I was given a free copy of this Kindle book in exchange for an honest review. Having finished reading this afternoon, however, I’m honestly not too sure what I think! I’m going to work it out here as I type.
1 – I really enjoyed the diary type storytelling style of the writing. It’s written in the first person, anecdotally, and I found that really easy to connect with. It reads like a true story (I think it is a true story?) and the overall sensation is one of sitting with a girlfriend, listening to her recount her exploits over a bottle or three of wine. Which is a very enjoyable scene, in my eyes!
2 – The narrative ends on a cliffhanger/bombshell, which fits in well with the way the whole book builds. From the first chapters, where the narrator describes the life-changing, heartbreaking way her relationship ended, the adventures and dangers build up to the crescendo at the end. I think I would want to read more… Mostly so that I know the author is ok!
3 – The subject matter is gripping, certainly, but with the true-story element, it can be a little unsettling. I read fast, definitely engaged and wanting to know what happens next, but at times it felt a little like watching a car crash. Also, I think the book should come with a trigger warning for relationship abuse. Definitely not a light read!
4 – In her final note, the author mentions that she found the writing process therapeutic, and that comes across. It would be easy for the story to feel muddled, as the action spans many years and isn’t always told in order, but it doesn’t – each chapter adds an additional thread that helps you get to know the narrator a little better, even though they’re not always in chronological order. It’s well told, and well written.
So that’s the gist of my thoughts. Ultimately, the main question for me is whether or not I would re-read a book, and when I ask myself whether I would want to re-read Story of a Secret Heart, the answer is probably not – not without being able to read the end of the story! I worried about the author too much (to be honest, I’m still concerned!) and I’m not enjoying the discomfort of not knowing she’s ok. Obviously, she’s ok enough to write the book, but I hope book two comes along and shows us – or maybe helps her be – properly ok.
It feels strange being so honest about such a personal story, especially as it is likely the author will read it – but then, Cassi did ask for honest reviews, so that is what I have tried to do!
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