Secrets We Left Behind: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
It was a summer of love and a summer of secrets.
She has built a good life: a husband who adores her, a daughter she is fiercely proud of, a home with warmth and love at its heart. But things were not always so good, and the truth is that she has done things she can never admit.
Then one evening a phone call comes out of the blue. It is a voice from long ago, a man from a past that she has tried so hard to hide. He knows who she really is and what she has done. Now he is dying, and he gives her an ultimatum: either she tells the truth, or he will.
And so we are taken back to that long, hot summer of 1976, to a house by the sea on the southern coast of England, where her story begins and where the truth will be revealed....
Told in dual narratives that jump back and forth in time, Elliot Wright has crafted a story with secrets that unfold through the very last minute. Compelling, immersive, and thoroughly surprising, The Secrets We Left Behind is a stunning follow-up to the author's acclaimed UK debut The Things We Never Said.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 29 minutes|
|Author||Susan Elliot Wright|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 07, 2015|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #174,481 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#57,918 in Literature & Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#490,105 in Literature & Fiction (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
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When I bought this book, I somehow failed to notice it was written by a Brit. Although I love Brit humor. I do often find their novels a challenge to read. For no good reason that I can well explain, but, at any rate, I found The Secrets We Left Behind to be an exception. Read on to find out what I liked...
Length: Print, 385 pages.
Target Audience/Genre: This is a Mystery Suspense story.
Q - What was the Amazon Rank on the date this review was published?
A - 732.
Q - How was this book obtained?
A - Purchased.
Q - Is this a book that I can read without having to read others first?
A – Yes.
Q - Are there a lot of typos/misspellings, grammatical errors or other editing failures?
A – No, but it is written in UK English.
Q - Is this a fast, easy read or is it more of a leisure read?
A – The Secrets We Left Behind is a leisure read.
Q - What sort of language does this writer use to amplify the points made?
A – Plain, Adult English, but as spoken in the UK, as opposed to North America. Among the profanities, the f-bomb is fairly commonly used.
Q - My biggest pleasure or disappointment? Beware, the answer here might come across as a spoiler, so I'm giving you the chance to cover your eyes and not read the answer paragraph...
A - The ending is as a reader might suspect, something of a cliffhanger. I don't think this ending will really disappoint readers, though, as, by the time you get to this point, I don't see any other option.
I do wish there was more dialogue in this story. The interchange between characters can be a good tool to break up, even to describe, the settings. But also, dialogue is a great tool to set up intrigue, which I think would help drive this story.
I’ve included a small excerpt below, so readers can peruse the style of presentation utilized by the author.
When I saw where Scott was staying, I felt quite hopeful about persuading him to take the money. It was a dump, one in a row of terraced red-brick houses, all with satellite dishes like ugly growths sprouting from their walls. Some of the windows were boarded up, while others framed filthy net curtains or had blankets nailed across. A broken television lay outside one house, its guts spilling out onto the pavement; the whole street was littered with empty pizza and burger boxes, beer cans, cigarette ends and dog s***. Number 89 was smaller than the others, stuck on the end as though the builders had found they had a few bricks left over and thought they might as well use them up by throwing together one more tiny house to finish off the terrace, like a makeweight. There was an overturned wheelie bin in the front yard and a scrawny-looking black cat chewing vigorously on a bone from a KFC box. The cat hissed as I approached, eyed me warily for a moment, then carried on chewing, the tip of its tail flicking sharply from side to side. There was no doorbell, so I knocked hard on the peeling front door and waited. Just as I was about to knock again, my phone pinged: Come round the back. Door open.
You had to go through a shared gennel to get to the back door, which opened into the kitchen. I could immediately smell incense—patchouli; it was so evocative I almost expected Eve to appear and offer me a cup of chamomile tea. On the windowsill was a plastic tray of dried-up soil that had shrunken away from the sides, and a saucer containing a rusty key, a couple of corks and an open packet of seeds, mung beans, by the look of it. An old image flashed up: egg boxes crammed onto the kitchen windowsill in Hastings, the tender young shoots of cress, mung beans and alfalfa sprouts, bright green sparks of life pushing their way up through the soil and into the light.
‘Hello?’ I called.
'In here,’ came the weak reply. He looked dreadful, thinner, if that was possible, than he had last week, and his eyes seemed yet further sunken into his face. He sat in an armchair, his feet up on a wooden stool with a woven canvas top. I wondered if he’d made the stool himself; it was the sort of thing he used to do.
'So, how are you?’ Usually when we asked this question, we didn’t really want to know the answer, but I did want to know now.
'Had better days,’ he said. ‘Had worse, though.’ There was no colour left in his voice. My eyes strayed to the guitar that hung on the wall in one of the alcoves. I wondered when he’d last been able to sing. ‘A long time since I’ve made music,’ he said, as if reading my mind. The wallpaper in here was dark, with an old-fashioned leafy pattern, and there was a torn and faded poster bearing the words: If God gives you...
I like this author's skill in setting a scene. She is able to go into great detail in setting that so that all of your senses are affected. But, doing so too often can lead to a slow read if one gets too deep into that. Fortunately, the writer does not. Still, although what dialogue there is, is very well done, so I can't criticize too harshly.
Four stars out of five.
Comments regarding your opinion of this book or of my review, whether favorable or unfavorable, are always welcome. If you buy the book based on my review and become disappointed, especially, I do want to know that and I want to understand how I can improve as a book reviewer. Just please be polite.
Top reviews from other countries
Some of the themes are the same, the change between 2 different time zones, the post natal depression, the seaside setting but they are in many ways very different.
We don't know the name of the central character in the 2010 story but she is a mother who has just become a grandmother and is trying to support her daughter through post natal depression, her husband is not her daughters biological father but has brought her up from a young age and to all intents and purposes is her dad. The mother receives a phone call from her daughters biological father who threatens to expose secrets of the past.
In 1976 Jo is 16 and loses her mother and is left alone, she is befriended by Eve, a hippy and a bit of a free spirit who lives in a seaside squat with her partner.
The portions of the story set in 1976 are so evocative of that period (I was 19 at the time) the fashions, the hippy lifestyle and the heat of that scorching summer are described so well.
The stories of the 2 time periods are woven together until gradually the secret is revealed, I did guess the secret quite early on but this in no way took away the enjoyment of the book.
It was slightly far fetched in places but actually, on consideration, very plausible.
Susan Elliot Wright is an accomplished author whose stories unfold in a way that have you gripped from the early pages and I cannot wait for her next offering.
This is a well-written and compelling story which kept me turning the pages as quickly as possible. I have to say that I saw what was going to happen a mile off but I still enjoyed reading the story and finding out exactly how it happened. I think the author did a fair amount of research - part of the book is set in 1976 and it's quite evocative and detailed. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one.
We all have secrets that we would rather not think about and so does the woman in this story. She has everything, a husband who adores her a daughter, home everything.
Until she gets a phone call that blows her world apart. Someone from her past has called her to let her know he knows her secret, who she really is. He's dying, and gives her the ultimatum,,,either she tells or he will.
The book then takes us back to 1976, to the summer and the secret.
In the end I loved this book, and have recommended it to friends.