If you look at my “favourite ever books” page, you’ll see three of Elizabeth Buchan’s books on there. They are all fabulous historical novels of which Consider the Lily is probably my favourite ever book and Max and I went especially to Riberac in France once because of my love for Light of the Moon. After those books, she turned more to romantic fiction and, featuring women older by some way that I was, I moved away from her for a while. But recently I thought I would revisit her and picked one at random out of the 6 or 7 on my Kindle I hadn’t read.
Obviously, because of the entirely random nature of this pick, the one I chose had a character called Freddie who popped up mid-story, was desperately wanted by two of the characters and gave one the slip. It also had a pregnancy in it.
But.. you know. Hey *waves at universe*.
Secrets of the Heart is an enjoyable read. In some ways it is similar to Consider the Lily; it centres of a dilapidated house, has several women of differing natures who want one man, while some other love interests tangle about in the edges of the story. It’s an illustration of the complexities of the lives of people who are not happily married at 30 and how they tend to be ensnared by life that makes choices less than simple. The themes are decay, weariness, hope and change and they are painted across houses, people and relationships. The houses as characters in their own right worked well, the incidental characters, the desperation of the mistress who is also the wronged woman and the parallels that are also differences between the characters were interesting – sad, but interesting.
It’s not a criticism of the book at all, but I’ve noticed lately that books about people trying to? find love and security in their30’s, with burned fingers and baggage, tend to have a certain passivity and weariness to the characters. I’m not sure why? Are they written by people who have been through that and know that is the overwhelming emotion or is it just too difficult for a happily-married to grasp the feelings? I enjoyed it though there was no astonishing twist to the tale but it left me wondering a little about the potential to become pathetic, or apathetic, when life doesn’t work out in a 2.4 children sort of way. I wonder why it is that so many novels of that sort leave me with that taste in my mouth?