A child who does not know her name…
In 1903 fishermen find a wrecked boat containing a woman, who has been badly beaten, and a young girl. An ambulance is sent for, and the two survivors are taken to All Hallows, the imposing asylum, hidden deep on Dartmoor. The woman remains in a coma, but the little girl, Harriet, awakens and is taken to an attic room, far away from the noise of the asylum, and is put in the care of Nurse Emma Everdeen.
Two motherless boys banished to boarding school…
In 1993, All Hallows is now a boarding school. Following his mother’s death and his father’s hasty remarriage, Lewis Tyler is banished to Dartmoor, stripped of his fashionable clothes, shorn of his long hair, and left feeling more alone than ever. There he meets Isak, another lost soul, and whilst refurbishment of the dormitories is taking place, the boys are marooned up in the attic, in an old wing of the school.
Cries and calls from the past that can no longer be ignored…
All Hallows is a building full of memories, whispers, cries from the past. As Lewis and Isak learn more about the fate of Harriet, and Nurse Emma’s desperate fight to keep the little girl safe, it soon
becomes clear there are ghosts who are still restless.
Are they ghosts the boys hear at night in the room above, are they the unquiet souls from the asylum still caught between the walls? And can Lewis and Isak bring peace to All Hallows before the past breaks them first…
Praise for Louise Douglas
‘A brilliantly written, gripping, clever, compelling story, that I struggled to put down. The vivid descriptions, the evocative plot and the intrigue that Louise created, which had me constantly asking
questions, made it a highly enjoyable, absolute treasure of a read.’ Kim Nash on The Scarlet Dress
‘A tender, heart-breaking, page-turning read’ Rachel Hore on The House by the Sea
‘The perfect combination of page-turning thriller and deeply emotional family story. Superb.’ Nicola Cornick on The House by the Sea
‘Kept me guessing until the last few pages and the explosive ending took my breath away.’ C.L. Taylor, author of The Accident on Your Beautiful Lies
‘Beautifully written, chillingly atmospheric and utterly compelling, The Secret by the Lake is Louise Douglas at her brilliant best’ Tammy Cohen, author of The Broken
‘A master of her craft, Louise Douglas ratchets up the tension in this haunting and exquisitely written tale of buried secrets and past tragedy.’ Amanda Jennings, author of Sworn Secret
‘A clammy, atmospheric and suspenseful novel, it builds in tension all the way through to the startling final pages.’ Sunday Express, S Magazine
Louise Douglas is the bestselling and brilliantly reviewed author of 6 novels including The Love of my Life and Missing You – a RNA award winner. The Secrets Between Us was a Richard and Judy Book
Club pick. She lives in the West Country. Louise’s first book for Boldwood, The House by the Sea was published in March 2020.
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My thoughts: this was really enjoyable and clever, moving between timelines, 1903 and 1993. The terrible events the boys uncover the story of in the school library, shouldn’t have happened and they wonder if they can change them.
In 1903, nurse Emma Everdene is charged with caring with little Harriet, who’s suffered a terrible trauma, and slowly Emma coaxes the story out of the child, but it doesn’t add up with the mysterious Mrs March’s account.
In 1993, two lonely boys, Isak and Lewis become friends in the asylum turned school. They become scared and fascinated by the noises coming from the attic above their room. Finding out about Emma and Harriet, they try to find a way to save them from their terrible fates.
Slowly the two storylines converge and something magical and mysterious happens, something that changes the course of all of their lives. I was completely hooked by the plot, and really felt for Lewis and Isak – their families aren’t very warm or loving, their school is cold and still uses corporal punishment (something I’m pretty sure was illegal in 1993, I was at school then), but they’re so clever and caring boys who want to help change Emma’s terrible fate. Emma is also a hugely caring person, and far more intelligent than the men in charge think she is. She solves the case of Mrs March and Harriet a long time before anyone else. A hugely enjoyable and redemptive story.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.