Kim's Reviews > Every Secret Thing

Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole
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really liked it

Highly recommended by some of my GR friends, this is the first book I have read by this author, who generally writes under the name Susanna Kearsley. It has dual intersecting timelines - contemporary and World War II - and is set in London, Toronto, New York, Lisbon and Washington. The different timelines and the range of settings give the book something of the feel of an epic, although it is not one. Rather, it combines traditional (albeit low-key) thriller with history and romance.

I very much enjoyed a number of aspects of this novel. The author writes clean, lucid prose, without flourishes but elegant nonetheless. The connections between the timelines are interesting and well done. In addition, the author is able to create a good sense of time and place: crucial to readability given that the novel is set in two time periods and in multiple locations. The romance element is sweetly and poignantly realised, as is the recurrent theme of the need to pay attention to the stories and experiences of older people.

There are aspects of the novel which I enjoyed somewhat less. In particular, the plot piled coincidence upon coincidence in a manner which at times strained my very earnest willingness to suspend disbelief. In addition, the author used my least favourite plot device: that is, a lengthy and detailed confession of misdeeds given by the baddie to the investigator. It's probably just a personal quirk of mine .... but it drives me insane whenever I come across it!

All in all, this was a most enjoyable read. My enduring memory of the book will be the character of Andrew Deacon, only briefly seen alive at the beginning of the novel, but vividly recreated through the recollection of other characters. A lovely creation indeed.

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Reading Progress

August 20, 2011 – Shelved
October 4, 2011 – Started Reading
October 6, 2011 –
page 175
43.1%
October 7, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

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Jemidar Loved this book!!


message 2: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim I know. Why do you think I'm reading it? :D


Jemidar Susanna Kearsley is another author who can choke me up.


message 4: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim I don't mind a bit of choking up. Last week it was the last of the Harry Potter books, this week Venetia. If this one makes me cry too, it will be the trifecta!


Hannah Kim wrote: "I don't mind a bit of choking up. Last week it was the last of the Harry Potter books, this week Venetia. If this one makes me cry too, it will be the trifecta!"

Made me cry, and my daughter finished it last week and she cried, too! Now she's on a Kearsley kick - I'm glad I was able to persude her to read them. We might just have a wrestling match to see who reads The Rose Garden first when it gets delivered this week!!


Jemidar The Rose Garden choked me up :-).


Hannah Jemidar wrote: "The Rose Garden choked me up :-)."

Can.Not.Wait!


Jemidar I don't know how you've waited as long as you have!


message 9: by Anna (last edited Oct 04, 2011 08:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna Hope you love this as much as Hannah, J and I did, Kim :-)

I'm betting on the trifecta! (although I've never heard that word before, we'd say hat-trick!)


message 10: by Jemidar (last edited Oct 04, 2011 09:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jemidar Anna, one's a betting term the other is a cricketing term. I'll let you guess which is which. LOL.


message 11: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna It's a footballing term over here!


Jemidar Hat-trick or trifecta?


message 13: by Anna (last edited Oct 04, 2011 10:23AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna Seeing as I've never heard trifecta before, hat-trick ;-)

It's when one person scores three goals in one match. And when I say football, I mean what you'd call soccer, not Aussie Rules or American Football!

In cricket, I guess a hat-trick is three wickets taken by one person in one match? We're not really a cricketing nation, apart from when it comes to the Ashes. Footy is our national sporting obsession!


message 14: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Anna, just so as you know how very sporty I am (!), in cricketing terms a hat trick is when the bowler gets three wickets with three consecutive deliveries. A trifecta is when you correctly pick the first three horses to win a race, thereby winning what may be a large amount of money. I actually quite like cricket. David has played since he was six or seven and he and Doug regularly go to matches. Horse racing I have no interest in whatsoever, apart from watching the Melbourne Cup every year because it's hard to avoid!


Hannah Very good review Kim. I do agree with you that the coincidences are on the incredible side, but for a writer I admire (and a book I love), I can make allowances (but she shouldn't make a habit of it in future!!)

Notwithstanding that, Andrew Deacon is a beautifully drawn man and I fell a bit in love with him myself (as did my 16 year old!).

Glad you enjoyed this.


message 16: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Hannah wrote: "Very good review Kim. I do agree with you that the coincidences are on the incredible side, but for a writer I admire (and a book I love), I can make allowances (but she shouldn't make a habit of ..."

Thanks, Hannah. I did think that the coincidences got a bit annoying after a while. If Kearsley generally relies on coincidence to that extent, then she's got a few problems with plotting. However, the novel is such a lovely evocation of a different time and place that I could get past its weaknesses with just a bit of eye-rolling. It helped that I was in the mood for something a bit sentimental!


message 17: by Jemidar (last edited Oct 09, 2011 01:29AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jemidar I agree. While Kearsley's books aren't perfect, she manages to gather me up and sweep me along in such a way that any flaws aren't bothersome to me.

I fell in love with Deacon too. And her grandmother was wonderful. I loved the whole restrained tone to the romance. Romances just aren't written often enough like that any more. More's the pity. The denouement was a little disappointing as Kim says, but really the book had so much else to offer it was but a minor blip for me :-).


message 18: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna Nice review Kim, I'm glad you enjoyed it, even with the niggles.

I'm another one who adored Deacon, and agree with you and J about the sweet restrained romance, gorgeous.


message 19: by Chrissie (last edited Jun 07, 2012 11:03PM) (new) - added it

Chrissie Kim, should I try this?. A very good book is perhaps not perfect for everyone. Everyone reads mysteries and they never work for me. Maybe this will change things for me?


message 20: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Chrissie wrote: "Kim, should I try this?. A very good book is perhaps not perfect for everyone. Everyone reads mysteries and they never work for me. Maybe this will change things for me?"

Chrissie, this book isn't really a mystery, although it shares some elements of that type of novel. It also has some very low-key thriller elements and a romance. Frankly, from what I've seen of your taste in novels, I doubt that you would really enjoy it. I think that you would find the coincidences on which the plot is based rather annoying. But I could be quite wrong and you may like it. A number of my GR friends really love the author's work. So far I've only read two of her novels, this one and The Winter Sea and while I liked a number of aspects of both novels, I wasn't really bowled over by either of them.


message 21: by Chrissie (new) - added it

Chrissie Thank you. You preferred this over the Winter Sea, which is narrated by Rosalyn Landor. I found Landor better than Every Secret Thing's narrator Ward. Maybe I will skip both. You know my likes and dislikes well.


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