Posted in 20 Books of Summer 2015!, Book Review, Books I have read

Every Secret Thing – Emma Cole

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Historical Fiction 3*s
Historical Fiction

Having enjoyed a couple of Emma Cole’s novels written under her more popular pen name, Susanna Kearsley, I was keen to try this novel which promised a more ‘thriller’ angle to her normal historical novels and even better this one has a historical angle with a mystery to boot.

This book starts so well quickly moving the narrative onto the crux of the mystery to be solved.

I first met Andrew Deacon on the morning of the day he died.
It bothered me, afterwards how little I remembered him. Someone who changes your life the way Deacon changed mine should, by rights, be remembered, imprinted indelibly onto your brain.
‘I have a story I could tell you,’ he said. ‘A Story of an old murder, but one still deserving of justice. 

Kate is a journalist covering a trial at the Old Bailey for her paper back in Canada when she met Andrew Deacon on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral although at first she was dismissive, as he left he intimated he knew her Grandmother, she had to know more. Kate uses her journalistic training to track back through the years meeting the key players as she goes.

I loved the first third of this book, where Kate talks to her Grandmother Georgie and discovers the age old truth that she hadn’t always been old, in fact when she was young and had a role to play during World War II. There was a lot to enjoy and learn about especially as Georgie was recruited to work for the British Security Coordination in New York and the descriptions of her life as a young woman in an unknown country were fascinating.

Unfortunately for me, much of the remainder of the story was one of espionage with Whitehall heavily implicated in the mystery that Kate is determined to uncover. I had trouble believing that Whitehall would be interested in keeping secrets so many years after the event but those who like conspiracy theories will probably enjoy this section much more.

I’m not entirely sure what year the book is supposed to be set in but I’m guessing at the end of the nineties although the book was published in 2006. The portion of the book set in the past is inserted into each present day chapter as a recollection from the past rather than a dual-time line novel and this worked really well in linking the past events with the present.

There were some interesting characters but it was Andrew Deacon’s story which touched my heart as we followed him through time starting with his sudden death and then skipping back to his life as a young man working for the Intelligence service.

As well as switching time periods the book also criss-crosses countries featuring England, Canada, the US and Portugal with the main story told from Kate’s perspective told in the first person, with regular portions in third person narrative from Andrew Deacon and those who knew him.

An interesting story and although I didn’t entirely buy into the spy portion of this book, there was plenty to enjoy from some really wonderful characters counterbalanced with some despicable ones who’d used the war to further their own lives, seemingly oblivious to the sacrifices being made by so many.  This is a book which has something for everyone, a historical angle, a thriller along with a sprinkling of romance.

This is the second read for my 20 Books of Summer 2015! Challenge, see the books chosen and read so far here


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

16 thoughts on “Every Secret Thing – Emma Cole

  1. I find spy thrillers about conspiracies in Western societies rather amusing and far-fetched because (a) they have no idea what a totalitarian regime of watching everybody really operates and (b) the innate incompetence of employees, even secret agents. Great review, though.


  2. Terrific review as ever, Cleo. The characters do sound interesting, too. Not sure the conspiracy/spy plot element is for me, but I do like the past/present connection.


  3. Interesting to know that this author is also Susanna Kearsley, whose novels I have been noticing…but have not yet read. Thanks for sharing…and I am intrigued. The spy aspects might not appeal to me, either, but it sounds like there is much to enjoy here.


  4. I do like spy novels, on occasion. Must be my Robert Ludlum time period coming to the forefront. I read those novels years ago and was totally caught up in the conspiracies and secrets. And, of course, there is Mr. Bond. Have never missed a movie, but never read the books. I do think it is interesting that this is also Susanna Kearsley. Like Laurel, I’ve heard so much about her work and just never picked up one of her books. As yet. Nice review. Glad you are moving forward on your summer quest. I’ll keep it in mind.


    1. Thank you Kay – I never read Robert Ludlum but know that plenty of people enjoy the spy stuff – it just isn’t for me – I’m the only person I know who doesn’t enjoy Bond!! Thank you 2 down 18 to go!


  5. Interesting about the Whitehall angle. I was watching a little documentary about the sinking of the Lusitania the other night, and apparently there’s a dispute as to whether the government was using it to transport weaponry. And the bit that surprised me was that even after 100 years, apparently the government still isn’t willing to say. It seemed so odd – how could it matter now? Sorry the book didn’t quite live up to your hopes – never mind, 18 more to go!


    1. Interesting that they won’t reveal even now – if you ask me rather stupid too as surely if they’re unwilling to reveal the answer we sort of know what it is? As you say 18 to go and this wasn’t bad just not quite what I’d hoped for.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am re watching spooks at the moment so believe Whitehall is completely dodgy and devious – this might sit well with me at the moment!


  7. I didn’t know Susanna has a pseudonym. I’ve read two of her books, The Shadowy Horses and The Winter Sea. I really liked the first one as I’m a big fan of archaeology. The second one was good also. I just may want to read her again since you’ve mentioned her.


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