“Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she left home, and her broken heart, far behind her. But now tragedy calls her back, where she must finally come face to face with ex-boyfriend Charlie, and best friend Sophie. Only now will she be able to confront her past―and reconcile her future. Sophie seems to have everything. Married to Charlie, with a wonderful daughter and a successful career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. A secret that ripped through their town and destroyed her friendship with Nora. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora’s stay is short. The life she has built depends on it.But first love doesn’t fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites and old feelings resurface. As the forces that once tore them apart begin to re-emerge, both Nora and Sophie must accept that true love is something worth fighting for.” (Amazon)
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my e-copy of this book.
Review of The Secret Of You and Me by Melissa Lenhardt
My rating: 3.5/5
(Trigger warnings: Homophobia, alcoholism, PTSD and cheating are all explored in the book.)
Melissa Lenhardt’s The Secret Of You and Me has been a good read, and although I have ended up having mixed feelings about the book, I have enjoyed Nora and Sophie’s story.
The Secret Of You and Me is a story of second chances and figuring out that it’s never too late to admit to yourself (and everyone) who you are and what you feel, and accept yourself. There have been moments when I wasn’t completely rooting for Sophie and Nora, with Nora’s relationship with Alima being brushed off pretty quickly, and yet I wanted Sophie to have her happy ending. She might have done wrong and she might have lied for most of her life (to herself as well), but her coming to terms with her sexuality and her feelings have been the most important part of the story.
Characters in Melissa Lenhardt’s book are flawed, and in parts, some of their behaviour makes you not want to completely root for them. But we are all flawed, full of mistakes and often wishing we have done so many things differently. Nora and Sophie’s second chance at love may be more complex than for others as their feelings and decisions start to affect all those around them – and especially Sophie’s husband and daughter. And yet, they all deserve to be themselves, even if not everything will be perfect. That makes The Secret Of You and Me more honest. More raw. More real.
I think I have enjoyed the first part of the book more than the later chapters, partially due to the fact that that’s where we are introduced to all characters and their complicated stories. I think Nora has made a very interesting protagonist, with her leaving home (or more, being kicked out of the house really) at a young age and joining the military. While her career military has been mentioned multiple times, only briefly the book handled the subject of Nora’s PSTD, which I wished it was explored deeper. Although, some parts of what she has been through has been visible in the way she was responding to Sophie and the events unfolding.
Overall, it has been a powerful story, dealing with some heavier topics, while exploring the relationship between two (former) best friends as they get a second chance at friendship and love when Nora returns to her conservative hometown.
Who is the book for: I would recommend Melissa Lenhardt’s The Secret Of You and Me to someone looking for a romance dealing with serious issues. It’s not a light-hearted reading, but it touches upon important topics! You can get your copy here.