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This book is difficult for me to review because while I enjoyed the story overall, I was not enamored with the main characters. I read it, and though, at times, my interest waned somewhat because of its length, I still was enticed enough to continue clicking to the next page wanting to discover what would happen next. I do feel that it could benefit from tighter content editing and less redundancy.

The house sitting job gives Tess the means to escapes the big city. With her daughter Em in tow she serendipitously ends up in a remote, idyllic location. Tess hopes that she has escaped the morass of trouble that is hounding her. Protecting her daughter is foremost on her agenda. The eighteen-month-old toddler is present in almost every scene yet I never actually felt connected to her character. Normally, cute kids steal the scenes for me in romantic stories. Emily did not.

I wanted to like Tess, really I did, but she basically kept my teeth on edge. Tess tended to secretly wallow in her unhappiness. Then she would become almost manic, taking on some new project or commitment in an attempt to keep herself busy and too worn out to fret about the past or plan for her future. A few times her anger and foul moods just seemed so childish I would just shake my head.

Joe just did not do it for me at all. His promiscuity, brooding demeanor, and commitment-phobe personality grated on me, too. I had a hard time understanding the duality of the relationship that developed between this dysfunctional couple, Tess and Joe - simultaneously drawn to and repelled by each other. Joe's big secrets are revealed later in the book, but by then, it was too late for me. In my opinion, he is a jackass; he and Tess's HEA will ultimately be nothing more than another notch on his belt.

Characters certainly do make or break most books for me as you may have noticed; however, I would be remiss not to mention that I loved the description of the chilly old family mansion over-looking the sea, and the small, cozy village at the base of the hill. The author made it easy for me to picture the area in my head. I could practically feel the brisk sea breeze, hear the waves lapping on the beach, and smell the tang of the seaweed. I wanted to be there.

Book Blurb for Secrets

The most successful novel from a UK author with more than ten bestselling novels to her credit, Secrets will tug at your heart and whisper in your ear.

Joe has a beautiful house, a great job, no commitments– and he likes it that way. All he needs is a quiet house-sitter for his rambling old place by the sea. When Tess turns up, he's not sure she's right for the job. Where has she come from in such a hurry? Her past is blank and she's a bit of an enigma. But we all have our secrets. It's just that some are bigger than others.

Night Owl Reviews Dec, 2011 3.25