Every Little Secret,
by Sarah Clarke
Publication: HQ Digital; February 25, 2022
From the outside, it seems Grace has it all. Only she knows about the cracks in her picture-perfect life… and the huge secret behind them. After all, who can she trust?
Her brother Josh is thousands of miles away, and he and Grace have never been close – he was always their parents’ favourite.
Her best friend Coco walked away from her years ago, their friendship irreparably fractured by the choices they’ve made.
And her husband Marcus seems like a different man lately. Grace can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something.
But when her seven-year-old daughter makes a troubling accusation, Grace must choose between protecting her child and protecting her secret… before she loses everything.
This is the story of Marcus, Grace, and their seven-year-old daughter Kaia. Their life seems happy and idyllic until one day Marcus and Kaia are climbing a tree and Kaia falls and gets hurt. Even worse, when she gets to the hospital, she reports that her Dad pushed her. Is she confused because she has a concussion? Did Marcus really push her? After the accusation, Kaia’s behavior seems to worsen while Grace struggles over whether to believe her husband or her daughter. And an even bigger worry – what if someone finds out her secret?
This novel is told from multiple POVs and varying timelines between when Grace and Marcus first met and the present. Grace is the primary voice but it is also told from Marcus, Coco’s, and Kaia’s POV. Grace and Coco were best friends as teenagers and Marcus came into their lives after he befriended Grace’s brother, Josh. While everyone is dealing with this new family dynamic in the present, the narrators also take us back to the beginning, laying the framework for everyone’s relationships now. And honestly, at times, it became very cumbersome. I love the building of suspense, but I feel like so many flashbacks could have been condensed, thus improving the flow and the pace.
Marcus’ character development combined with the unreliable narration built a great deal of suspense and excitement into the story but I feel like more could have been with done with Grace. Or perhaps that was the point? When they are teenagers and Marcus has a crush on Coco, Grace always seems to be a blurry background image, almost like an afterthought. In adulthood, she still wasn’t a strong character, so maybe it was intentional. On the other hand, I felt that Coco was overdone, especially when I saw absolutely zero admirable or redeemable qualities in her character. Even worse, I had no sympathy for her situation. I tried, but, just no.
Anyhow, regardless of some tedious parts and some character issues, I found this to be an engaging, surprising, and somewhat addictive domestic thriller. I cannot wait to read more from this author in the future!
*Thanks to NetGalley and HQ Digital for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.