The Secrets Between Us is the first book by Louise Douglas that I have read and it did not disappoint. I was instantly drawn to this title after reading that comparisons had been made with Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, which is my absolute favourite book. The dark and haunting cover also made me instantly think of other gothic novels.
The book follows the story of recently bereaved Sarah whose first born child was still born and whose marriage subsequently falls apart. In order to escape, Sarah is persuaded to accompany her sister and brother-in-law on a holiday to Sicily. It is here under the hot Sicilian sun that Sarah meets Alex and his young son Jamie.
In her haste to get over her loss, she surprises herself and her skeptical family by moving to Burrington Stoke to live with Alex and Jamie as their housekeeper. However, it is here that things are not quite as they seem.
Alex tells Sarah that his wife Genevieve has left him, but things do not appear so straight forward once she is living in his house. Sarah is subject to many strange comments and is herself the subject of small village gossip which begins to turn sinister.
The description of the house, Avalon, and the beautiful, but isolated landscape adds to Sarah’s sense of unease, particularly as Sarah seems to be haunted by her own past as well as feeling the presence of Genevieve wherever she goes. The novel also brings all of those typically gothic elements to the forefront; the bad weather and isolated location among many present in the novel.
Chilling and full of suspense, this is a fabulous novel that you will find difficult to put down. The ending was such a surprise and totally pushed my own theories, built up throughout the novel, out of context.
This is definitely one of my favourite reads this year and I would highly recommend it. I will be looking out for more works by Louise Douglas.
I read this book as part of the Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge.