116. Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther


Can you ever bury the past? 

She'd recognised in him something of herself: that sense of not belonging, of secrets fiercely kept . . .

Five friends, newly graduated, travel together to the Lake District. Young and ambitious, they little imagine the events that will overtake them that fateful summer, tearing their fragile group apart.

Twenty years later, they return to the same spot, summoned by a mysterious bequest. It's not long before old friendships - and old romances - are re-kindled. But soon, too, rivalries begin to re-emerge and wounds are painfully reopened . . .

How long does it take for past sins to be forgiven? And can the things they destroy ever really be recovered?

While not the most obvious choice for my typical book review, it is sometimes nice to step outside the comfort of your favourite genre and wade into the pool or something new; which is exactly why I jumped at the chance to review Every Secret Thing when the Bookollective offered. 

Following five friends through the years, from their first meetings at university in Cambridge, and joining the College Choir, the friends form that instant kind of bond you make when you're young and you're branching out into the world of unknown that is going to university and away from home. 

Their bonds are forged in their mutual love and passion for music, and through the circle that they move in due to their association with the choir and responsibilities required of members. 

I enjoyed that each character differed from the next - it was refreshing to read Crowther's take on how these individuals interacted with each other, and how their backgrounds and culture dictated their reactions. It was a very realistic element, and certainly gave me throwbacks to my days of university when you're all thrown together and left to muck it out. What's more is her careful attention to fleshing out the complexities of these relationships, aided by her beautifully descriptive writing style which I really did enjoy, and I liked how as readers we were taken back and forth over the years. It helped me get my teeth into the story that bit more. 

A trip to the Lake District is the catalyst of the story line, and the ripples of that fateful trip with Fay, Bill, Cressida, Judith, Cressida Marmion and Stephen echo down the years, and haunts decisions made, which they are forced to confront 20 years later. To say it was gripping is a complete understatement!

Overall, Every Secret Thing was very well written. There is a care and attention to detail, and character development. I said earlier that it is not my typical choice of fiction, and I must admit I did stray quite far out of my comfort zone. At first I wasn't sure if this book was for me, but I'm glad I took it with my on my honeymoon because once I gave it a chance I could not put it down. I love how vividly Crowther paints with her words. 

Rating: 4.5/5

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Thank you to Bookollective for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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