Every Secret Thing - Emma Cole, Susanna Kearsley Highly recommended by some of my GR friends, this is the first book I have read by this author, who generally writes under the name Susanna Kearsley. It has dual intersecting timelines - contemporary and World War II - and is set in London, Toronto, New York, Lisbon and Washington. The different timelines and the range of settings give the book something of the feel of an epic, although it is not one. Rather, it combines traditional (albeit low-key) thriller with history and romance.

I very much enjoyed a number of aspects of this novel. The author writes clean, lucid prose, without flourishes but elegant nonetheless. The connections between the timelines are interesting and well done. In addition, the author is able to create a good sense of time and place: crucial to readability given that the novel is set in two time periods and in multiple locations. The romance element is sweetly and poignantly realised, as is the recurrent theme of the need to pay attention to the stories and experiences of older people.

There are aspects of the novel which I enjoyed somewhat less. In particular, the plot piled coincidence upon coincidence in a manner which at times strained my very earnest willingness to suspend disbelief. In addition, the author used my least favourite plot device: that is, a lengthy and detailed confession of misdeeds given by the baddie to the investigator. It's probably just a personal quirk of mine .... but it drives me insane whenever I come across it!

All in all, this was a most enjoyable read. My enduring memory of the book will be the character of Andrew Deacon, only briefly seen alive at the beginning of the novel, but vividly recreated through the recollection of other characters. A lovely creation indeed.