Author: Anna Snoekstra
Publisher: Harlequin HQ
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
Little Secrets is the second novel by Australian Anna Snoekstra and what an intriguing suspenseful tale she tells. I haven’t read her debut but after Little Secrets I am certainly interested in chasing up Only Daughter (one day when I have a little time).
There are many sub-plots woven through this story to keep the action moving and the suspense in place. You are left wondering how much is related because for one small town there is an awful lot going on.
Rose Blakey has lived her life in the small town of Colmstock but she is determined to make it out. She’s an aspiring journalist trying to get a cadetship and never quite making the grade, but she’s not going to give up. Her writing skills are what’s going to get her out of this town because she can’t pull beers at the pub forever, it won’t be enough for her. There are moments that she stops to wonder if settling down with a local and making a life would be easier but her dreams won’t be silenced.
Sleepy Colmstock isn’t quite so sleepy these days. There is an arsonist creating trouble and the latest fire left a young boy trapped in the local courthouse. The boy was a town favourite and the children are feeling his loss, in the wake of the tragedy a string of porcelain dolls start appearing on doorsteps across town. The dolls are precise replicas of the daughters living in the house, enough to create concern for parents and a lot more work for the police who are already struggling to solve the arson cases.
Colmstock is a small town where everyone knows everyone but it seems there is a lot to learn about the residents, and the arrival of a stranger that coincides with the appearance of the dolls seems a little too uncanny to be coincidence.
Rose recognises that there could be a way to use the drama unfolding in her small town to her advantage but the line between truth and good journalism gets a little blurred.
The action was pretty constant and I was left guessing throughout, there were a few pretty major surprises and some definite deplorable behaviour.
Regardless of how well you think you know your neighbours, that doesn’t mean that the threat is always from strangers. A twisted tale of threads that intersect in the unlikeliest of places means that I just can’t think how to effectively and thoroughly review this novel without spoilers.
The characters were well enough developed to get attached to but not explored to a depth that affected the suspense. You never quite knew anyone well enough to know what they were capable of, or what secrets they may be hiding. There were certainly some dark horses whose darkness was scary and though Rose blurred the lines in pursuit of a story I thought she redeemed herself.
The darkness in this story was disturbing. Little Secrets don’t seem so little when there is so much going on in your town and you can’t seem to find the source of the disturbances. Snippets of information are unearthed and completely taken out of context, or twisted to fit the facts and find a scapegoat.
A dark and disturbing tale that kept me up turning pages long after I should have been sleeping. Snoekstra is definitely an author I will be putting on my watch list.
Little Secrets is book #45 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.
Everyone is going to have a different take on this one I think and I will be interested to hear what our readers think.
Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading Little Secrets so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.