Thursday, March 14, 2019

Review: The Secretary by Renee Knight

Kerry Hammond is here with her review of a new novel by British author Renee Knight.

The Secretary by Renee Knight was released on February 12, in Hardcover, by Harper. It is the second book by the British author and the book jacket claimed that the story was a “razor-sharp, twisting tale of power, obsession, obedience, and revenge.” I just had to see for myself whether or not this was true.

The Secretary is a story about Christine Butcher, a young woman who becomes the secretary to Mina Appleton, heiress to a grocery store chain. Christine is hired for her skills, her discretion, and her loyalty. She works for Mina for nearly twenty years, even taking care of her to the detriment of her own life and family. She will do anything Mina asks. But when events take a turn and her loyalty is truly put to the test, will she do what it takes to protect her employer?

I loved this book. I tried to come up with one word to describe it and the first thing that popped into my head was: riveting. There were plenty of characters in the story, but I was fascinated by Mina and Christine. They were both extremely complex characters and the author did a spectacular job of bringing them to life; fleshing out their good, bad, and devious qualities. They are each equal parts compelling and horrifying.

The plot was suspenseful and perfectly timed to keep me turning page after page, wanting it to end but not wanting it to end at the same time. I don’t know if you’re one of those people who reads the author acknowledgments at the back of the book, but I am. In the acknowledgements, the author thanks her darling Greg, and tells him “it’s safe to come out now, Christine Butcher has left the house.” I can honestly say that her memory won’t leave mine for quite some time.

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review was fair and completely independent.

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