Thursday, 7 December 2017

BLOG TOUR: His Guilty Secret - Hélene Fermont

Secrets & Lies Are Dangerous 

When Jacques's body is discovered in a hotel room his wife, Patricia, suspects he has been hiding something from her. 

Why was he found naked and who is the woman that visited his grave on the day of the funeral? Significantly, who is the unnamed beneficiary Jacques left a large sum of money to in his will and what is the reason her best friend, also Jacques's sister, Coco, refuses to tell her what he confided to her? 

Struggling to find out the truth, Patricia visits Malmö where her twin sister Jasmine lives and is married to her ex boyfriend. But the sisters relationship is toxic and when a family member dies shortly after, an old secret is revealed that shines a light on an event that took place on their tenth birthday. 

As one revelation after another is revealed, Patricia is yet to discover her husband's biggest secret and what ultimately cost him his life. 

His Guilty Secret is an unafraid examination of the tangled bonds between siblings, the lengths we go to in protecting our wrongdoings, and the enduring psychological effects this has on the innocent...and the not so innocent. 

What did I think?

I discovered Hélene Fermont when I read and enjoyed her debut: Because of You, so I didn't hesitate to pick up His Guilty Secret.  Somehow I have missed her second novel, We Never Said Goodbye, but I aim to rectify that in due course.

Jacques has it all: a loving, trusting wife, a good job as a pilot, a sister who can keep his secrets and a mistress who doesn't want to break up his marriage.  No wonder this double life causes him so much stress that he has a heart attack whilst in a hotel with his mistress, Isabelle.  His wife, Patricia, knows that Jacques likes to 'unwind after his flight' by staying overnight in a hotel but Patricia has no idea that he's not alone.  Oooh I could have shaken her - what normal man doesn't want to rush home to his family?  A man who's a cheating, liar that's who!

So in the aftermath of Jacques death, it becomes clear to Patricia that Jacques wasn't as faithful as she thought.  He loved her, of that there is no doubt, but he also loved Isabelle and, although he claimed to love both women and couldn't leave either one of them, he annoyed me as he was selfishly having his cake and eating it.  Patricia starts to dig into Jacques' secret life and I felt so sorry for her when she realised that her sister-in-law and close friend, Coco, knew all along about Jacques' relationship with Isabelle.  This is where Patricia really showed what she is made of, as she could have easily folded under the weight of grief and deception.  She picks herself up and gets on with her life, determined to unearth every last secret that Jacques had buried.  His deception hurt her so much that nothing else can hurt her now.

There's something so crisp, clean and refreshing about Hélene Fermont's writing that it is very aptly referred to as having a scandi-feel.  We hear a lot about the Danish concepts of 'hygge' and 'lykke' and I feel that His Guilty Secret completely embraces the ethos of the Scandinavians.  There is no woman scorned, crying for days and feeling sorry for herself in this book, it's more a 'keep calm and carry on' and make the most of what you have left.  So very thought-provoking and eloquent, I think Hélene Fermont could almost have a genre all to herself.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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