To start with, this is one of those books with a blurb that is really unhelpful. I am always nervous reading a book about teacher’s so was dubious to begin with. Then there was the title… ‘secret’ like teacher’s are bad… we so don’t need any more bad press as teacher’s are already blamed for failing to teach this, that or the other. Bandwagon moment here… what is a parent’s role? Do you know one year a newspaper published 103 different things that teacher’s should be responsible (reading made the list). These included driver’s ed, drug education, first aid, manners, hygiene and financial management amongst the other 90 odd.
Okay, totally off track so let’s go back to the book. The blurb kind of talked about all these secrets and how a town can be an escape and a refuge. I will agree that the only part of the book that was accurate was the escape or refuge part. I felt like it was to be about a country town but I got the vibe of something more like the Mornington Peninsula (sorry for anyone who doesn’t know this area).
The story interweaves the lives of a number of characters and what has shaped them and continues to shape them. I actually really enjoyed it and felt it was the first book I’d read for a while with a bit of depth. The key characters weren’t brought together in a tacky way that reduced who each of them were but it felt possible to me. Firstly, there is the school handyman, then the recluse older lady, the teacher, the young parent, the refugee and a supporting ensemble of characters that are no less important to the shape of the story.
If you struggle with multiple story lines happening at once I think you’d still be okay with this book as it isn’t overly complicated either. I’d give it 4 stars.
Happy reading x