This review was originally posted in Sunday Independent, 24 April 2017.
A good deed leads to despair with a sinister twist
Fiction: Our Little Secret, Claudia Carrroll, Avon €18.20
Taking someone under your wing. We have all done it. With the best of intentions, we see someone who may be down on their luck, and draw them closer into our fold.
But often there is a downside to this approach and Claudia Carroll explores the darker side of befriending a stranger in Our Little Secret.
Sarah Keyes has a comfortable life. She spends her days balancing her demanding job in a small law firm with her role as a mother to her teenage daughter, Darcy. Recently separated, she has no time for romance.
When she encounters a young law graduate, Lauren, she thinks nothing of giving the girl a helping hand. Before long, her protege has a post in Sarah's law firm and has inserted herself into Sarah's life, especially with Darcy. They seem to get on fantastically so Sarah is surprised to learn that her daughter is not happy Lauren is moving into their spare room. "Looking back, I should have seen the signs. Because they were all there, only I chose to ignore them," Sarah muses.
Meanwhile, in the workplace, Lauren is making her mark. She conveniently seems to be in the right place at the right time and is a huge hit with the partners. Sarah's life is slowly crumbling around her and she thinks she knows who is responsible. But how does she prove it or, indeed, gain back control?
In her 14th novel, Claudia Carroll dips into domestic noir. Sarah is a frustratingly naive victim, who ignores all the warning signs, while Lauren takes advantage of this.
Darcy is used as a pawn in Lauren's game with a secret being the bait: "I won't tell if you don't," was all Lauren would say. Because who knows?" she says casually. "Maybe someday I'll need you to repay the favour for me."
This sinister tale is a modern-day version of the Bette Davis film, All About Eve, showing how trust can be abused and kindness can be dangerous.
Sunday Indo Living