Marin and Derek had the perfect life; a good marriage, a lot of financial success, health and beauty, and an adorable 4 year old son. That changed in an instant when Marin let go of Sebastian’s hand for a split second in the pre-Christmas crowds at Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. CC footage showed him going off with a man in a Santa Claus suit, lollipop in hand, the man’s face not visible.
That was over a year ago now. Marin can count months and days, because her life shattered so thoroughly that she can barely acknowledge the pieces. She and Derek rarely even speak; she drags herself to work just to give herself something to do; she has attempted suicide once and keeps open the possibility, just as a way to get through her days. Her lifeline is her old college boyfriend, a bar-owner named Sal, whose daily texts and encouragement give her just enough of a push to keep going. She and Sal were on-again off-again in college, and when Marin met Derek during an off-period, she fell in love and married him. Did Sal really get over it? Marin trusts their friendship, but it’s interesting to see the viewpoint of other characters.
The FBI has given up on the case, so Marin hired a private detective without telling Derek. One day the P-I sits her down and says that while she hasn’t found Sebastian, she has found that Derek is having an affair, with a young graduate student named McKenzie Li. Kenzie has 1000s of instagram followers and a history of dating rich, older men as what she herself terms a “professional girlfriend.” Of course we initially hate Kenzie, but a section of the novel told from her point of view makes her a three-dimensional creature, with a mother with Alzheimers in an expensive nursing home, and her own set of insecurities and issues.
Marin views Kenzie as a part of her life that can be under control. She can’t find her lost little boy, she can’t seem to reignite her marriage, but she can attack Kenzie. Marin vows to go to any lengths, legal or illegal, to get rid of her.
I really enjoyed Little Secrets, and thanks to the fact that I now work from home, I was able to stay up into the wee hours to finish it. You will want to as well. The characters pull you in; they’re believable, complex, imperfect human beings, whom you sometimes want to shout at. The plot itself is a twisty as your heart could desire, and I didn’t see the ending coming until the precise moment the author chose. It deals with so many issues–heartbreak, revenge, how well we know others, and more. Highly recommended.