Book Review: The Darkest Secret - Alex Marwood
After having this book recommended to me, I finally picked up a copy from my library late last week, and tore through it in a couple of days.
The story starts off with an email being sent out to raise awareness regarding the disappearance of three-year-old Coco. It is sent out by Coco's godmother, Maria.
We learn that Coco goes missing on a long weekend, when her family and parents' friends gather to celebrate her father Sean's 50th birthday.
On the guest list are interior designer Linda, (who happens to be Sean's mistress), and her husband, Dr James Orizio. As well as politician Charles Clutterbuck, his wife Imogen, Maria and husband Robert Gavila, Robert's teenaged daughter, Simone, and a few younger children from previous relationships.
Also, Camilla and India, who are Sean's older daughters from his first marriage.
Sean is very well-off, and, much like the company he keeps, he is bitter, selfish, and downright awful.
The story is told in two alternating timelines; 2004, when Coco disappeared, and then 12 years later, when we learn that Sean has died in suspicious circumstances...
His now teenaged daughter Ruby, is accompanied by her step-sister Mila (formerly Camilla), to his funeral, and together, they hope to uncover the real truth about what happened to Coco on that tragic weekend all those years ago..
Alex Marwood has done a brilliant job of pacing the story, and interweaving the two time lines, so as the plot unravels, it is all linked in a riveting way.
As there are a lot of characters in the book, it took a bit of time to get used to them all, and on more than one occasion I was a little confused, but I think this would be the sort of book that you would benefit from reading a second time, to develop a better understanding of the complexity of the characters.
I really couldn't put the book down until I knew what had happened to little Coco, and it isn't until the final pages (literally the last page or two of the novel!) that the truth is revealed.
I was so drawn into all of the mystery and suspense, and I felt a lot of emotion towards a lot of the characters, in particular, Sean, and his group of friends.
I'd highly recommend this book, as it is really absorbing and very cleverly written.
I'll definitely be checking out more books from Alex Marwood in the near future.