Keeper of Secrets

Susan, a bereaved daughter, stumbles upon her grandmother’s journals.

Stories hidden from the family of adventures, spies, a mysterious discarded toy, lost loves and revenge flash before her eyes sparking a desire to escape her ordinary life. In a dusty attic, Susan holds her sadness in check as she attempts to organise her mother’s stored memories. Boxes of journals written by her grandmother reveal a hidden secret life lived out during the modern world’s most dangerous conflict.

Time slows down as the young woman relives her ancestor’s exciting life. The quiet dismissive old lady that she knew does not fit with the vibrant idealistic young woman she reads about in these journals.

The identity of the mysterious ‘Keeper Of Secrets’ is ultimately revealed and this revelation leads Susan to a decision — she is going to escape from her ‘ordinary life’ and live a secret life of her own.

Genre

mystery/spy

Critic Evaluation

Cover Design Score: 9

From the very second that one catches a glimpse of the cover, there is bound to be curiosity for more.    
The combination of the almost drab-colored beige, solid background with the huge, mysterious eye in the foreground works quite nicely together.  The overall design is simple, but it manages to convey a message.  The woman's eye that is centered almost looks haunted, and you want to learn who she is and what type of web she's spun.

Book Blurb Score: 8

The blurb reads in a straight-forward manner.  It's succinct and intriguing enough to summon questions in the reader's mind.  Any reader is likely to imagine the experiences, whether triumphs, disappointments or betrayals, that the grandmother went through as a WWII spy; that alone is enough to make the blurb hold one's attention.

Formatting Score: 7

Throughout most of the book, the point at which a new chapter begins is logical and fits well with the action taking place.  Page breaks are placed well too.  Although just a few journal entries of Daisy, the adventurous grandma, were chopped up and formatted a bit oddly, the overall lay-out looks sleek.

Grammar & Spelling Score: 10

While reading over each and every page, the content was clear and easy to follow.  Not one spelling nor grammatical error stood out on any page.  And from beginning to end, the verbiage was such that a reader of any age could easily comprehend the action and underlying theme of the book.

Plot & Structure Score: 9

While reading over each and every page, the content was clear and easy to follow.  Not one spelling nor grammatical error stood out on any page.  And from beginning to end, the verbiage was such that a reader of any age could easily comprehend the action and underlying theme of the book.

Character Development Score: 7

Within only a few chapters, the characters of both Susan and Daisy are well-defined.  You almost cheer middle-aged homemaker Susan on as she attempts to finally make her mark on the world outside of the four walls of her quiet home.  She yearns to connect with her late grandma by walking down the path Daisy walked.

Two other stand-out figures in the book are Bill, Susan's secretive neighbor, and Barry, Susan's mentor as she delves into the world of espionage.  It may have been nice to learn of the backstory involving how Bill and Barry joined forces.  It also would have been great if the conclusion at least foreshadowed whether Susan intended to go further with her entanglement with these two guys or set off on a new course.

Originality Score: 7

Although it can't really be said that the premise of someone being spurred to adventure after uncovering a letter or journal is an unheard of concept in literature, this book charms and impresses in its own right.  There is a sentimental value behind the writing.  It's nice to revel in the energy and admiration that arises within Susan as learns more about her grandma in one day of reading than her relatives ever shared with her over decades.  The reader really can focus on the ties that bind different generations of women within the family.

There is an upsetting plot twist that centers around a seemingly good guy named Kenneth.  The manner in which this miscreant is woven into the story and how he affects Susan's life is rather original.

Pacing Score: 9

By detailing the action surrounding Susan in one chapter (in the present day) and the action surrounding Daisy in the next chapter (during WWII),  the pace of the action unfolding reads in a unique way that never feels as if any one character is going through too much too fast.  This back and forth approach, jumping from the present day to decades gone by, is used throughout the entire book;  it keeps the story fresh.  The shift in place and time comes across seamlessly.  And the speed of progression of each woman's story is never rushed.

Use of Language Score: 7

The wording used to express Daisy's thoughts, fears and insights during her journeys into and out of France are wonderfully put.  The language used also foreshadows any upcoming danger she will face.  In essence, although not flowery, the language is descriptive and comprehensive so that a picture is painted.

While we tag along during Susan's adventures as a budding industrial spy, the story is told with enough descriptive words and phrases.  However, in certain passages that involve Susan's physical intimacy with strange men, the language used may be a bit heavy for delicate readers.

Overall Readability Score: 8

This is a book you will hesitate to step away from once you read over the first few pages.  It's sequence of events is logical, and there is not point at which the book drags.  It's a very easy read that is also pleasurable.

This book received a critic's score of 81 out of 100 possible points.

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