They say that everybody has a secret...
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.