The Secret by K.L. Slater
My rating: 4 Stars
The Secret jumps right in with connected stories told from several points of view. At first glance, we hear from 8-year-old Archie and what he saw 18 months earlier. Not only was what he witnessed utterly tragic, but he is suddenly and viciously sworn to secrecy. What a terrible burden for such a young child to bear. We are then introduced to Alice, Archie's aunt and a near-recluse who has been scared to leave her home since the day her mother died. Lastly, we meet Louise, Archie's mother, someone that we begin to suspect almost from the very beginning.
As it turns out, it is not just little Archie that is holding a secret. Others in this intriguing story have things to hide as well. The question as to how they are connected is definitely something quite mysterious. While the motherly part of me so wanted to see Archie relieved of his terrible burden, especially because of the toll it took on him, I was equally captivated with Alice's and Louise's past and present lives. I also connected with Alice on a visceral level.
The relationship between Alice and Louise was strained, which is putting it mildly and was something that happened over the course of their entire lives. But, Louise is becoming increasingly difficult, and Alice does her best to try and help her, which would ultimately help Archie too. The secret that Alice has wasn't a complete one, but it certainly evolved, and she found having no one to trust with it.
The Secret is a captivating story with so many turning points; too many to count, and is a book not to be missed. There are so many good things to say about this book; it was enthralling and incredibly difficult to put down. Even though life got in the way, I found myself stopping to grab my Kindle just to read a few pages more ... and would've easily read this in one sitting if it were indeed possible. This is a true psychological thriller, with a slow burn that builds into exceptional pacing and it truly caught me off guard. The dynamic between the characters captured my attention throughout. The conclusion was so riveting and chilling that you could have knocked me over with a feather.
Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.