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Friday, April 10, 2015

Tell Me No Secrets by Julie Corbin

Tell Me No Secrets is Julie Corbin's debut novel and it was published in 2009.  I can't remember where I picked up the mass market paperback I have, but I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.  I shared the prologue of the book a few days ago in a Tuesday - First Paragraph post here.  It begins:

They say that everybody has a secret...

Tell Me No Secrets is the story of Grace Adams, mother of twin teenage girls, wife of Paul, artist, friend, and woman with a secret in her past.  She lives in a small village in Scotland, on the sea, and has lived there for most of her life.  Her parents still live nearby and she shares her office with a good friend, Euan, who used to be the boy next door.  Euan and Grace were a couple when they were teenagers, but time passed and they both married other people, lived in other places, and are now back in their home town.

Grace has struggled with a secret for 24 years, feeling guilt and responsibility for something that happened when she was 16 years old.  While a leader on a camping trip with the Girl Guides (like Girl Scouts), a tragedy occurred.  Rose, a 9-year-old girl from Grace's tent, was drowned.  Grace and her best friend, Orla, another leader, tried to revive Rose, but to no avail.  It was ruled an accident and only Grace and Orla knew that it might not have happened just that way.

After all this time, Orla has returned to the village.  She contacts Grace and tells her that she needs to see her.  Orla says it is time to tell the truth about that day in the woods and that they will feel so much better when Orla shares what she knows with Paul, Grace's husband, with Grace's daughters, with Euan, and with the police.  Grace has not seen Orla since she returned from that awful trip, 24 years ago.  She is terrified that her whole life is about to be ruined and tells her "old friend" this.   Orla is relentless and Grace begins to realize that something is very, very wrong here.  What does Orla actually know about Rose's death?

This book is quite gripping, especially as you begin the tale.  It is the story of obsession in many forms.  It is the story of secrets kept and things remembered or maybe not remembered exactly right.  It's one of those books that you go along reading and you think you know what is going on - you suspect what the answer will be and then you realize that everything is upside down.  The story flips and you find yourself with a completely different viewpoint and nothing is what you thought.

There is more than one character that is lying.  More than one with a cruel streak.  More than one who is obsessed to the point of madness.  And more than one who might be willing to kill.

Now, all that sounds very thrilling.  And I did enjoy the book, mostly.  I just had a couple of issues with Grace.  I understood that she wanted to protect her family and I understood that she was guilt-ridden over that long-ago situation.  Euan was a good friend to her when they were kids and also now as adults.  Orla was a good friend in the past, but her actions now seem very manipulative and it was hard to guess her end game.  Mostly, I wanted Grace to stop making such poor decisions about how to go about solving her problems, stop being so dependent on Euan, stop making me want to shake her and say, "it's not all about you!".  And so, it took me longer to read this book in spite of the thrills and chills and craziness.  I had to take breaks to calm my irritation with Grace.  There was no chance that I wasn't going to finish it though.  I had to know if my guesses were correct.  And they were - sort of.  I give it a mostly thumbs up, a thumb and 3/4 thumb up.

I have two more of this author's books, Do Me No Harm and Where The Truth Lies.  I'll hopefully get to them soon.

16 comments:

  1. This sounds like an interesting read! Although Grace does sound a bit irritating.

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    1. She was for me. Although I did like the storyline.

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  2. Sounds like an intense and intriguing read! Some characters can be annoying but many times I was so curious to find out what happened next that they slipped off my mind, well temporarily, lol.

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    1. Yes, that's why I kept going back. :-)

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  3. I haven't read anything by this author, but your review made me tense up when it seemed that Orla knew something more than Grace about what happened. :) and I know what you mean about taking a break from a character!

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    1. I just wanted to shake Grace. LOL

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  4. Ohhh sigh.... What am I going to do??????

    You keep sharing more and more books titles, which I want to read!!!! And how will I get to them allllll??????

    -sigh-moan-whimper-sob-cough-choke-sigh-

    ,-))))))

    Funny yes. But true! How, how, how will I?????????????

    Gentle hugs, Tessa

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    1. You know, sometimes I get just as much pleasure from reading about books as actually reading the books themselves. Or almost. LOL

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  5. I enjoyed this one very much when I read it and still have my copy on my bookshelf. I do vaguely remember being a little irritated with Grace too though. Thanks for a great review

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    1. Thanks for telling me that you liked it a lot. Have you read any of her other books?

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  6. Ooh your review reminds me a lot of my experience with Belzhar (by Meg Wolitzer). The ending surprised me (I'm pretty bad at guessing endings in general, but this one really got me), and I kept getting super annoyed with the main character. But I did stay up until 3am reading it, so that tells you something had me hooked!

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    1. I have a copy of Belzhar and have been meaning to pick it up soon. Thanks for reminding me!

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  7. Great review, Kay! I have a hard time when I don't like a character but if the story is engaging then I will keep up with it. I feel like I've been hearing a lot about this author lately so I would like to check out the book.

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    1. Might be a little tough to find. But good luck!

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  8. A mostly thumbs up isn't going to put it on my already ridiculous wish list :) Thanks for reading it so I don't have too :)

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    1. Love that, Stacy. All of our wish lists are so long, aren't they?

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!