I’m delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for His Guilty Secret by Hélene Fermont, especially as I love a book with intrigue. I have my review to share, but more importantly I have an extract from His Guilty Secret for you too today.
His Guilty Secret is published by Fridhem Publishing today, 27th November 2017, and is available for purchase here.
His Guilty Secret
When Jacques’s body is discovered in a hotel room his wife, Patricia, suspects he has been hiding something from her.
Why was he found naked and who is the woman that visited his grave on the day of the funeral? Significantly, who is the unnamed beneficiary Jacques left a large sum of money to in his will and what is the reason her best friend, also Jacques’s sister, Coco, refuses to tell her what he confided to her?
Struggling to find out the truth, Patricia visits Malmö where her twin sister Jasmine lives and is married to her ex boyfriend. But the sisters relationship is toxic and when a family member dies shortly after, an old secret is revealed that shines a light on an event that took place on their tenth birthday.
As one revelation after another is revealed, Patricia is yet to discover her husband’s biggest secret and what ultimately cost him his life.
His Guilty Secret is an unafraid examination of the tangled bonds between siblings, the lengths we go to in protecting our wrongdoings, and the enduring psychological effects this has on the innocent…and the not so innocent.
An Extract from His Guilty Secret
“I’d love a glass of red wine. Maybe the one Coco used to recommend? Or perhaps a glass of water?” she added.
“I’m sorry, but we’ve run out of it. Coco’s been drinking every bottle on her own. I guess water will have to suffice.”
“That’s fine. Is there something I should know, Rudy? I wasn’t aware Coco had a drinking problem.”
Rudy had been standing with his back to her, and now he turned to look at her. “There’s a lot you don’t know where Coco’s concerned. I think it’s only fair I enlighten you before you hear it from someone else. Coco’s an alcoholic and addicted to tablets. She refuses to admit it but that’s usually the case with people suffering with addictions. I’ve told her we’re over. The reason I’m still here is because she needs me, especially now, with Jacques gone. I’ll get you a glass of water and fetch her for you.” His voice was thick with emotion.
Patricia shook her head in disbelief. “No…don’t bother with the water, just let Coco know I’m here for her if she needs me. I’m here for you both. Why didn’t you tell me? I knew something was wrong. Coco’s not been her usual self lately and each time I’ve called or texted, she didn’t respond. Oh, Rudy, I wish I’d known about what you’re dealing with. I never knew Coco’s on medication, what kind of tablets are we talking about here?” She hoped it wasn’t tranquillisers. She’d read an article about the nasty side effects in a daily paper not so long ago, warning people of the dangers of being on them for longer than a few weeks.
My Review of His Guilty Secret
When pilot Jacques dies from a heart attack whilst with his mistress in a hotel room, this will be the catalyst for a catalogue of events.
Initially I was confused by His Guilty Secret as I was expecting a fast paced, fairly straightforward psychological thriller. However, His Guilty Secret is more subtle than that. Instead Hélene Fermont explores the nature of the self, the way we live our lives, love, grief and relationships. More importantly for Coco, she delves into the effects of dependency on alcohol and medication so that His Guilty Secret is an interesting presentation of lives the reader might not otherwise have encountered, or, might be experiencing themselves. There is so much for the reader to contemplate in His Guilty Secret, making for a fascinating reading experience.
I must be honest and say I found the style of His Guilty Secret quite abrasive and I couldn’t decide if I didn’t like it, or actually if I thought it was perfect for the nature of the plot and characters.
The concept of a secret is multi-layered. I had thought the guilty secret was simply Jacques’ affair with Isabelle, outlined within the first few pages, but as I read His Guilty Secret it became clear Hélene Fermont understands we all have some kind of secret, even if we don’t actually recognise it within ourselves, and certainly the characters here do. Secrets abound and barely any character isn’t hiding a deep secret that impacts on their feelings and actions throughout. There are many surprising elements as the plot unfolds.
His Guilty Secret is a book that explores the complexities of relationships in a way that will make many readers ask questions of their own lives and pasts. Although it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, I enjoyed its layered and explorative narrative and finished the read feeling I had had the opportunity to exercise my brain and had learnt something whilst I was being entertained. I didn’t always feel comfortable reading His Guilty Secret and I think being taken out of our comfort zone is a very good thing.
About Helene Fermont
Born into an Anglo-Swedish family, Hélene Fermont grew up in Malmö in Sweden. Surrounded by an idlyllic landscape, she started writing at eight years old. Spending a brief time in the music industry performing on Swedish TV and radio, she decided to pursue a career as a therapist, focussing on children with learning diculties. In the mid-90s Hélene moved away from Sweden to move to London, the city has been her home now for over 20 years. Despite her love of London, she frequently travels back to her native city of Malmö to get back to the landscape of her childhood which first inspired her writing.
Hélene’s other books include: Because of You and We Never Said Goodbye.
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