Before starting a review of the actual book, I feel that mention has to be made of the absolutely stunning cover! The gorgeous jacaranda trees depicted here are what give Pretoria, where the book is set, the name ‘The Jacaranda City’. Although they’re beautiful to look at when in bloom, locals have been known to utter a curse or two when the purple blooms fall from the trees, creating a slippery carpet underfoot!
When Rachel was in her final year of high school, she suffered a frightening and brutal attack, from which she was saved by a stranger who she never had the opportunity to thank. She’s now 30 and although she’s managed to get on with her life, this incident has always remained with her … part of her that will never go away.
Not surprisingly, Rachel is a psychologist and immerses herself in helping others. However, her own life doesn’t get so much of her attention and she’s let that slide. She’s been in a relationship with Will for 11 years, but recently it’s most definitely lost most of the spark they once had. In fact, they barely seem to communicate. And it doesn’t help that she’s never gotten along with his aloof (actually downright rude) brother Ruari, who she unfortunately also has to work with.
She doesn’t have many friends either, depending mainly on her closest friend Amelia, who she tries to get together with regularly. She’s estranged from the brother she was once so close to, and although she has a close relationship with her parents, she doesn’t see them often as they live out of town.
So although Rachel tells herself that she’s content with her life, she’s actually quite isolated. It doesn’t really bother her. She’s just getting on with things, in her little bubble. She doesn’t need anyone or anything else, other than what she currently has. It’s only when tragedy strikes that she suddenly realizes how alone she really is, and she wonders who she can turn to. But then she starts receiving anonymous letters from the person who rescued her all those years ago. He’s out there, watching over her from a distance, letting know that she’s not alone
This is an instantly engaging book and although there are parts that are shocking and disturbing, it is essentially a love story. But it’s a love story that has two different messages: it’s about how we need to learn to love ourselves above all else, before we’re able to love someone else; and it’s about recognising and acknowledging the love that others have for us, even when they can’t openly display it.
This story is based on a true-life event – a harrowing attack that happened some years ago – and when the author met the person to whom this occurred, she knew without a doubt that she needed to find a way to share her story with the world. It’s taken some time, but Taryn Leigh has certainly done it justice and should be highly commended for doing so.
This is a 4-star read that I’d highly recommend! Many thanks to Ra Ra Resources for inviting me on the blog tour and apologies all around for the much delayed post due to a technical glitch! Take a look at what other book bloggers said about The Secret Letters …
Taryn Leigh is a South African Author, who spent her childhood with her nose buried in books. Her love for reading transpired into her ambition to become an Author.
Taryn Leigh’s first book, Perfect Imperfections, is available in Paperback, eBook and AudioBook. She lives in Pretoria with her husband and son.
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