Title: The Secrets We Keep
Author: Colette Caddle
Release Date: March 4, 2010
Publisher: Pocket Books (UK)
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Erin Joyce is the owner of a small inn (or guesthouse, as it’s called in the novel) in the village of Dunbarra, Ireland. The inn and village are charming enough such that once guests arrive, they don’t want to leave! There’s Hazel and her young daughter, Gracie, and Sandra, the American woman whose husband has left her. She compensates for her sadness by becoming a gossip queen, wanting to know everything about everyone. And then there’s mysterious Sebastian Gray, the American actor who seems to disrupt Erin’s life. Each person at the guesthouse has their own secrets, and as they come to light, lives will change.
The Secrets We Keep by Colette Caddle first caught my eye because of the quote on the cover comparing her to Marian Keyes. Since Marian Keyes is one of my favorite authors, I immediately knew I wanted to read this book. It isn’t available in the United States, so Simon & Schuster UK was kind enough to send me a review copy so I could immerse myself in this wonderful novel.
This is a character driven novel more than anything else; the reader’s enjoyment of it is directly dependent on how appealing the main characters are. Happily, Erin is a wonderful character that is easy to love. However, she’s also very flawed – she makes bad decisions for herself and can treat people (especially her boyfriend Ronan) with disrespect. Caddle is a talented writer, though, so this doesn’t frustrate the reader too much. Instead, it makes Erin seem like a real person who makes mistakes and does things in the heat of the moment.
The minor characters are also well-written and enjoyable. Some are easy to love (Marguerite), while others (such as Sandra) are immediately despicable. It’s more difficult to pinpoint feelings on Sebastian; sometimes he’s loveable and other times, the reader wants to punch him in the face.
Caddle also does a wonderful job making the outcome of this novel difficult to predict. There are a lot of surprises along the way and the twist at the ending will definitely shock readers. Admittedly, it was a little strange, but the book came to a satisfying conclusion.
I definitely recommend The Secrets We Keep for any fans of women’s fiction. I’d recommend using Book Depository if you want to pick this one up and live outside of the UK, as they have free shipping worldwide!