Lexie's Reviews > A Choice of Secrets

A Choice of Secrets by Barb Hendee
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it was amazing

:rubs hands together:

Guys. GUYS. Look. Preamble these books are not connected beyond that lady and her looking Glass (and the vague European/french fantasy-esque environment).

I have my CLEAR favorite (Book 2: A Choice of Crowns) and my clear UNFAVORITE (Book 3: A Girl of Winter White), as well as the one I enjoyed but not quite as much (Book 1: Through a Dark Glass).


We have Nicole, a happy, carefree not quite 18 year old who is puzzled by her older sister's forthcoming marriage but largely unconcerned. To her way of thinking her beautiful awesome older sister is a catch and Christophe - family friend and neighbor - is the best. Heck Nicole is even content with the notion she'll likely never marry and care for her parents in their old age while being a spinster aunt to her nieces and nephews. As she puts it "[she is] a daughter of White Deer Lodge" and everything that entails.

When I say this girl is happy with her life and future I quite mean it.

Unfortunately drama must occur and it comes in the form of an indiscreet affair her sister is embroiled in that has the potential to screw everyone's lives up.

Nicole's first choice is to tell her older brother Erik who is besties with Christophe but would certainly do the right thing to solve this issue. That goes as well as you'd expect when you ask a warrior to be subtle.

While the ending works out potentially the best (in terms of how it effects everyone's lives), it does leave Nicole feeling less content with her future life.

Choice 2 is to remain silent. Again this goes as well as you can expect since her sister's lover is a cad, scoundrel and downright cruel. It's okay for a hot second.

In the end a lot turns out better then it could have, mostly because Nicole (once again) puts in a lot of effort to give everyone a better ending.

Choice 3 is Nicole tells the family. Which...does not go as well as one could want. Oh at first it's mostly okay. Like Nicole knows there's not great stuff in the future but that's a LATER issue and one she's pretty certain no one will listen to her about anyhow (she's not wrong). Its also, like in Books 1-3, where she chooses LOVE for herself (though not at first, I'll get into that).

The ending is the best for Nicole since she has a life that she truly enjoys and feels fulfilled by.

Much like Olivia's choices in CROWNS this came down to two things: how much pain could Nicole tolerate for herself versus other people. Truthfully all three endings would give Nicole a measure of fulfillment in life, but it would also cause people she cares about to suffer.

For Nicole there are two people she is constantly, through all three Choices, trying to protect. Chloe, her beloved elder sister who's only real fault is she fell for an unscrupulous cad and Christophe, who she only begins to see in a new light after his desperate confession (one can make the argument she obviously cared for him a great deal more since she catered to his preferences in food and clothing but I digress).

In the 2nd Choice she says to Christophe again and again "She is my SISTER" in regards to why she (more or less) takes Chloe's side. Which I think is the important part here, especially in regards to her chosen path at the end. Nicole is the younger sister, but she is clever, determined and observant. Chloe is skilled at being a Noble Lady, but when push comes to shove she let's her fears overwhelm her innate talents at taking control of a situation. Nicole by contrast is constantly thinking thinking thinking of ways to save everyone or at the least cause the least amount of pain.

I found her choice interesting. I felt for sure she'd go a slightly harder path, but I can understand the compromises she made. They are very in line with her character and the person we see in all three choices.

For Nicole - who in every path did her best to save her sister, save her family and bring Christophe a measure of peace - she has to learn that no one is "one side" or perfect. Not her brother, not Chloe, not Christophe. People are hella complicated.

I feel with her choice she understood that. You have to take the good with the bad - understanding each day comes with it's own sacrifices.

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Reading Progress

March 27, 2018 – Shelved
March 27, 2018 – Shelved as: wishlist-to-buy-ebook
April 23, 2018 – Shelved (Kindle Edition)
April 23, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read (Kindle Edition)
April 25, 2018 – Shelved as: wishlist-to-buy-ebook (Kindle Edition)
August 28, 2018 – Shelved as: earc-owned-to-read (Kindle Edition)
August 29, 2018 – Started Reading
August 29, 2018 –
16.0% "First Choice: tell her older brother, who much like their father could not POSSIBLY make the decision Nicole thinks is best."
August 29, 2018 –
42.0% "Ok so that ended better then I thought and honestly I'm feeling Book 2 vibes (that's good, trust me, go read my review why). Onto to Choice 2!"
August 29, 2018 –
68.0% "Yeah guys vibes of Book 2!!! I am so happy I could expire. That said this choice was basically keep your mouth shut and it was...painful for everyone involved."
August 29, 2018 – Finished Reading
January 8, 2019 – Shelved as: ebooks-owned-to-read (Kindle Edition)

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