“The police want to know if I’m in love with him, and they ask it like it’s the simplest explanation rather than the most complicated.”
First love is intoxicating. Exhilarating. It’s passionate, consuming, all-encompassing. We never forget our first loves. But what happens they won’t forget you?
Angela was friends with HP before she loved him. She knows him better than anyone else. And he knows her. They are meant to be together. Meant to last forever.
Now, years later, Angela has put the heartbreak behind her. She’s friends with HP and his family. She’s healed. Forgiven and forgotten. She’s put the past firmly behind her. Which is what she keeps telling the police in the interrogation room.
Angela answers hours of questions, reliving her past with HP, trying to help them see that she has nothing to do with Saskia’s disappearance. Over and over she answers the same questions. Until Detective Novak. He seems content to let Angela tell her entire story. After all, if she’s telling the truth, who’s lying?
“Like I said, Detective Novak, what love story ends in a police station interview room?”
Coming in only at 228 pages, Our Little Secret packs a sinister punch in a short amount of time. This is a novel you will devour in one sitting. It isn’t just the length that makes this possible. It’s the compelling, hypnotic tale Nay weaves.
Told from Angela’s perspective, the narration feels intimate, and immediately pulls the reader in. Our Little Secret is more than just a title. It’s an omen, since Angela does talk as if she’s taking our confidence. She needs to tell her story, all of it. The beginning, she insists, is just as important as the end.
“There’s a skill to finding where a tale truly begins, and trust me, there was action long before there was Saskia.”
Obviously, since we are in an interrogation room, we have no idea from the start whether to trust Angela. And she doesn’t make it easier for us. She’s not very likable. She’s dark, and haughty. It’s obvious she thinks she’s miles above most people. But how she feels about HP is crystal clear. So is her opinion of Saskia.
Our Little Secret is a story of first love. How consuming it is. How soul crushing and heartbreaking it can be. How tragically it can end. Angela wants us to believe that this is a story of love. And forgiveness. Of healing and moving on into adulthood after heartbreak crushes our childish dreams. But we never forget that we’re still in a police station, sitting in an interrogation room. So clearly something isn’t as it seems. The question is what.
“But they were thoughts, not actions, and you can’t get in trouble for thinking thoughts. Because if you could, wouldn’t everyone in the world be in jail?”
I am a huge fan of psychological thrillers. They are meant to be more sinister than a more traditional thriller. They’re meant to creep into the darkest parts of our minds, to explore the pieces of our psyche that we don’t like to expose to the light of day. They take the deepest, darkest parts of humanity and give it a good twist. Diving into the mind of someone who thinks, does, or acts in ways we never would is the devious pleasure of these novels. And Our Little Secret doesn’t disappoint on any level.
We go on a journey with Angela. We go into her past, into her heart. We feel her heartbreak and betrayal. This book is a roller coaster of emotions. We feel the pull between her and HP, even after everything that happens. How they can’t let each other go. Not completely. Not entirely. As we careen towards the end, we realize we don’t really know who to trust. But by then it’s too late.
Like all good psychological suspense novels, this is one that requires time to process what you read. There are layers presented which always make for good discussions, so I think this is fantastic for book clubs. It’s a book you’ll want to read again, to try and pick up the clues the second time around. This is Roz Nay’s debut novel, and I can’t wait to see what else she writes!
Thank you St. Martins Press and BookSparks for sending me a copy to read and review!