REVIEW | The Book of Living Secrets | Madeleine Roux

This was a lot more fun than I was expecting, and the Lovecraftian themes were unexpected but delightfully eerie. If you’ve ever daydreamed about falling into your favourite books, this one might make you think twice about it – things aren’t always what they seem in your favourite worlds.

Thanks to Quill Tree Books for the ARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.

Character - 7 Atmosphere - 8 Writing - 6 Plot - 6 Intrigue - 7 Logic - 6 Enjoyment - 8 Rating: 6.86 / 3 stars
Rating: 6.86 / 3 stars

About the book:

No matter how different best friends Adelle and Connie are, one thing they’ve always had in common is their love of a little-known gothic romance novel called Moira. So when the girls are tempted by a mysterious stranger to enter the world of the book, they hardly suspect it will work. But suddenly they are in the world of Moira, living among characters they’ve obsessed about for years.

Except…all is not how they remembered it. The world has been turned upside down: The lavish balls and star-crossed love affairs are now interlaced with unspeakable horrors. The girls realize that something dark is lurking behind their foray into fiction—and they will have to rewrite their own arcs if they hope to escape this nightmare with their lives.

What did I think?

I honestly enjoyed this a lot more than I expected. Mostly because it was very different to what I expected overall. I liked Adelle and Connie a lot, and their loyal ride-or-die friendship was really warming. I loved that even separated in the world of Moira, they were still best friends and insistent on coming back to each other again and again. The atmospheric setting of this book was excellent. The book in question, Moira, is a gothic romance but when Adelle and Connie enter that world it’s far more gothic than romance. I listened to the whole audiobook in basically one sitting, enjoying the way that the differences between the world they found and the story they knew were unfolded in a very creepy way.

I loved Missy – obviously, who wouldn’t love a sapphic cowgirl – and I liked that both of the girls’ romances approached characters that were half-ignored in the original Moira book. As someone who reads a lot of fanfiction, I loved the idea of exploring the hidden worlds of side characters. I think that their romances were a little rushed and there was enough happening in the overarching plot that we didn’t have a lot of time to feel their relationships develop authentically. However, I liked the way that Connie’s feelings about her sexuality were handled.

Despite the fact that this has blatant tentacles on the cover and I usually jump straight to Cthulu with no prompting, I didn’t realise that this was Lovecraft inspired. I really enjoyed that it was, though, the nightmares and use of the elder gods was done well and I think even if you didn’t know Lovecraft it would make sense to read. This made for a very eerie fantasy and I enjoyed it a lot. It wasn’t exactly a fantastically written book, there were moments where I found the prose confusing to follow and the ending came out of absolutely nowhere, but ultimately I had fun reading it and that’s clearly the most important thing for fiction.

The ending of this was so surprising I had to go find my physical copy to reread the epilogue again, and I still feel mostly ????? about it. It was a shock, but an intriguing one, and left me wondering what would have happened next.

Goodreads | Hive | Waterstones | Amazon | Book Depository
(may include affiliate links)

Release Date: 8th March 2022

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.