Review: The Secret Wife, by Gill Paul

The Secret WifeThe Secret Wife by Gill Paul
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

‘The Secret Wife’ was a nice, enjoyable historical fiction/romance. Although it lacked the “wow” factor, I found it to be a good story overall. It was interesting and I enjoyed the details related to the time period. However, given the subject matter, the book lacked the suspense that I would have expected.

The story alternates timeframes, as well as locations. In 2016, Kitty Fisher discovers that her husband is having an affair. She has recently inherited a cabin in the United States from a great-grandfather that she never knew existed. Given the recent revelations about her marriage, she packs her bags and leaves her home in London, setting out for the cabin at Lake Akanabee.

Soon after her arrival, Kitty discovers some old writings in the cabin. She becomes consumed with uncovering the story of her great-grandfather, Dmitri Malama. The more she unearths, the more apparent it becomes that Dmitri’s life was anything but unremarkable.

Through the writings, a new look at Russia in 1914 and the downfall of the Romanov family is offered. Unlike many other stories centered on the Romanov family, which tend to speculate about Anastasia’s fate, this book focuses on Tatiana Romanov. I found this part of the story to be fascinating and highly entertaining. I lavished in every detail of this era in Russian history.

Dmitri was a cavalry officer who meets Tatiana when he is injured. Tatiana volunteers at the hospital where he is sent for treatment. The two fall in love, only to be separated thereafter by the overthrow of the Russian Tsar and the subsequent restrictions placed on the Romanov family.

Even after the reported murder of the Romanovs, Dmitri holds out hope that Tatiana is alive. Eventually, he gives up hope. He goes on to start a family of his own and relocates to America.

However, things aren’t always what they seem. When fate thrusts Tatiana back into his life, Dmitri is forced to make some very hard choices. Can he reconcile his love for Tatiana with the new life that he has made for himself and the wife that has stuck by his side throughout the years?

All things considered, I expected this to be a much more emotional read. Instead, it felt sweet and maybe even a little sad. Even with Tatiana’s reappearance, the story failed to elicit the tremendous emotional highs and lows that I expected. Things just fell together too perfectly.

Dmitri’s wife was just too accepting and almost complacent. I even felt the same way about how things worked out for Kitty and her husband. It was like these characters had been given a heavy dose of a sedative. Where was the anger and sense of betrayal?

Overall, it ended up being a good but not great type of story for me. It had a lot of unrealized potential. I needed more emotion and a stronger connection to the characters. It felt kind of “flat” to me, for lack of a better descriptor.

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Review: Never Never (Part 3), by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Never Never: Part Three (Never Never, #3)Never Never: Part Three by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the third, and final, part of Silas and Charlie’s story. While I didn’t hate the story’s conclusion as much as most of my friends did, I am definitely disappointed. I feel so….underwhelmed.

Charlie and Silas continue digging around, following the clues that they’ve left for themselves. Eventually, they unearth some disturbing truths. The reasons for their relationship’s decline were explained at last, which was kind of sad.

However, after all the build-up and suspense surrounding the reasons for their amnesia, we are given a cheesy, ridiculous reason. Seriously? It was a total let down!

I was willing to accept aliens, government conspiracies/government testing, drugging by one of their angry dads, some sort of accident…virtually anything but what we got. Instead, after all the anticipation, we are given a sweet, but completely unbelievable explanation. It was almost like they just got sick of the story and just wanted to end it quickly. Again, it was disappointing.

That being said, I didn’t completely hate Part Three. There were some very interesting revelations and I was still very engaged right up until the ending. I’m a bit torn because I actually liked most of it, but the ending really dragged it down. So, I’m going to average it and go with a 3-star rating. It started out as a 4, but the ending was a 2.

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