Julia: I don’t know what to expect alone at this isolated manor. I’m a nanny for a 10-year-old little girl. Her father is gone. I’m not sure he even exists. Things don’t seem right. There are strange calls, and I hang up. Then, one dark, stormy night, he enters my life. I watch his strange behavior. I witness the strange relationship between him and his daughter. I watch him watch me.
One minute he’s harsh and the next he’s vulnerable. He tells me he needs me. He tells me his wife is dead. I want to believe him because I have fallen in love with him. He doesn’t know I crave him. He doesn’t know I want to touch him. He doesn’t know I’m a virgin. And…he doesn’t know I have found his secret hidden in the floor of my closet.
Jonas: She doesn’t know the murder I covered up. She doesn’t know the woman I destroyed. She doesn’t know the evil schemed I conjured to lure her to my manor. She doesn’t know I altered her fate. She doesn’t know my true intentions. She doesn’t know I watched her long before we met one dark, stormy night. She doesn’t know the man I used to be. But I do.
She doesn’t know the truth.
Follow the epic journey of Julia Ellis and Jonas Fairbanks in this breathtaking, you’ll never see it coming, three-book trilogy of The Secret Series.
Point of view:
1st person. This is a box set of three books: His Secret, Her Secret, and Secret Enemy. The first two are from Julia’s POV and the last is from Jonas’. There are a few random chapters/sections that are from secondary characters, also in 1st person.
I feel like some of this is “it’s not you, it’s me” ~ and because while I had a LOT of issues with this book, there were also parts I really liked. I think folks who enjoy the long, drawn out, angsty trilogies/series lighter on the mystery/suspense development might be better suited for this one. All 3 books for a single credit is definitely a great deal.
This is my first book by Gina A. Jones as well as my first experience with narrators Tracy Marks & Aaron Shedlock. This audiobook consists of 3 parts: His Secret, Her Secret, and Secret Enemy. The first two are from Julia’s POV and narrated by Tracy Marks, while the last is from Jonas’ POV and narrated by Aaron Shedlock.
His Secret is very slow and filled with an incredible amount of minutiae that never seems to find any relevance. While there is some mystery and suspense that I found really intriguing, it wasn’t enough to fully hold my interest or completely surprise me. There are a lot of sub-topics thrown at us that don’t remain consistent in this book (or the series as a whole): religion is sort of sprinkled in but feels like an afterthought beyond the belabored beginning and there’s a mystical element (crows, blind woman, little girl) that I would have LOVED if it were explored more. Julia as a character is confusing as an ingenue who too often displays unexplained worldliness. Unfortunately Julia jumps to a lot of unfounded conclusions that only serve to move the plot forward and left me feeling unsatisfied as a listener. It did end in a cliffhanger, but if this weren’t the complete series, I doubt I would have continued on.
In some respects, things picked up in Her Secret and I felt that some of the various plot points were achieving cohesiveness. Unfortunately, at this point ~ things also became much more predictable and Jonas was wholly unlikable as a character. Julia’s reversals of interest in him (and immediate returns of affection and forgiveness) were unsupportable as “romance” and just felt like tedious angst. Again, cliffhanger.
Secret Enemy starts with Jonas telling the listener that he knows we’ve been right to judge him harshly, but all is not as it seems. Then it’s HOURS of listening to the exact. same. scenes. from book 1. This book is the longest at nearly 15 hours. After braving through 5 hours, I just can’t anymore. I just don’t care. Yes, Jonas offers more of his POV ~ but it isn’t helping at all. Jonas doesn’t seem like any more of a redeemable character and all the things that bothered me about Julia are being repeated.
I didn’t connect with Tracy Marks as a narrator. Now whether that’s her or the character (I’m leaning heavier toward Julia), I’m not entirely sure. There were no technical issues with her performance, pronunciations, character voices, etc. For me her pacing was really slow (again, that may be “Julia” shining through), but that’s often a personal preference. I’d be willing to try her again as another character, but I wasn’t wow-ed by anything here.
Aaron Shedlock’s sexy voice was probably the only reason I made it through as much of Secret Enemy as I did. He had some pronunciations that were unusual to me but it’s possible it’s regional differences. I’d definitely be willing to listen to him again.
Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers):
Kidnapping of children. Murder of a teenager. Mental illness.
I received a free copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review.