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It’s not very often that a book leaves me speechless, but I can honestly say that I had to take some time to gather my thoughts before writing this review. It’s hard to believe that this is Rebecca Done’s debut novel. This book was superbly written, the characters were extremely well developed, and the storyline moved at a lightning fast pace, giving it the distinct feel of the work of a seasoned author.
This Secret We’re Keeping is the story of a romantic relationship that develops between a twenty-five year old teacher and his fifteen year old student. As a fan of forbidden romance novels, I was immediately drawn to the synopsis. The book did push my moral boundaries. A ten year age difference between a couple is not a big deal, but when that age difference is between a fifteen year old and a person who is in a position of authority over her, it does sound some alarm bells.
The book goes back and forth between the present day and the early 1990s when Jess and Matthew’s relationship began. We get to see how Jess and Matthew are living their lives seventeen years after their affair ended, and how their relationship and his incarceration has changed them. The flashes back to the past were an important element in this book. It allowed me to witness the beginning of their relationship, right from their initial attraction to the start of their romantic involvement. It gave me a better insight into how it all happened, what Matthew’s motives were, what their true feelings were. I found myself sitting on the fence, undecided about how I felt about their involvement, unsure of the true nature of it, but as I read further into the book, I was able to get a clearer picture and better understanding of their intentions.
This Secret We’re Keeping is a highly emotional, heartbreaking read that kept me glued to the pages. I was never able to just sit for a spell and read a couple of chapters. A couple of chapters quickly turned into a hundred pages. I never felt as though I was merely reading the words on the page, it felt like I was witnessing the story unfold firsthand. Rebecca Done has taken these characters and brought them to life. She has created them to be realistic, familiar, and sympathetic.
As an avid reader, it’s always a treat when you find a book that consumes you – a book that makes you wish that you had a ‘do not disturb’ sign hanging around your neck, a story that continues to play in your head even when you’re not reading it. This Secret We’re Keeping was that book for me. I was completely invested in Jess and Matthew’s story, their family dynamics, friendships, and relationships.
This book deals with a difficult topic for many readers, but Rebecca Done has handled it masterfully and honestly. It’s not portrayed as an easy love story. It’s raw and emotional. It was a roller coaster ride of feelings and heart pounding moments from beginning to end. Oh, and that ending!
I am looking forward to reading more books by this talented author…perhaps a sequel?