Cleopatra Pullen's Reviews > The Secrets We Left Behind

The Secrets We Left Behind by Susan Elliot-Wright
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really liked it
bookshelves: own, contemporary, womans-fiction

How does a woman learn to live with a secret that has been buried for more than thirty years? Not just any old secret, one that makes her heart pound with fear whenever she considers the truth coming out!

In 2009 where we meet a woman who has everything she could have wished for: a loving husband, a daughter she is proud of, a beautiful house and job where she helps others less fortunate than herself, but when she believes she may have seen someone from long ago, she is scared, and then the telephone starts ringing….

The secret she is desperate to keep has its roots in the sweltering hot summer of 1976 when following the death of her mother the teenager leaves Cornwall for the bright lights of London where she meets a motherly woman just a couple of years older than herself who offers her a room in the squat she inhabits with her partner in Hastings.

Susan Elliot Wright weaves a tale that will make you question, every step of the way, what would I do? The author spun a story that I invested in, all the while rooting for the motherless teenager while knowing that in the future the consequences of the hot summer would be bought to bear on a life that had been fought for.

Although I was quite young during 1976 there were enough authentic details included in this book that took me back to the summer that seemed to last forever from the ingenious ways the squatters found to water their plants while they were re-enacting ‘The Good Life’ with their home-grown vegetables, natural medicines and an art and craft stall selling jewellery made out of the shells they found on the beach. I could taste the melting ice-creams as our protagonist grows up alongside her new found friends.

I did guess the secret but that didn’t take away the enjoyment I found reading this tale, a story of love and loss, growing up and taking responsibility as well as relationships in all their guises. Susan Elliot Wright shies away from depicting her characters as good or bad, each one we meet in this book is a ‘real’ person a mixture of strengths and weaknesses that I missed when I closed the last page.

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to read and write an honest review of this book by the publishers, Simon & Schuster, ahead of the publication date of tomorrow, 8 May 2014, because I had enjoyed Susan Elliot Wright’s debut novel The Things We Never Said which is also set in Hastings.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers Simon & Schuster in return for my honest review.
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Reading Progress

April 5, 2014 – Shelved
April 5, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
April 5, 2014 – Shelved as: own
May 5, 2014 – Started Reading
May 6, 2014 – Finished Reading
May 7, 2014 – Shelved as: contemporary
May 7, 2014 – Shelved as: womans-fiction

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