Thursday, September 22, 2022


Title: Secrets Between Friends

Author: Tracy Buchanan
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 253
My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Prologue begins 20 years ago, when the narrator and we witness the aftermath of a horrible crime, as the battered body of a young man is consigned to the waves. This chapter was very intriguing and reeled me into reading the rest of the story.

Liz once dreamed of being a journalist; now she is a divorced postie, delivering the mail in her hometown of Easthaven, England. Fighting a legal battle with ex-husband Scott Thomson for the custody of teenage girls, Ruby and Mia, she is constantly belittled by her wheelchair-bound mother who has always been mean to her.

Liz doesn’t need any more drama in her life. But that’s exactly what she gets when her former best friend Tamsin Lakewell, now a famous poet, returns to Lakewell Manor along with her fiancé Carl to grieve the death of her mother. The two haven’t seen each other in 20 years, not since the night Gabe Arnaud, the man they both loved, died a horrible death.

Friendless and lonely, Liz takes the opportunity to re-connect with Tamsin, but discovers, a day later, that there is another woman in the house pretending to be Tamsin. She decides to resolve the mystery. Who is Fake Tamsin, and what has she done with Tamsin? More importantly, is the secret that Liz and Tamsin have hidden over 20 years about to destroy them?


The book is written in the first person present tense PoV of Liz Barrowman, now and 20 years ago when she was only 16.

The description of Easthaven was lovely. The sense of intrigue and mystery were handled deftly. The links between the past and the present were handled smoothly. The narrative was well-paced, with details peeled off bit by bit. We never find our interest flagging. The writing was good. Here’s a sample of the prose:

Sitting with the very poison ivy that tangled its limbs around my own childhood.

There’s only so many times woodworms nibble at a piece of furniture before it begins to weaken.


The creative arts and social media play a big role here with a lot of the characters pursuing their creative side. Liz wants to be a journalist, Tamsin writes poetry, Ruby has a Tik-Tok channel called Young, Beautiful and Dead, and Gabe is a photographer and an aspiring novelist. Minor characters Imogen and Celia are social media influencers.


Liz has a good sense of humour and is sensitive. She was a flawed, all-too-human character. Her actions, guided by love for those she cared for, weren’t always sensible. Her troubles kept increasing, causing us to remain invested in her. Another positive attribute of hers is that despite having an emotionally abusive mother, she is a loving and supportive mother to her own daughters.

All this I figured out later. Initially she didn’t come across as a likeable character, with her penchant for making notes on people’s personal lives, and what appeared to be, until we got details later, snooping into people’s private correspondence.


Liz’s mother was an awful character. She constantly belittled her daughter and idolised her cheating ex-son-in-law, Scott.

The final change of heart that Scott has is unconvincing.

(I read this book on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley.) 

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