This Secret We’re Keeping is a student/teacher romance done right!
The story is told with two narratives: Matthew’s POV in 1993 (the teacher) and then Jess’s story (the student) in the present time. We get to see how the relationship came to be, the scandal surrounding out, and the emotional turmoil when they meet once again seventeen years later.
It’s definitely a character driven story and thankfully the characters were wonderfully fleshed out (even Jess’s dog felt real!). With superb characterization, the POV shift flowed smoothly from chapter to chapter and I never once felt disjointed within the narrative.
Student/teacher relationship novels are often side-eyed, but Rebecca Done did it wonderfully. She took a taboo topic that could have been so sleazy if in the hands of a lesser author and made it into a fantastic story. She didn’t romanticize anything; it was wrong, it was illegal.
At nearly 500 pages, I felt it was just teensy bit long for what the story needed—a good 25 to 50 pages could have been cut and the story would be as good.
However my little nit pick should not put you off whatsoever, this is a fantastic contemporary read and definitely worthy of a few hours of your time!
This Secret We’re Keeping is Rebecca Done’s debut novel and I am so excited to see what her next book will bring!
Thanks to Michael Joseph (Penguin UK) for providing me with a copy from NetGalley!