ARC Review: The Book of Living Secrets by Madeleine Roux

*I was given a copy of The Book of Living Secrets in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Madeleine Roux and HarperCollins*


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 realise 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.


I was really excited to read this and honestly, I was a bit disappointed. I really wanted to love it, but I just didn’t. The premise was very interesting and I’ve always loved this type of story but it wasn’t executed as well as I’d hoped.

My heart was never really with the story it took me a very long to get into. I did start getting more invested in the story at around 60% through, but that’s definitely too late. If I wasn’t the type of person that doesn’t like to leave books unfinished, and also if I wasn’t reviewing this, I probably wouldn’t have bothered finishing it. Not that the writing was bad, it just that it wasn’t executed in the most exciting way. 

If I’m being completely honest the mystery was not gripping enough to actually hold my attention. This could be partially down to the slump I currently find myself in, but I can’t help but wonder if forcing myself to finish this made it worse. 

It was interesting that the characters were different than Adelle and Connie’s initial opinions. This leads to my next point of really liking that the romance heroine, Moira, was revealed to be flawed and unhinged. When I first wrote that note I was only about halfway through and I didn’t realise to what extent she actually was unhinged at that point. It would have made for a boring story if she was actually perfect. 

I really enjoyed the budding relationship between Connie and Missi but it developed way too late. It would have been nice to see their “relationship” bloom a little earlier to see if it would have affected the story’s events in some way.

One part I found absolutely baffling was just how well and calmly these Victorian people took the news of Connie and Adelle being from “the future”. Missi was the only character to really question it, everyone else just went along with it. I actually would have loved to have at least one of them finding out they are a book character, especially Moira. It would have been pure chaos and I would have loved it.  

This review is definitely a little all over the place and I honestly cannot tell how I feel about The Book of Living Secrets. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. I’m feeling quite neutral towards it. There were some points that were great and really interesting, but a lot of it fell flat. Which I am quite sad about. 

Maybe if I had read this at a time when I am really enjoying reading my opinions may be different, but unfortunately, that is not the case. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.


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