish denouement. Forty-three-year-old secretary for twenty years, Christine Butcher, narrates an atmospheric tale, laden with foreshadowing and ominous signs of wh
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Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
"The Secretary" is Renee Knight's second novel and after reading and enjoying "Disclaimer", I was particularly looking forward to reading this part court room drama part psychological thriller.
Although rather a slow burn due to there not being much dialogue and told through Christine Butcher- the secretary's recollections and present day events, I did enjoy reading this contemporary thriller and was actually quite addicted to it. Having been a secretary/PA myself during my working career I could
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Sarah
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
DNF around 30%. I just couldn't get into this one. It's awfully slow, which isn't necessarily bad, but I just wasn't interested in either Christine or Mina, or what seemed to me very boring political machinations at a supermarket company. ...more
Debbie
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A clever and entertaining slow burn suspense.

Christine Butcher is the secretary to Mina Appleton, serving her loyally, retaining her trust and discretion for 18 years. During her time with Mina she is entrusted with many secrets and is witness to confidential discussions around her, as though she does not exist. Mina makes vast demands upon Christine's time and personal sacrifices are made to rise to those demands of Mina.

'There’s a fine line between loyalty and obsession. And when someone like
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Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for a free copy of this book for review. This book was an intriguing psychological drama. The story is told by Christine who becomes Mina’s personal assistant. She stays in her employ for 20 years with Mina making more and more demands. Christine does her job in a quiet, efficient, unobtrusive way and since she works so closely with Mina she is also aware of many of her secrets. Christine is so involved with her job that she loses her marriage and daughter in t ...more
Fictionophile
In her mid-twenties, Christine Butcher goes to work as a secretary for Mina Appleton, the heiress of a large supermarket chain. Christine is married and has a young daughter but her obsessive work ethic leaves her little time or thought for her family.

"I was always a better secretary than a mother"

Mina Appleton is a wealthy, entitled, ambitious, demanding yet charming woman whose moral ethic is sorely lacking and her own 'image' of paramount importance. She conducts her life like an egotistical
...more
Joanne Robertson
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was another book that I had been really looking forward to after reading Disclaimer some time ago. And it was one that I seemed to read a lot slower than I normally would with a book I was desperate to devour. That probably had a lot to do with the way in which The Secretary was written, with a slowly built storyline that spent time developing the character and mindset of Christine Butcher in her role as personal secretary to Mina Appleton, a well known “celebrity”. I found that I wanted to ...more
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Renée Knight worked for the BBC directing arts documentaries before turning to writing. She has had TV and film scripts commissioned by the BBC, Channel Four and Capital Films. In April 2013 she graduated from the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She lives in London with her husband and two children. ~ Transworld Publishers

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