The Book of Secrets – Elizabeth Joy Arnold

Published December 7, 2013 by bibliobeth


What’s it all about?:

After more than twenty years of marriage, Chloe Sinclair comes home one night to find that her husband, Nate, is gone. All he has left behind is a cryptic note explaining that he’s returned to their childhood town, a place Chloe never wants to see again.

While trying to reach Nate, Chloe stumbles upon a notebook tucked inside his antique copy of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Written in code, the pages contain long-buried secrets from their past, and clues to why he went home after all these years. As Chloe struggles to decipher the notebook’s hidden messages, she revisits the seminal moments of their youth: the day she met the enigmatic Sinclair children and the increasingly dangerous games they played to escape their troubled childhoods; the first time Nate kissed her, camped out on the beach like Robinson Crusoe; and the elaborate plan she and Nate devised, inspired by “Romeo and Juliet, ” to break away from his oppressive father. As the reason for Nate’s absence comes to light, the truth will forever shatter everything Chloe knows–about her husband, his family, and herself.

What did I think?:

I came across this novel on NetGalley so many thanks to them and to Bantam Publishers for an advanced readers copy. Reading this book was like sinking into a comfortable sofa with a big mug of tea, a bit of chocolate and a warm duvet. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did, and was pleasantly surprised and suitably intrigued about the authors other works. First of all, it is a book about the relationship of a married couple, Nate and Chloe who met and fell in love in childhood. Secondly it is a book with a multi-layered plot entrenched in mystery and drama. Chloe is left dumbfounded when she finds a cryptic note from her husband, saying that he has gone back to their childhood town, as there is something he “must do.” The plot thickens when Chloe then finds a notebook written by Nate in a sort of code, hidden in one of their favourite childhood books – The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. As Chloe manages to decipher his writing and delve back into their past, their relationship is challenged and secrets are unearthed that no-one could have imagined.

This book was particularly enjoyable for me as it mentioned some classic and beloved adult and childrens literature that it was a pleasure to re-visit through this story. For example when Chloe first meets Nate and his family, she is introduced to C.S. Lewis and his wonderful world of Narnia, Chloe in turn introduces Nate to The Catcher In The Rye, and other timeless novels such as Robinson Crusoe and A Wrinkle in Time are noted and referred to. As with a lot of other books that I love, there is a darker side to this story, mainly involving Nate’s family and his ultra-religious, strict and disciplinary father. The author did a beautiful job of capturing the complexity of family relationships and through the use of flashbacks and memory episodes produced an intriguing mystery that every bibliophile will appreciate. I also have to admit that it was very effective in making me want to go back and visit The White Witch, Mr Tumnus and Aslan!  Unfortunately, I did figure out what was going on before the end of the book, but still highly recommend it and will look out for novels from this author in the future.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


8 comments on “The Book of Secrets – Elizabeth Joy Arnold

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