Secret Lies by Amy Dunne is a lesbian romance where you will find all the ingredients that make a wonderful story. Characters with whom you can relate on, difficult situations which are real and moving, and the promise of a happy ending for those who are courageous enough to fight for what they want.
The main characters come from opposite ends and this makes them not only react differently to what they are going through but to find a common place of union and understanding.
Jennifer is beautiful, popular and envied for everyone. She has everything any person her age would want, friends who follow her every order, boys who pine for her, a loving family which will give her whatever she wants… and a painful loss that marked her life forever and won’t let her live in peace.
Nicola, on the other side, is the kind of girl that nobody sees because she hasn’t the money or the beauty that would make her the queen Jennifer is. But Nic is not worried or interested on this, her problem is her mother’s boyfriend, who uses her as a punching bag for no other reason that he can. Her mother is oblivious to this and Nicola fears that, if she knows about the situation, she will choose him before her daughter.
This way, these two characters who live in different universes and whose lives wouldn’t collide ever, will find support and understanding in the last person they thought and there is where the spark happens. A great loss and a bigger guilt put Jenny in a path of repulse and destruction that will be interrupted only by a sweet girl who has her load too, someone with whom Jenny feels safe enough to talk to about her inner secrets and regrets.
Nicola is brave, strong and mature. A warrior who isn’t going to let anyone torture her anymore. Jenny is weaker in a way, and it could be because she has “suffered less” than Nicola. Even though you can’t compare suffering, it’s evident that Nicola has gone through so much more in her life, and her being determined to stop the spiral of violence and pain is what proves that she’s a fighter.
That is what I enjoyed most of the book. While Nicola is more mature and knows what she wants and doesn’t want anymore, the more difficult decisions have to being made by Jenny, who has a lot more to lose than Nicola if she confesses to her parents about what she has done to herself and what she feels towards Nic. As Nicola says, she doesn’t have friends or family to lose but Jenny has to face the possibility of losing everything she’s ever had, even if it didn’t make her happy. The author introduces this way a tricky subject: should we stay how and where we are even though we’re not happy? Is it worth it to risk everything, the certainty of what we have known our entire life, for the person we love?
Amy Dunne surprised me with her characters, the perfect balance between dark and light scenes and the beautiful message based on self-respect, courage and how love can save you from the deeper abysms only if you’re willing to take risks. Thanks for a wonderful journey!