I am so incredibly happy that I have found a current author who I am unabashedly in love with their writing style. I have to confess that most of my favorite authors are either long dead, or too old to write any more books. DuMaurier, Stewart, M.M. Kaye all fit this description, and sadly (to my point of view), Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels is too busy writing about Amelia Peabody and her minute-by-minute adventures to hold much alure for me with her current literary offerings. I love these writers, but let's face it, there will never be another new release from the first three, and I'm resigned to never reading another spookie/suspense by Michaels again....
...which brings me to Susanna Kearsley (here named Emma Cole) in her book, Every Secret Thing. If I didn't know any better, I'd think she was Dame Stewart's grand-daughter, and quite possibly DuMaurier's great-niece (with a bit of Kaye's second-cousin twice removed thrown in for good measure). Kearsley has quite deftly managed to incorporate the flair of Stewart's writing genius and infuse it with her own brand of poignant characterizations and turn of phrase. Every Secret Thing is Kearsley's/Cole's peon to all the best that Stewart offered in her romantic suspense novels, and she pulls it off fantastically. I found myself devouring page after page of this book featuring 2 intersecting storylines involving World War II espionage, the search for justice in an unknown and unsolved murder 60 years previously, and the acknowledgement by a young woman of the worth, the courage, and the sacrifices of people grown elderly, and therefore "invisible".
Kate Murray is a successful Canadian journalist covering a murder trial in London when an old man strikes up a coversation with her and cryptically informs her of another murder in which justice was denied. Before leaving Kate, who really wasn't paying much attention to the old man's ramblings, he asks after her grandmother, and then leaves her and is immediately run down and killed by a hit-and-run driver. Kate's subsequent search for the story behind this man, Andrew Deacon, lead her on a suspensful search for answers that covers several countries, and on a personal discovery of her beloved grandmother's past life.
Kearsley/Cole excelled in bringing so much of the descriptive narrative that Mary Stewart was reknown for in her novels. What Kearsely/Cole does even better then Stewart, IMO, is to bring a level of bittersweet poignancy to what could have been just a well written suspense novel. I found myself actually weeping at the end of Every Secret Thing, which isn't the norm with me. But Kearsley/Cole rendered the character of Andrew Deacon so lovingly and so deftly that it was hard not to feel that his sacrifice and his loss was as lovely a thing as the most romantic fiction I've read. I can only equate my feelings for Andrew to that which I felt for Rick, in the classic 1940's movie, Casablanca. Here's looking at you, kid, indeed.
This book is recommended for any fan of Mary Stewart, to fans of WWII literature, to fans of old-fashioned suspense, and to fans who love a good love-lost story. You won't be disappointed.