High in the mountains in the South of France, eighteen-year-old Ceci Corvin is trying hard to carry on as normal. But in 1943, there is no such thing as normal; especially not for a young woman in love with the wrong person. Scandal, it would seem, can be more dangerous than war.
Fifty years later, Annie is looking for her long-lost grandmother. Armed with nothing more than a sheaf of papers, she travels from England to Paris in pursuit of the truth. But as she traces her grandmother’s story, Annie uncovers something she wasn’t expecting, something that changes everything she knew about her family – and everything she thought she knew about herself…
Now this is the type of book I’ve been looking for, for so long and it was right under my nose in my Netgalley list. Lately I’ve been terribly uninspired by the books I’ve read and haven’t found one that grabbed me from the get go and wouldn’t let go. This is that book. I could not put it down and it was a very unexpected read for me! I daresay I have not read this kind of romance before and not due to ignorance, I just haven’t seem to come across one as yet (you will know what I mean when you read it – I won’t spoil!).
This novel is set in two different timelines – one in the past, Ceci’s story in 1943 and now, Annie’s story. The chapter’s change between Ceci and Annie’s stories and you really get invested in each of these characters. Ceci, a young eighteen year old in a small town in the South of France is a bakers daughter and works in the bakery herself. Ceci is a very young 18 and does not know much about the world and is on the cusp of a great discovery about herself and a great love she’s never known. This is all very dangerous when the world is at war and whilst the small town hasn’t been touched yet by violence, it is only a matter of time and rationing is at it’s peak. When the town’s ‘visitor’s’ arrive – everything changes and Ceci’s world is turned upside down.
Annie is a library, cataloguing assistant, not happy in her job and not happy with the way her life has turned out, meek and mild in nature, she longs to lash out at her horrible boss and explore a new life. When the task turns to her to find her long lost grandmother, she jumps in with a lot of hesitation and then goes on the ride of her life, one which changes everything and alters everything she has ever known about her life and her grandmother’s life.
The Secrets Between Us is wonderfully written and Laura’s descriptions of the small town is so rich and vibrant, you can almost taste the salty bread and smell the flowers in the meadow. Laura has created a world you get lost in and characters you really invest in and the ONLY reason for giving this book 4 stars – (i’d give 4.5 if half stars were a thing) and not 5 stars is due to the ending. I felt like after investing so much into this book and it’s characters, the ending was wrapped up in not even a chapter and I felt absolutely robbed.
I would have loved to <spoiler>witness more of a reunion between mother and daughter especially after the bombshell that she was still alive!! I also would have loved to see something develop between Matteo and Annie (even though it was insinuated) given how strong Annie became throughout her journey. </spoiler>
Either way, this book is magic and although a different sort of romance, a stunning one all the same.
4 (.5) stars