And today marks the last non-blogmas post of 2017! What a year it’s been… little did I think a year ago that I would be getting involved in book tours and reviews, but here we are! Today’s post is all about His Guilty Secret by Hélene Fermont.As His Guilty Secret enters its 2nd week on tour, hopefully by now you’ll have heard a little about it! You haven’t? Then look no further! Here are my thoughts on His Guilty Secret and whether or not you should add it to your shopping list for someone’s stocking filler.
However, before we get into my review, I wanted to tell you a little about Hélene Fermont. Born in Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, Hélene enjoyed an idyllic childhood, surrounded by beaches, parks and commons. Her childhood home was filled with music and literature, inspiring her to write short stories for competitions from the age of 8. For Hélene, writing is just as much fun now as it was then, and it is her passion. Having spent a brief period of time in the music industry, performing on Swedish TV and radio, Hélene really wanted to become a teacher and subsequently embarked on a career as therapist, focusing on children with learning difficulties, allowing her the privilege of encountering many wonderful extraordinary young people who never ceased to amaze her and enrich Hélene’s life.
Hélene’s debut novel Because of You was published in August 2016. The novel is, to an extent, inspired by her own visits in London during the 80s. The eclectic club scene was something that she was too young to appreciate fully at the time, but it is emblematic of an exciting era that is now gone forever. She immediately decided to write her second novel We Never Said Goodbye, published on 6th April 2017 in paperback and ebook editions. His Guilty Secret – published on 27th November 2017, and the book I am today reviewing, is Hélene’s third novel. Currently, Hélene is writing her next novel.
When I was first offered the opportunity to take part in this Blog Book Tour, I said yes immediately because the blurb just caught me. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good chick-flick, anything Christmassy, and to be honest I’m yet to find a genre of book I don’t like, but mystery books will always win with me, and this one sounded perfect.
When Jacque’s body is discovered in a hotel room, his wife suspects he has been hiding something from her.
Why was he found naked, and who is the woman that visited his grave on the day of the funeral? Significantly, who is the unnamed beneficiary Jacques left a large sum of money to in his will, and what is the reason her best friend, also Jacques’ sister, refuses to tell her that he confided to her?
Struggling to find out the truth, Patricia visits Malmõ where her twin sister Jasmine lives and is married to her ex boyfriend. But her sister’s relationship is toxic, and when a family member dies shortly after, an old secret is revealed that shines a light on an event that took place on their tenth birthday.
As one revelation after another is revealed, Patricia is yet to discover her husband’s biggest secret and what ultimately cost him his life.
His Guilty Secretis an unafraid examination of the tangled bonds between siblings, the lengths we go to in protecting our wrongdoings, and the enduring psychological effects this has on the innocent… and the not so innocent.
Now I will be quite honest in that it did take me a while to get into this book. That’s not to say it isn’t a good read, I just personally found it difficult to focus for the first 20 or so pages. However, soon I was gripped as yet more twists and turns brought us further away from Jacque’s secret, and closer to finding out more about her own past.
The settings swapping between Paris, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, were described beautifully and allowed me to visualise the areas the characters were in. Similarly, the character development was interesting to read. I found it a nice change to know what was going on from the start, unlike Patricia, our main character. It was one of those strange situations where you know exactly what’s happening, and the secrets are heavily hinted at from the start. Combining this with Hélene’s general writing style, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this different take on a mystery type book.
Hélene’s words when describing Patricia’s feelings as she tries to cope with the loss of her husband, alongside everything else that is going on in her life at this point in time, beautifully convey the vulnerable position our protagonist is in.
I’ll be honest and say there were that many couples in the book, I did struggle at times to keep track of which couple was which, and I was also a little disappointed in the way their relationships were documented. However, Hélene manages to convince you that everything happens for a good reason, and I suppose it’s a more realistic portrayal of modern day relationships.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. I would give His Guilty Secret a rating of 4 stars out of 5. The idea behind the story is a brilliant concept, and as I said above I did thoroughly enjoy the whole “we know something you don’t” feeling. However, with characters having somewhat similar names, and the fact that there were so many of them, I did find it hard to follow at times, which took my mind out of the book as I found myself grappling for my makeshift family tree of who was who.
If you’d like to purchase a copy of Hélene’s 3rd novel, you can find it here on this link, or on Amazon. Have you read His Guilty Secret? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!