You might think this to be a running theme on Joyful Antidotes if you are a newcomer: “this is a great holiday read”. But many of my recent reads have been – and Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther is no different.
Every Secret Thing tells the story of 5 choral scholars and their strong friendship over 3 years of studying at Cambridge. Just before graduation, they travel to the Lake District for a weekend, where everything changes forever. Twenty years later, the friends are brought together again, summoned by a mysterious bequest. What follows is an unravelling of the past and emotions they thought were buried forever.
This book is full of mystery. The story is a complete mystery and the characters are a mystery. Let’s start with the story. Be prepared for lots of detail throughout this book. Crowther certainly knows how to describe places and events. I have read previous reviews which stated there was too much detail but I disagree. There can never be too much detail when everything the author writes seems essential on your journey through the book. Plus, Crowther has a great way of writing which keeps you turning pages, keeps you wondering about the characters and what could be the conclusion of the story.
The conclusion. Hmm. That wasn’t the strongest part of the story, for me. I was actually left with an unsatisfactory feeling that there was no conclusion. Yes, some answers were provided but for my inquisitive mind, they were not enough. Especially when it came to answers and explanations about characters which felt like they were just thrown in in passing.
Finally, we have the characters. We find out a lot about each character throughout the 384 pages but, like I just mentioned, their story didn’t feel like it was concluded. Nevertheless, I have to admire Crowther’s ability to develop completely individual characters and bring them together in a way that the reader can believe in the relationship they had. And this was important as the main premise of Every Secret Thing was not the mystery element, but the theme of friendship and complex relationships.
Overall, I have to admit it was not the best book I have read, but it was by no means the worst either. I would recommend this as a story to pick up every now and again, or while on holiday, and as a book for aspiring writers who want to learn more about character development.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.