The Secret Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
You think you can trust the ones you love most. But what if one secret could make you question everything?
Every day, a woman like Louise passes you in the street: elegant, confident, determined. But underneath, she’s struggling.
She doesn’t know her sister, Alice, has been scared of leaving the house since their mother died. She doesn’t know when Alice babysits her little boy, Archie, he sometimes sees things he shouldn’t. She doesn’t know Archie has a secret.
A secret that could send cracks through the heart of Louise’s carefully constructed life....
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|Listening Length||7 hours and 43 minutes|
|Author||K. L. Slater|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 09, 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #87,589 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#946 in Psychological Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#2,029 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#5,517 in Psychological Fiction (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
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The sisters were raised in a home where they witnessed their mother suffer abuse at the hands of their controlling father. His death was a huge relief to their mother but his absence does not improve the jealousy that exists between the sisters. If anything, the money they inherit complicates matters and when Louise parts with her's foolishly, the money that their mother will leave on her death becomes of utmost importance to her. Her poor choices result in her son Archie having to keep burdensome secrets.
As it turns out, it is not just little Archie that is keeping secrets. Others in this intriguing story have things to hide as well. The question as to how they are connected makes for a gripping read and a link I particularly enjoyed was Alice sitting by the window and watching the tram go by outside. Every morning she sees the same man in the same seat in the same car. He is handsome and she finds she looks forward to seeing him. When he looks up and waves one morning, she thinks he is waving to her. His role in the story is clever and well thought out.
There are so many good things to say about this book; it was enthralling a definite page-turner.
Top reviews from other countries
Sisters Alice and Louise have always had a turbulent relationship. Not only was their father a controlling and coercive man who demanded absolute obedience from his family, but also their mother openly favoured Alice over Louise, leaving Louise feeling undervalued and excluded. Desperate to find approval, when she meets Martyn – an older man who soon displays the same characteristics as her father – she blindly believes all his lies about his dubious business dealings, allowing him to systematically defraud her of all the money left to her by her father and very nearly destroy her life.
‘The Secret’ opens with Archie – Louise’s son from her relationship with Martyn – witnessing something he is sworn to secrecy over. The story then fast-forwards 18 months. Louise is now married to Darren, who has adopted eight-year-old Archie as his own. Too busy with her high-powered lifestyle to take much interest in Archie – and with Darren constantly travelling with his own work – Louise uses emotional blackmail to get Alice to take Archie to and from school and babysit him overnight while she attends her many business meetings.
However, Alice has her own problems. Ever since her mother’s death, she has been unable to leave her home. Feeling responsible for the death of her partner, Jack, she is convinced it is safer to keep away from other people – although her sister is unaware of these fears.
Growing up Louise was never an easy person to live with. Bitter and resentful towards Alice for receiving all her mother’s attention, she never missed an opportunity to undermine Alice’s confidence. Unfortunately, things have not changed between the sisters and Alice constantly has to deal with Louise’s barbed comments and general manipulative behaviour.
Told from the viewpoint of both Alice and Louise, the novel alternates between past and present events in a series of flashbacks, gradually revealing the sisters’ backstory. This not only gives the reader a greater understanding of the sisters’ relationship but also how it drives their behaviour.
However, the key to the ever-increasing drama is Archie. With his behaviour shifting from aggression to withdrawal, Alice soon begins to worry about him, especially when she discovers the bruises on his arms. Unaware of the secret he is harbouring – and with Louise refusing to accept there is anything wrong – Alice decides it is time to start asking questions.
‘The Secret’ is a cleverly crafted and structured novel that leads the reader in one direction only to suddenly change course with the introduction of new information. As the suspense builds and Archie’s secret is finally revealed, the ending is both surprising and explosive.
The middle third of the book just slowed right down and that made my interest levels drop. It seemed like a lot of filling in and contained mostly everyday things that seemed to be out of alignment with the beginning of the book.
I thought the last third would be the great finale. Not to be. Whilst there is a series of twists, despite not seeing some coming they were so quickly visited and presented that it lost that sense of shock and unease that could of been there. It was one reveal after another and felt incredibly rushed to me.
The writing itself is good, it’s the plot and pace that disappointed me. I also found the times of going back into the past somewhat irrelevant and detracting except for one key bit of information near the end. You know when you just want to stay in the present as the timeline backwards isn’t exciting enough?
A 3 star read for me. Somewhat disjointed and I thought it could have a whole lot more punch and depth. The weave of intersected lives just came with a sense of rushed information that left me feeling “is that it?”
I wish the style and pace of the first third of this novel had continued.
The story starts with a dual prologue: then and now. This is in first-person and from Archie’s perspective. What happened in the past, was witnessed by Archie, and it is this secret that fuels the narrative and keeps the pages turning.
Most of the story is narrated in first-person from Alice’s perspective, with some narration in third-person from Louise’s perspective. This dual narration adds to the ‘who’s telling the truth?’ element and allows a degree of empathy for Louise; although to be honest, she isn’t nice at all. Alice’s character is in first-person and this works really well, leaving the reader with no uncertain terms as to who the protagonist is. Alice suffers with ME and anxiety; I could feel the exhaustion and pain radiating throughout her body. Readers will be screaming at Alice and telling her to say ‘no’ to the demands of her bossy and overbearing sister. We learn early on that Alice’s health issues are linked to a previous relationship. I won’t say why this is as I don’t want to spoil things, but when she sees a stranger who looks similar to her ex, you start to question Alice’s sanity.
Alice’s nephew, Archie, is a wonderful character and really brings the story to life. Dealt a raw deal in life, with a mother and step-father who both put themselves and their own careers before their child, Archie finds solace in spending time with his Auntie Alice. This isn’t an easy relationship at first. Alice barely has enough energy to look after herself let alone stepping in to care for her sister’s child. But Louise is controlling and uses emotional blackmail, forcing Alice to agree to look after Archie. According to Louise, Archie has ADHD but when Alice starts to get to know him, and gives him the time and attention that is lacking at home, the pair bring out the best in each other, and Alice starts to questions whether this is true. Alice has had a horrendous past, and her health is at a point where it looks it is on a downward spiral with no way out. But whilst helping Archie, Alice unwittingly starts to turn a corner and she starts to integrate with the outside world.
Alice also starts to get to know one of her neighbours, Jenny. Jenny also has her own set of problems. But somebody doesn’t like Alice helping Jenny – or is it Archie they don’t like her helping? And just who is that guy who waves to Alice each morning from the tram, that reminds Alice of her ex?
True to its genre, the story is full of red-herrings. And just when you think you know what ‘The Secret’ is, think again! There’s yet another twist!
I really enjoyed reading this book. The things I will take away from this as a New Writer, are pacing of the narrative and how to drop seemingly inconsequential hints into the plot that only make sense once the twist is revealed.
However, this one didn’t live up to expectations; it fell a bit flat. I just kept expecting something to shock me and think ‘yes this is why her books are brilliant’, but it just didn’t happen. The ‘secrets’ were just ‘oh is that it?’ The book just plodded on about an agoraphobic girl overcoming her problem really and the other little things going on were just periphery.
The timeline jumps were all over the place and following the two different characters; it was hard to keep up with what was going on and halfway through it was hard to care as the characters were just not worthy of my interest. It wasn’t that they were unlikeable they just didn’t have anything interesting about them.
I’m actually pretty gutted that I didn’t enjoy this book as I’d been looking forward to reading another of K.L. Slater’s books for a good few months now and it the book I’m ending the year on. Oh well, never mind you can’t love them all I suppose!