REVIEW: ONE LITTLE SECRET, BY CATE HOLAHAN

 

Everyone has a secret. For some, it’s worth dying to protect. For others, it’s worth killing.

The glass beach house was supposed to be the getaway that Susan needed. Eager to help her transplanted family set down roots in their new town—and desperate for some kid-free conversation—she invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long sublet with her and her workaholic husband.

Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. The three couples begin picking up on the others’ marital tensions and work frustrations, as well as revealing their own. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach.

Town detective Gabby Watkins must figure out who permanently silenced the deceased. As she investigates, she learns that everyone in the glass house was hiding something that could tie them to the murder, and that the biggest secrets of all are often in plain sight for anyone willing to look.

As the couples gather in the beach house, prepared to enjoy their getaway, it isn’t long until their lives are upended by the murder of one of them.

Alternating narrators tell the stories in One Little Secret: from Gabby, the detective, working on a sexual assault case and now a murder, to the individual spouses who have to hide their secrets.

I felt such compassion for Jenny, whose abusive husband has a lot to protect, as well. And then Susan must cover for her husband, just in case he has more to hide than she knows.

Going back and forth between the story tellers and what they each stood to lose, I was unable to accurately figure out who had done the final deeds. A 4.5 star read.

***

REVIEW: BRIDGES, BY MARIA MURNANE

 

It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

My Thoughts: Who doesn’t love a great friends’ weekend? I definitely couldn’t wait to curl up with these three college friends for a Manhattan getaway, to celebrate something special, and to reconnect.

Bridges was the kind of story that resonated with me, as I have always enjoyed the special connections that I’ve felt with college friends. Add in the perfect setting of Manhattan, and there is nothing better. Girl talk, sharing secrets, and even trying new things.

Daphne was my favorite character, primarily because she was a single mother and an aspiring author. I loved watching her experience her first trip to Manhattan. I could see Skylar’s world from her perspective, including visualizing the fabulous apartment that she shared with her fiancé James. I walked the streets with her and her friends. From the Brooklyn Bridge to the cute boutiques and flea markets, I felt as though I was along for the ride.

I was a little intimidated by Skylar, and even by her soon-to-be stepdaughter Sloane…until one night when Daphne lost her cool and let Skylar have it. It was inevitable that old feelings of envy might creep into their moments together, but those conflicts made them all feel very real. When envy reared its head, the air was cleared and they grew even closer.

Events unfolded in unexpected ways, and by the end of the weekend, I wanted more. More of the friends and their unique connection, and more about Daphne’s writing experiences. 5 stars.

***My e-ARC came to me from the author/publisher via NetGalley.

***

REVIEW: THOSE SECRETS WE KEEP, BY EMILY LIEBERT

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In the year following the sudden death of her sister Amy, Sloane has been struggling. Her loss consumes her, although she still clings to her remaining connections, to her daughter Maddie and her husband Eddie.

But for a while now, she has felt distanced from her marriage.

So when Maddie heads off to sleepaway camp that summer, Sloane takes her aunt up on her offer to spend some time in her cabin at Lake George. And Sloane invites her friend Hillary, who has become someone she sees as reliable and comforting.

But before she can even drive away from her home in Brookline, Massachusetts, Sloane’s old college friend Georgina calls and insists on coming with them.

Frustrated, Sloane tries to look forward to the getaway, but is reminded once again of how disappointing her friendship with Georgina has become. A wild child, Georgina has always had all the money she wanted and no responsibilities. She is loud, gregarious, and pushes her way into every situation, with her sense of entitlement showing.

It was easy to dislike the character of Georgina, and even though Sloane is trying to figure out what she wants and where she will end up, I found myself rooting for her. And I was also eager to see good things happen for Hillary. Before the summer ends, however, we will discover the big secret she has been keeping from her husband.

Those Secrets We Keep was a somewhat predictable novel about friendships, secrets, and trying to find new beginnings during a summer getaway, and while there were some unexpected situations, like the huge secret Georgina has been keeping, there was nothing particularly unique about the story or the characters.

However, it was interesting to see how everything played out, watching what the women would do and what choices they would make. 4 stars.