Sophie Kinsella is a massive name in the romantic comedy book genre: she’s sold millions of books and her lighthearted novels make for great beach reads or eBook impulse buys. I’m a sucker for a good love story, so I decided to give Sophie Kinsella’s books a second shot after I didn’t really enjoy the first one I read.
The main appeal for this book was a unique premise and the clout the author’s name carries. Can You Keep a Secret follows Emma as she strives to prove herself at a career she is pursuing to prove that she is not an embarrassment to her family. During a flight on a business trip, her plan hits incredible turbulence prompting her to spill all (yes, literally all of them) secrets to the stranger sitting next to her. In a twist, the stranger turns out to be a big-wig at the company she works for and shenanigans ensue.
Was the story line a tad bit predictable? Yes, absolutely. There was no real twists or turns, everything was pretty straight forward. You could see the ending coming a mile away, as is the case with most books of this genre. Was the ride still fun? Yes. This book is a fun, park-your-brain type of book that might not be memorable, but it’s nice while it lasts.
One thing that has been consistent in the two Sophie Kinsella books I’ve read is how terrible the lead character’s friends/family/boyfriends are. One of Emma’s roommates only qualities is that she’s selfish. Her cousin is the stereotypical mean step-sister who has everything going for her and who Emma is constantly compared to. She’s oddly malicious towards Emma, despite Emma being a lighthearted seemingly kind person.
On the topic of Emma – she seems to be the same character as Poppy (from I’ve Got Your Number), but with more career problems. She makes seemingly criminally poor choices that always make the situation she’s in ten times harder to get out of than if she had just been honest from the start. Emma gains your sympathy as she deals with her demeaning coworkers and her cousin who seems bent on replacing her in Emma’s own family, but she lost my sympathy when she doesn’t ever stand up for herself. Her lack of a backbone really drove me nuts: she put up with her cousin, she put up with her coworkers, she even put up with the man she’s dating not telling her anything.
I would recommend this book to someone who looking for a light read with a heavy dose of secondhand embarrassment. If watching characters digging themselves further and further into a hole is your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy this book. If you begrudge characters who actively make the poorest choice in every situation to the point that they seem to enjoy the consequences of their actions, I would give this one a pass.