"Some things, when you look back on them, seem like a dream. But this wasn't a dream, although later I remembered it like a moment snatched out of time and haunting my memory forever." ~Secret Smile, by Nicci French
Imagine casually dating someone, breaking it off after a few weeks because you catch him invading your privacy by reading your diary, and then having that same guy turn up a month later as your sister's fiance. To make it worse, he's claiming that he's the one who ended your relationship, and he sets out systematically sabotaging your life and literally destroying your family. That's no dream, that's a nightmare! But it happens to Miranda, the protagonist of Secret Smile, a suspenseful psychological thriller by Nicci French, and the choice of this month's Third Day Book Club.
Secret Smile is quite a contrast from the other books I've read for Third Day, which were both "serious" works of literature. Book Club host Patry Francis offered us a less demanding read this time, and it came in handy for my week on the beach in Florida. Author Nicci French draws the reader in immediately, and kept me quite intriqued, wondering what insidious tactic Brendan would use next to undermine Miranda. Brendan stops at nothing - even murder - in his attempt to destroy Miranda's life.
I did feel the premise of the book was slightly unbelievable, and throughout my reading kept hoping Miranda would stand up for herself with her family and friends, who always seemed to accept Brendan's verision of things and were never willing to believe Miranda's assessment of Brendan's character. French very successfully painted him as a slimey, distasteful character, easy to dislike from a reader's perspective, and I was desperately hoping he'd get his "comeuppance" in the end.
Secret Smile, while not the best suspense novel I've ever read, successfully distracted me from the tedium of a two hour plane ride, and continued to entertain me for an afternoon in the sun.