The Book of Secrets
Alex Dunne has created a sense of mystery and suspense in her debut novel, The Book of Secrets. Her descriptive language paints a clear picture of the town of Clonbridge, which comes alive at night when the fairies seamlessly drift into town to prepare for a celebration which coincides with Halloween. Then, night turns to day and with daylight the reader is cast back into the human world where we are introduced to the main character, Cat.
Cat and her friends, unaware of the supernatural mischief, spend the last day of school before midterm sharing scary stories and Halloween plans, although Cat is reluctant to share her secret that she has the “sight”. When fairy magic creates mayhem for her family, Cat has to unravel riddles and save her loved ones with the help of a true friend.
Dunne’s narrative is a fast-paced quest steeped in the lore of fairies and magic, but also touches on serious themes such as death, family breakups, and the loss of adolescent friendships. She explores the tensions between traditional values and modern technology, showing the value of both within society. The pacing of the plot is sustained by a cliff hanger at the end of each chapter which forces the reader to dive into the next! The richness of Irish magic and folklore beautifully woven within the narrative adds a sense uniqueness to the novel which will particularly appeal to an Irish audience.