Thursday, 6 November 2014

Review: Can You Keep a Secret by Caroline Overington

Colby and Caitlin are quite an unusual couple. He's a wealthy, Wall Street based businessman that enjoys a predicable but high flying lifestyle and places a great deal of importance on loyalty. She is from a remote part of Australia, is young, attractive and seemingly innocent. The pair meet just before the dawn of the new millennium when Colby takes a trip to Australia with some friends. They marry in the aftermath of September 11 and eventually adopt a child from Russia. Caitlin notes the family's adventures on her blog, but it soon becomes clear that she may not be all that she seems ...

Can You Keep a Secret is a page-turner with a real surprise twist at the end. It examines the idea of toxic relationships, toxic personalities, and the level to which people are willing to deceive themselves--in Caitlin's case self-deception goes as far as presenting an idealised version of her family life on her blog, a version that goes a lot further than offering the odd white lie about her husband and son's accomplishments. I do feel, however, there are many places where the author could have developed Colby and Caitlin a bit further. This, I feel, would have given the twist at the end a bit more credibility. 

My feelings on this novel are very mixed. Author Caroline Overington certainly knows how to write a page-turner and the writing itself is clear and easy to understand. The novel is driven more by plot than by the characters which is a bit of a shame given the complexity of the issues that it examines. The choice of ending the novel with such a surprise twist is a brave one. Would I recommend this one? Yes, though it may not appeal to all readers.