Friday, 11 May 2018

Book Review: EVERY SINGLE SECRET by Emily Carpenter

Author: Emily Carpenter
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Read: May 2018
Expected publication: out now
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Book Description:

Emotionally guarded Daphne Amos always believed she’d found a kindred spirit in her fiancé, Heath. Both very private people, they’ve kept their pasts hidden from the world, and each other, until Heath’s escalating nightmares begin to put an undeniable strain on their relationship. Determined to give their impending marriage the best chance of succeeding, Heath insists that Daphne join him on a seven-day retreat with Dr. Matthew Cerny, a psychologist celebrated for getting to the root of repressed memories. Daphne reluctantly agrees—even though the past is the last place she wants to go.

The retreat’s isolated and forbidding location increases her unease, as do the doctor’s rules: they must relinquish their keys and phones, they’ll be monitored at all hours by hidden cameras, and they’re never to socialize with the other guests.

One sleepless night, Daphne decides to leave her room…and only then does she realize that the institute is not at all what it seems—and that whatever’s crying out from Heath’s past isn’t meant to be heard. It’s meant to be silenced.

Book trailer: link

My musings: 

I love nothing more than being blindsided by a book. To happily and trustingly follow my little breadcrumb trail until I suddenly stand open-mouthed and in shock, realising I have walked right into a trap. With the growing trend of the “killer twist”, we are so on alert for these false trails that it is getting harder to find a book that manages to do that. I am happy to announce that this is one of them!

The story itself sounds irresistibly intriguing. Daphne and Heath are a young couple who are very much in love but who each carry dark secrets from the past they have never discussed with anyone for fear of destroying their relationship. The deal of making a fresh start without snooping into each other’s lives works well until Heath becomes increasingly distant and unhappy. He claims that in order to make the relationship work, he will need to come to term with his demons and make Daphne face hers. What better way to do that than join a reclusive couples retreat, run by a renowned psychotherapist that specialises in couples therapy? Daphne, predictable, is not at all eager to open this can of worms, but she goes along with Heath under one condition – she will support him but will not be participating in the therapy herself. And this is how the two find themselves and two other couples in the middle of nowhere in a large spooky mansion rigged with cameras, where the retreat will be taking place. Phones, ipads and other electronic devices are being taken off them at the door, and there is no link with the outside world. The fun has just begun ....

Carpenter proved with her last book (The Weight of Lies) that she can tell a good, original story, and she certainly continues the trend with this one. Here is a writer who can not only spin a good tale, but who is the queen of unhealthy family relationships that lend a sinister quality to the storyline. Whilst the unusual element in her last book was “a book in a book” (with excerpt from one of the characters’ books “Kitten” featuring strongly in the storyline), this story is told a bit more conventionally incorprating each character’s flashbacks to the dark secrets in their pasts that weigh heavily on their shoulders. And boy oh boy, you are in for some surprises here!

Three of the things I loved most about The Weight of Lies again make a comeback here: 1) an eerie, claustrophobic and gothic setting; 2) damaged but relatable characters who draw you into the story; 3) an irresistibly broody narrative full of foreshadowing that keeps you turning the pages frantically. I read this in one long night and blame my bad-tempered sleep deprived self on the quality of the story! For those similarly afflicted readers who, like me, find it difficult to suspend disbelief (the struggle is real!), there will most likely come a moment when you flounder a little bit – well, I did. It did not take away my enjoyment of the book, but left me wishing that someone else in my circle had read the book as I was itching so badly to discuss spoilers!


So for the short version: if you loved Carpenter’s earlier work, you will appreciate the same irresistible writing, claustrophobic setting and interesting characters the last book offered. Anyone who claims they saw the twist coming – maybe you’re super-Sherlock, but I don’t know if I believe you! 

Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

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