Posted on December 26, 2016 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in 4 stars, Adult, Contemporary Fiction, COYER Reading Challenge, eArc, Julieann Dove, Review / 0 Comments

Title: The Secret He Keeps 
Author: Julieann Dove
Publisher: CrushStar Multimedia LLC 

Published: 8 December 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 276
Format: eARC
Source: Author via Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Reading Challenges: COYER Blackout

Dr. Rachel Miller has no recollection of what happened that night she climbed in the car with her husband and he drove recklessly into a tree. She has no clue as to why she survived and he didn’t. Nor does she understand why strangers are coming up to her on the street and telling her things she can’t recall about a life that seems so long ago. But Dane Stone knows. 
Dane Stone is Rachel’s business partnerand her deceased husband’s best friend. He knows about the notes, the hotel receipt, and the reason she got in the car that night. It’s for her protection that he keeps the secret, but inside he’s dying to tell her.

Secrets always have a way of coming out no matter how hard we try to hide them. “The Secrets He Keeps” by Juliann Dove accurately depicts this statement.

This is my first time reading anything written by the author, but as soon as I read the blurb I knew I had to get a copy of this book. I figured that this would have been an emotional read and I was not disappointed. I am not sure I would have classified this as a romance. The emphasis was more on learning to cope with a devastating loss rather than falling in love.

What I liked about this story was the portrayal of the effects that the grieving process can have on an individual. We all grieve in our own way and sometimes it can take us down a path of destruction. This was the effect it had on Dr. Rachel Miller. At the beginning of the story, we see Rachel grieving the loss of her husband for over a year. During this time, she had isolated herself from her friends, family, and co-workers. She was in a state of depression and was on the verge of becoming an alcoholic.  Added to that she had no recollection of the events leading up to her husband’s death. All she knew was that she survived the very accident that took her husband’s life.

Rachel struggled to keep the best memories of her husband alive even when the ugly ones tried to raise their heads. She refused to accept any information, regardless of whom it came from, that would put her husband in a bad light, and she was not willing to move on as she felt it would be a betrayal to do so. The story was an accurate reflection of how at times the truth can be a painful pill to swallow. However, for one to move forward one has to be willing to accept the truth no matter how painful it can be. Rachel was not willing to accept the truth and so she repressed the bad memories. The further I got into the story, it became clear why she was not willing to and it was at this point that I began to understand her actions. 

The story was told from three POVs, but the two that stood out was that of Rachel and Dane. Seeing the story through their eyes allowed me to relate to their pain, their struggles and them coming to terms with their feelings towards each other. I am still trying to figure out how John, whose POV was also provided fits into the story.  When I was first introduced to him I thought he would have played a big part in the story.  However, after some time his character fizzled out never to be heard from again.

The pacing was good, there was never a dull moment. I was curious to know the secrets that were being kept. I had my suspicions about the secrets, but there was one in particular that shocked me to the core. I honestly never saw that one coming.

Although I enjoyed the story, there were some issues I had that prevented me from giving it a higher rating.

1.    What happened to John? It was evident that he and Rachel had a connection, but this was never explored fully. Did he go back to his fiancé? It would have been good to have the answer to these questions.

2.    The story ended rather abruptly. It felt as if the author was in a rush to complete the story and in the process cheated her readers. In all honesty, I was expecting an ending that would have put a smile on my face and bring tears to my eyes.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and one that I would recommend.

I received a free copy of this book from the author via Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This has no bearing on my review, which is an honest reflection of my opinions of this book.
Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading
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