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The Secrets of Strangers

by Charity Norman

Part of the Charity Norman Reading-Group Fiction Series

Book Club Recommendations Books of the Month Family Drama Star Books Thriller and Suspense

LoveReading View on The Secrets of Strangers

A super read! This is a sneak past your guard and send you reeling type of book. It’s fast-moving, yet is intimate and fully connected with my feelings. I completely forgot I was meant to be reviewing and just read! An armed siege takes place in a cafe in London, the story weaves between the gunman, captives, and police officers creating the most intense and readable storyline. The introduction to the characters immediately captured my interest, each of the chapters are headed by one of the characters, allowing the creation of smaller stories within the main tale. Each person is memorable, fully developed, and created their own place in my thoughts. Charity Norman is on my list of favourite authors, she has the most wonderful ability to look beyond the obvious and really make me think, while at the same time telling a vivid, emotional, and hugely entertaining story. The ending held immense impact, and really tugged at my heartstrings. Not only a book of the month, but a LoveReading star book, and a Liz Robinson pick of the month too. The Secrets of Strangers is a clever, eloquent, and dramatic story, it comes as highly recommended (with extra emphasis) by me.

Check out our Putting Authors in the Picture piece for May!

Liz Robinson

The Secrets of Strangers Synopsis

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London cafe - their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Another tense, multi-dimensional drama from the writer of the Richard & Judy bestseller AFTER THE FALL.

Win an Epic Crime Fiction Bundle from Orenda!

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Closing date: 30/11/2020

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The Secrets of Strangers Press Reviews

The beauty of The Secrets of Strangers is in its intricate, slowly-built story encapsulated within the fast-paced situation. Charity Norman manages to give moments of tragedy time to breathe while reminding us of the precarious position the characters are still in. This story is driven by its characters and how they can influence one another, highlighting Norman's mastery of creating strong, believable personas and her finesse for nuance. The Secrets of Strangers thrives on the unmasking of histories, motivations and character connections, so I won't reveal any twists, but it would be remiss of me not to mention the core story of gaslighting, manipulation and control. It takes a while to understand the trauma experienced by one particular character, but once their pain is fully realised it is hard not to be overwhelmed with sympathy and grief. This book was hard to put down and even harder to stop thinking about. It is truly a devastating story wrapped in heartbreak with a beautiful ending to soothe the anguish. This is one I must recommend. - Booktopia

The narrative is as tense and well-written as any Jodi Picoult drama... a terrific suspense novel - Sunday Star-Times (New Zealand)

While this certainly works as a siege thriller - much of the power comes from the slow reveal of the reasons behind the Ritalin-popping gunman's actions . . . in a genre which often celebrates style over substance this is a compelling and moving novel which should bring Norman to a whole new world of readers - New Zealand Herald

Charity Norman aces the hostage drama in The Secret of Strangers The narrative is as tense and well-written as any Jodi Picoult drama, the characters are engaging and sometimes bring you to tears, even the dogs caught up in the crisis can draw out a sympathetic reader sniffle. Norman has created a terrific suspense novel that ultimately shows how people might behave under extreme pressure and reminds us that dealing with issues as they happen can save a lot of angst if they're left to fester. -- Felicity Price - The Press (

riveting, moving and unputdownable, just like the cover said - GoodReads

Charity Norman beautifully captures the fear, and the surprising solace, to be found in a situation that has gone way beyond a person's control. In this elegantly told tale of the power of humanity to save and destroy, Charity's writing is full of compassion and compulsion. -- Caroline Bond, bestselling author of THE SECOND CHILD I've read a few books by Charity Norman and enjoyed them but I think this one is the best. . . . an extremely powerful book that is hard to put down and one I highly recommend. - GoodReads

The Secrets of Strangers binds you to its heart-wrenching story, until the tension is almost too much but you have to read on. Masterful, heartbreaking and compelling, every page is touched with darkness and hope in a moving hymn to humanity which had me in tears. Beautifully written, ingeniously crafted, if you're looking for a book that's groundbreakingly different, read this. Five stars, without a shadow of a doubt. - Erin Kinsley

A compelling and fresh premise leads to a tense, humane, and touching novel - Claire McGowan

Norman skilfully plays with our perceptions and sympathies in this tautly plotted, gripping and emotional read. -- Clare Mackintosh -

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781911630418
Publication date: 07/05/2020
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781911630418
Publication date: 7th May 2020
Author: Charity Norman
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 352 pages
Genres: Book Club Recommendations, Books of the Month, Family Drama, Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month, Star Books, Thriller / Suspense,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Thriller / suspense,

About Charity Norman

Charity Norman was born in Uganda and brought up in successive draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. After several years' travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and family law in the northeast of England. Also a mediator and telephone crisis line listener, she's passionate about the power of communication to slice through the knots. In 2002, realising that her three children had barely met her, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to New Zealand. Her first novel, Freeing Grace, was published in 2010. After the Fall was a Richard and Judy Book Club choice ...

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