I was grateful I had a couple of days off work so I could read Our Little Secret by Roz Nay with very few breaks. This New Title Tuesday selection kept me guessing right up to the last three pages – that is if I actually trust the narrator.
Roz Nay’s Our Little Secret is a twisted tale of love, pain, and revenge that will stay with the reader long after they turn the last page.
They say you never forget your first love. What they don’t say though, is that sometimes your first love won’t forget you…
Angela Petitjean sits in a cold, dull room. The police have been interrogating her for hours, asking about Saskia Parker. She’s the wife of Angela’s high school sweetheart, HP, and the mother of his child. She has vanished. Homicide Detective J. Novak believes Angela knows what happened to Saskia. He wants the truth, and he wants it now.
But Angela has a different story to tell. It began more than a decade ago when she and HP met in high school in Cove, Vermont. She was an awkward, shy teenager. He was a popular athlete. They became friends, fell in love, and dated senior year. Everything changed when Angela went to college. When time and distance separated them. When Saskia entered the picture.
That was eight years ago. HP foolishly married a drama queen and Angela moved on with her life. Whatever marital rift caused Saskia to leave her husband has nothing to do with Angela. Nothing at all. Detective Novak needs to stop asking questions and listen to what Angela is telling him. And once he understands everything, he’ll have the truth he so desperately wants.
It took no time at all for Nay to hook me as a reader who loves a good puzzle. The first line in Our Little Secret was enough: “I’ve been in the police station all morning while they ask me questions about Saskia.”
Of course I read the novel’s summary and portions of a couple of reviews, so I knew that I had to be wary of Angela Petitjean’s version of the truth. But the way the author made this main character vulnerable and sympathetic was deeper than others in this ‘unreliable narrator’ genre:
My mother always taught me not to ask questions you don’t want answers to. Mind your manners, Angela. You’re so nosy, so grabby. You’re so needy; have I taught you nothing about being a lady? Twenty years I lived with my parents and we never really talked about anything. We were just moles fumbling along in the same dark tunnel.
These days when all three of us meet, we blink at each other in the bright surprise of my adulthood and flounder for a point of reference. But if I think about it now, maybe my mother was right. In among all her competitive disapproval lay a gristly knuckle of truth: Don’t ask what you don’t want to know.
Detective Novak, I don’t trust your curiosity.
Happy Reading, Susan C.
About the Author: ROZ NAY grew up in England and studied at Oxford University. She has been published in The Antigonish Review and the anthology Refuge. Roz has worked as an underwater fish counter in Africa, a snowboard videographer in Vermont, and a high school teacher in both the UK and Australia. She now lives in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and two children. Our Little Secret is her first novel.
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