Charity Norman was born in Uganda and brought up in successive
draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. After several
years' travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and
family law. In 2002, realising that her three children had barely
met her, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to
THE SECRETS OF STRANGERS is her sixth novel.
Find Charity on Facebook at facebook.com/charitynormanauthor and on Twitter as @charitynorman1.
I love coming across a great book from an established author I
haven't read before. The plot turns around a group of strangers
whose lives will be altered forever when they are involved in a
hostage situation in a London cafe. Brilliant storytelling
kept me turning the pages. -- Nina Pottell * Prima *
A gunman takes eight customers hostage at a London cafe and, as
the situation develops, we hear the characters' stories, including
those of the gunman and police negotiator, and how their lives are
all connected. It's the well-written
characters in this fast-paced story that keep you turning the pages.
Charity Norman aces the hostage drama in The Secret of
The narrative is as tense and well-written as any Jodi Picoult drama, the characters are engaging and sometimes bring you to tears, even the dogs caught up in the crisis can draw out a sympathetic reader sniffle.
Norman has created a terrific suspense novel that ultimately shows how people might behave under extreme pressure and reminds us that dealing with issues as they happen can save a lot of angst if they're left to fester.
The beauty of The Secrets of Strangers is in its
intricate, slowly-built story encapsulated within the fast-paced
situation. Charity Norman manages to give moments of tragedy time
to breathe while reminding us of the precarious position the
characters are still in. This story is driven by its characters and
how they can influence one another, highlighting Norman's mastery
of creating strong, believable personas and her finesse for
The Secrets of Strangers thrives on the unmasking of histories, motivations and character connections, so I won't reveal any twists, but it would be remiss of me not to mention the core story of gaslighting, manipulation and control. It takes a while to understand the trauma experienced by one particular character, but once their pain is fully realised it is hard not to be overwhelmed with sympathy and grief.
This book was hard to put down and even harder to stop thinking about. It is truly a devastating story wrapped in heartbreak with a beautiful ending to soothe the anguish. This is one I must recommend.