“It was the truth that seemed to catch me out. Lies, I managed with fluency.”
The Secretary is about a woman named Christine Butcher who was hired to work as a personal assistant for Mina Appleton – the head of an ethical supermarket chain.
The plot is told from Christine’s perspective, through which we get to see the relationship sinisterly develop between her and Mina. It becomes obvious that our protagonist isn’t in safe territory, that she only fell victim to her boss’ manipulative conduct.
The 1st half of the book features the relationship between Christine and her employer Mina – the women at the heart of the story, and how the latter represents an unhealthy influence on our protagonist, who is oblivious of the danger that her employer represents.
The 2nd half is divided into a courtroom drama, and the aftermath of Christine’s coming to terms with the world she was actually living in, and how it led her to end up in her current ordeal.
I felt so invested in Christine’s character, possibly because of the elusiveness that seems to characterize her. She is loyal to her employer, she knows all the jaw-dropping secrets that Mina confides in her, and she will sacrifice everything in order to keep them.
The writing is almost hypnotizing; it grips you wholly and doesn’t let go.
There’s a major plus to Christine’s character; as we get to see the way she thinks and acts, all of this is attempted to be justified in a way where we’re taken back to her childhood so that we witness the traumatizing events that happened to her during that time of her life.
However, the nature-vs-nurture aspect wasn’t quite thoroughly explained when it came to the main heroines, and I was longing for that during the whole book because I especially needed to understand Christine’s behavior. Why does she act/feel the way that she does in the present day?
Other than that, I loved this book, and I think the ending was incredible, unpredictable and clever!
***Thank you to Harperbooks and edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***