The Secret Chord – Virginia Hale

Wow wow wow. I had to make myself stop halfway to get some sleep before going back to The Secret Chord as soon as I woke up this morning. This novel is a rollercoaster of feelings, emotions and angst and I’d happily go for more.

Tilly and Kate were schoolmates at St. Joan’s Catholic school, they were roommates and then a bit more but didn’t go very far, as Tilly was planning on becoming a nun. When they meet again twelve years after graduation as temporary teachers at their old school, Tilly is engaged to a much older man, a vicar who seems mostly interested in her as a nanny for his two young children. Kate, on the other hand, is still as in love with Tilly as she was at sixteen.

I don’t know what it is with books involving Catholic characters but I often postpone reading them (I’m not a Catholic, which might be partly why) only to find that they’re often the most intense. Reconciling religious feelings and being attracted to women makes for a great romance when it’s well done. Tilly is so naive and at the same time so willing to understand, so strong and sweet and complicated, Kate doesn’t stand a chance. My heart was breaking along with Kate’s and mended with hers as well. It could be very annoying, this back and forth Tilly is doing, but it’s so cleverly written that it’s inherently poignant.

This book is going to stay in my mind for a while, no doubt.

The Secret Chord @ Bella Books

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