**We were gifted an e-copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own**
Way back in the midst of the lock down I was contacted by the lovely Taryn Leigh regarding the release of her new book, The Secret Letters, in August of this year. At the time like many I was juggling lots of different things including a somewhat backlogged TBR, however the synopsis for The Secret Letters was so intriguing I asked if she’d still be willing to send me a copy despite being unable to guarantee when I would be able to get to it. Needless to say she agreed or this would be a very short blog post! It’s taken a good few months, but I’ve eventually read this recent release and today I’m sharing my thoughts. Thank you again to Taryn for your understanding and for gifting me a copy of your book.
About The Book
RACHEL, saved from an attack twelve years before by a faceless stranger, never got to thank him, never knew his name.
Despite the devastation she chose to rise above it to help others from their pain by becoming a psychologist…. Her only issue now is that she’s an expert at fixing everyone else’s problems, and blind to her own.
After a long relationship with her boyfriend WILL starts to go south, she turns to her best friend AMELIA for guidance.
Suddenly her world is turned upside down when tragedy strikes and she’s left with no one to comfort her but Will’s rude older brother RUARI.
Paralyzed by fear, she struggles to take grip of her life, until the day when anonymous letters begin to appear from the stranger who saved her twelve years before.
On what should have been a fun memorable evening, Rachel is attacked outside her school dance, only getting away thanks to a mysterious stranger. Traumatised and deeply shaken she has to rebuild her life and the anonymous letters she begins to receive play a big part in helping to build her confidence again.
Years later Rachel has taken her traumatic experience and turned it on it’s head, training as a psychiatrist and helping others begin their journey of healing and acceptance. But, her past was simply lurking in the shadows as an encounter with her attacker becomes the catalyst for a series of devastating events and revelations that send her spiralling into depression. Everything is simply too much for Rachel to cope with leaving her spiralling out of control, that is until the letters begin to drop through her door once more, but will she eventually find out who has been sending them?
Before I talk about my feelings regarding this book please be aware of a number of trigger warnings including; violence, sexual attack, rape, trauma, depression & mental health discussion.
This book was completely different from the one I was expecting, delving into some really difficult discussions. Having said that I feel that Leigh has done an amazing job of dealing with the topics sensitively with compassion, whilst still using the book to highlight issues that need to be discussed. Having been inspired by a true story Leigh has taken a shocking event and successfully shared one woman’s story of survival and courage on the pages of her fictional tale.
The stunning backdrop for this story is the authors home country of South Africa and her vivid descriptions of the scenery are amazing. I really felt a connection to the setting and the cover depicts the beautiful jacaranda trees which are referenced within the book which I’m sure you agree makes it eye-catching.
As for the story, whilst harrowing and traumatic I did find it quite predictable having guessed the anonymous letter writer only a few chapters in. I’m not sure if this was deliberate, but I still enjoyed the book nevertheless. I also at times found the chapters to be a little disjointed on occasion, not really understanding why so much detail was given which didn’t really relate to the story; again this didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment.
The highlight of this book for me though is definitely the friendship Rachel, our protagonist, forms with the elderly Mr Lemon. He is a wonderful warm and relatable character that really added some light and laughter to what is a dark story. The relationship transcending the decades between the two is an utter joy to read and see develop, with the two helping each other in ways they could never have foreseen.
The Secret Letters is a fast paced read that is jam packed with everything from romance and mystery to betrayal and friendship. It successfully balances emotional dark moments with heartwarming laughter and I really enjoyed my first experience of reading from this author.
About The Author
Taryn Leigh is a South African Author, who spent her childhood with her nose buried in books. Her love for reading transpired into her ambition to become an Author.
Taryn Leigh’s first book, Perfect Imperfections, is available in Paperback, eBook and AudioBook. She lives in Pretoria with her husband and son.
Connect with her on social media, she loves to hear from her fans, and is known to always respond.
The Secret Letters is available to purchase now from Amazon*