Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Of Love and Secrets is a romance novelette written by Margaret Lynette Sharp. Reeling from her breakup with boyfriend James, eighteen-year-old Jenny is heartbroken and goes out of her way to avoid him at all costs. Jenny’s mother, Vicki, puts their romance down to having been nothing more than puppy love, causing much tension in the house. When invited to a friend’s party, Jenny accepts the invitation and attends. At the party, Jenny meets Richard who is in his early twenties, independent and drives his own car. Richard takes Jenny home after the party and it isn’t long before the two become inseparable, with Jenny staying out later as each night passes. Vicki constantly criticizes Jenny and puts Richard down, driving Jenny’s self-esteem into the ground. After Richard finds a roommate (who happens to be female) to share his flat in order to cut down on his expenses, Vicki tries even harder to drive a wedge between Jenny and Richard, but only succeeds in pushing Jenny even further away. Jenny’s father, John, takes quite a shine to Richard, as the two share a passion for photography. When Richard receives a job offer in Melbourne, Vicki almost suffocates Jenny with her snide remarks about what a pig Richard is for dumping her so unceremoniously. Unable to leave Sydney due to her studies, Jenny is distraught and starts to believe her mother’s insults... until Richard proposes. With her whole future now entirely in her own hands, little does Jenny know that the engagement ring on her finger is about to bring about a shock revelation which shakes her whole world.
So much suspense! Never has a book had me questioning a man’s motives as much as Margaret Lynette Sharp’s romantic tale. As much as I loathed Jenny’s mother for being so cruel to her daughter and crushing her spirits, I couldn’t help but wonder when Jenny would fall for her mother’s lies, go back to James or even be assaulted by her new love, whether physically or verbally. For the entire duration of the story, I waited for something terrible, as I knew Vicki to be the I-told-you-so type of person who is relentless in being a control freak and hurting others' feelings. Jenny’s parents are definitely opposites, but they say opposites attract. Regardless, I could not find a single reason anybody would fall in love with somebody so cold and heartless. All in all, however, I very much enjoyed the direction in which Of Love and Secrets travelled, including the shock ending, which readers will need to discover for themselves. I recommend Of Love and Secrets to readers who enjoy a good romance which tugs at every different emotion, before making you crave what is in store, should a sequel come along – which I would also very much look forward to reading.