EVERY SECRET THING Paperback – Aug 1 2007
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'An entertaining read with lively characterisation, an attractively unassuming Second World War spy and neat plotting' Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph 'A nice example of the 'woman in peril' sub-category of crime fiction... An enjoyable...hide-and-seek thriller' Jessica Mann, Literary Review
About the Author
EMMA COLE is the thriller-writing alias of Canadian novelist Susanna Kearsley. A former museum curator, she brings her own passion for research and travel to bear in her books, weaving history with modern-day intrigue in a way that, in the words of one reviewer, 'tells the story of the past and illuminates the present'. As Susanna Kearsley, she has written several novels of suspense, including Mariana, which won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Literary Prize.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
...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.
Fashioned from the same mold as Stewart's heroines, Kearsley/Cole's capable yet likeable modern day women cope with whatever life throws at them in a positive, no-nonsense albeit feminine way. In `Every Secret Thing," Cole utilizes a next generation of Stewart's familiar first person voice. Like Stewart's post WWII independent woman, Cole's character is pleased with herself and her accomplishments. However, in terms of personal strength with regard to self-identity, Kearsley/Cole's women bask in a newly found financial stability greater than that of the waitresses, secretaries, teachers and clerks of Stewart's day.
Here, protagonist, Kate Murray, is a journalist. That she has a relatively good life is self-evident; her inbred optimism is reflected in how she handles herself. However, like the typical Stewart heroine, she stumbles upon a sensitive situation of which she cannot help but become involved. In this case, like Stewart's first incomparable thriller, Madam, Will You Talk? the plotline involves a murder from the past that impacts people adversely in the present. As with Stewart, the ethical principle rules supreme.
In "Every Secret Thing" Kearsley/Cole almost reverses the Stewart formula. Whereas Stewart's work, all now period pieces that are indicative of a brave new world shining with hope and moving forward after the onslaught of the Second World War, this novel revolves around looking backwards at what we of today take for granted. On a larger level, it is a tribute to that `greatest generation's' ability to do what they had to do for the greater good with much pluckiness, personal sacrifice and little, if no, bemoaning of what could have, should have, and would have been. Kearsley/Cole nuances these small acts of unselfishness with the before and after insights of her younger protagonist - a young woman less than 30 years of age who at first has little tolerance for the elderly but grows to understand that people like her seemingly benign grandmother enabled her to have the wherewithal to explore her options while presenting her with the societal climate in which to live out her ambitions.
While the plotline lacks the clockwork smoothness of some of Kearsley/Cole's other works, it nevertheless keeps the reader wanting to turn the page. The modern story eclipses in the face of the older narrative--one involving espionage and murder in the exciting and sometimes exotic venues of New York, Lisbon, London and Washington DC. The heroine fails to enjoy any real romantic entanglements of her own, although the author does suggest one and as "Every Secret Thing" begins a series starring this protagonist there obviously will be more involvements or a continuation of the one started to come. Although the real beauty revealed in this story resides only in the memories of the older generation, the evocative yearning emoted by the two key characters elevates the reader to that special place of dreams and sentiment that once experienced cannot be duplicated. Kearsley/Cole manages this with a master's stroke and we want more. The love she depicts sparkles with that mélange of the bittersweet and precious. Quite simply she does a marvelous job and makes "Every Little Thing" one not to be missed by fans of this literary genre.
Bottom line? As the first installment of Emma Cole/Susanna Kearsley's Kate Murray series, "Every Secret Thing" offers the classic romantic suspense reader just what they desire in terms of that winning formula of likeable main character, desperate situation and exotic locale as instituted by master of the game, Mary Stewart. While Kearsley's usual tale involves a touch of the supernatural, Cole's story delves into the past and involves a murder, all of which are firmly banked in solid if not ruthless reality. Deduct a star for a chronological hodgepodge of a plotline and add one for the intensely sweet secondary story of real love in overwhelmingly perilous times. Recommended highly to all those who love intelligent romantic suspense and are not offended by sometimes incongruous happenstance and poetry-spewing characters.
Diana Faillace Von Behren
This book grabbed my attention from the first page! This story line moves at such a good pace. Even thoughshe goes back and forth in time it is for such a short time and at such a wonderful pace, I felt like I was there with her grandmother.
I am not sorry that I took a chance not knowing for sure and I so hope she plans more books under this new name.
When she writes using her real name, Kearsley releases novels with a modern-day heroine who has flashbacks to an earlier incarnation. (For example, in THE WINTER SEA, the heroine remembers an earlier life during the 1600s.) When writing as Emma Cole, she has no paranormal element to her stories. Just a straightforward mystery. There is, however, an historical aspect, in that the mystery our modern-day heroine here has to solve took place during the time of WWII.
In this book, young Canadian journalist Kate is in England to cover a story. She is approached by an older gentleman who, it seems, knows her grandmother and also wishes to share a mystery in his past. He asks her to visit him later on in the day at his hotel room but when he leaves, he is, unfortunately, killed by a hit-and-run driver.
This is all Kate has to go on. She's running blind, having no idea what the mystery is, but her curiosity is piqued. She goes back to Canada, talks with her grandmother about this gentleman, Andrew Deacon, and the past they had in common in intelligence service during WWII. However, that same evening, attempts made upon her and her grandmother's lives leave the grandmother dead and Kate running for her life.
It's a fascinating unraveling of the facts, taking place in England, Canada, Portugal and Washington, D.C., with a great cast of characters, old and young. The mystery in the past has the added poignancy of a bittersweet romance. And, as many reviewers often say of Kearsley/Cole, she is the closest thing to a modern-day Mary Stewart one can find and her books are extremely satisfying to read. Good character development, excellent descriptive passages and well-paced action.