★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I am so very jealous of everyone who hasn’t read this book – because it means they get to read it. I’m not a giant fan of romance books – nor of 50’s fan girls, but this book was so excellently written that I forgave that. Long after I finished the book I kept feeing like I wanted to watch another episode. Occasionally I’ll forget whether it was a book or a show I was watching.
The lost art of keeping secrets is full of sage advice and “RIGHT!” moments. The things that tip a four star book to a five. I tried to keep a list of all the excellent moments in this book, but it would have taken me twice as long to read, and then I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my 50-books-this-year-resolution. And my, oh my, what excellent cover art – nothing I despise more than seeing some strangers face on the character I have in my mind. On the other hand, I do like seeing what they are wearing. Decent publishers will recognise decent books and can obviously hire decent photographers/graphic designers etc. There is logic behind judging a book by its cover.
Speaking of appearances, it was the major theme in this book. Unlike secrets, as the title would lead you to believe. It seems that upper class young adults in the 50’s were as obsessed about it as are the selfie-gens that dominate now. I think if the narcissists of the world were readers (which they clearly are not) this book would speak to them, and maybe help them cope with the reality of the world as it is – and as it was.
I worried for half a minute that I should have worn better shoes, then realized everyone else was too concerned with his or her own appearance to bother about mine.
Penelope Wallace, p. 100
Charlotte read my mind. “Beware of good lighting,” she warned, as full of wise advice as I expected her to be. “It’s almost as dangerous as alcohol.”
Penelope Wallace, p. 100.
It’s strange of romantics never seem to romanticise. They never really fit their own genre. Yet all of the characters have serious flaws and annoyances that make you hate them at the same time. Harry and Penelope with their obsessions, Marina and Talitha with their narcissism, Charlotte and Inigo with their naivety. It infuriating and endearing at the same time.
For a whole month we met every night – but I never once saw her during the day. Well, it never seemed strange to me at the time, but it was, of course. You have to see your lover during the day at some point, don’t you? Otherwise the whole thing remains a dream. Perhaps that’s what she wanted.
Harry Delancy, p. 71
Oh Harry. You’re a sausage. Like most romances this book was heavily character – and dialogue driven, which made for a fast read. Also handy considering how little time I seem to have on my hands. I think I will be reading this again, maybe I missed something the first time.