It's been ten years since Lauren's mother died in tragic circumstances on summer vacation in Wisteria. Ten years since Lauren found her Aunt Jule scrubbing away her mother's blood. Returning at last for a visit, she finds herself reliving the nightmare of her mother's last days - and embarking on a new one of her own...
Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell are the first two books in Elizabeth Chandler's Dark Secrets sequence, originally published nearly a decade ago. Although they're quite separate stories, they are linked by their setting - the mysterious coastal town of Wisteria, Maryland. They're also both twisty, modern gothic tales about plucky MCs faced with skeletons in the family cupboard... and irresistibly good looking love interests.
When I began to read the first story, something strange happened. I fell under a spell. I needed to uncover the story's secret. One thirty minute journey later, and I couldn't bear to put the book away. These novels are page-turners, pure and simple - they draw you in with their tantalizing mysteries, they hook you, and they don't let you go until you've devoured every page.
Individually, Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell are both quick, easy reads. Although they're short compared to many YA titles - weighing in at around 200 pages each - they're every bit as satisfying as lengthier novels in the same genre. They're a seamless blend of romance, mystery and the supernatural - and Elizabeth Chandler makes every page count.
As they're around a decade old, the two stories in this volume do feel a little dated in places. However, if anything this seems to add to their allure. There's an almost nostalgic feel to them, especially in the characterisation: the female protagonists are both of the beautiful-but-don't-know-it variety, and they go for those handsome and aloof boys in a big way. Don't get me wrong, both Megan and Lauren are skilled in sparring and give as good as they get... but they're not above noticing their sparring partner's chiselled good looks. And who can blame them, right?
If you like intoxicatingly romantic fiction with huge helpings of intrigue, Dark Secrets is the series for you. These books are gripping, impossible to put down, and seriously entertaining. I loved this volume, and I know I'll be coming right back for more when Dark Secrets 2 hits the shelves later this year. Great stuff.
Out: 4th March 2010, UK / 4th August 2009, US
Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK for sending me a review copy of this book.