When Harriet Laws loses her grandmother and her job, her happy life in London seems over. Alone, grief-stricken and penniless, she thinks wildly of ending it all. Fate steps in as Tom Fletcher saves her, gives her hope, and guides her to new employment. He takes her to dinner, and she finds him attractive. He's older, but she doesn't mind. Does he?
Tom, a quiet, hardworking man, is unsure of Harriet's feelings, but he's also very busy building his business interests. So it's no wonder a suave, sophisticated fellow walks off with Harriet right under Tom's nose.
What follows, no one could have predicted, as Harriet not only loses contact with all her friends but must again fight for her very life...will she ever see Tom again?
What did I think?
Oh I really enjoyed this wonderful book. What a fabulous debut from L.B. Griffin! When I first started reading, I thought it was going to be a soap opera style piece of women's fiction but it is so multi-layered that it burst out of every genre box I tried to put it in.
I loved the main character of Harriet, she's loving and intelligent but very naïve which sees her being taken advantage of in her work and love life. I felt so sorry for her when she loses her grandmother and her job in quick succession (and in such devious circumstances regarding the latter), but events lead her into the path of love interest Tom.
Harriet and Tom seem so perfectly matched but Tom thinks he's too old for Harriet and that she can't possibly be interested in him, so the pair remain friends. Meanwhile, someone else has their eye on Harriet (and he always gets what he wants) so before she knows it, Harriet's life changes once more but it's not for the better...
There's so much going on in this novel that I found it an absolute joy to read, although it does take a darker turn which had me feverishly turning pages as the pacing unexpectedly ramped up. There's also an air of mystery surrounding Harriet's beginnings and an intriguing painting left to her by her grandmother, and there are hints and clues to gather along the way, although the mystery is not revealed so we must wait for the sequel to continue this fabulous story. I didn't feel cheated at all by this, just more eager to read the next book!
Incredibly well-written, Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox is a magnificent debut from L. B. Griffin. It's a poignant, disturbing and heartwarming page-turner that has left me chomping at the bit to continue Harriet's story.
I received a gifted digital ARC from the author and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
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