I must confess that although I’ve been reading more romantic books of recent (partly in my role as reviewer) it is not a genre I’m an expert in. I’ve probably watched more movies that fall under that label than read books, but it is rare to find books, movies and TV series, whatever the subject, where there isn’t a hint of a romance, even if that’s not the main driving force of the plot.
Deadly Secrets is the first book in The Greek Isles Series that I read, so I cannot compare it to the first one in the series (Spellbound in His Arms), that I’m aware has proven very popular and it is a favourite with many romance readers. This is a romance were the setting plays a very important part in the story. I’d say it’s a secondary character. Helena, the protagonist, is a girl whose father was Greek and she spent her early childhood in Mikonos. When her father disappeared under mysterious circumstances, her mother took her to the UK with her and her links with Greece and the island were severed. But she’d always felt the pull of her birthplace and had wished to go back. Helena, who is young and impulsive, when her mother dies, makes the decision to go back to the island, despite her mother’s warning.
Helena is presented as a passionate girl, a woman of strong intuition (not always right) and a particular sensibility. She is quick to like or dislike people and her judgement is not always the best. This is a case of a story where you want to grab the protagonists by the neck and shake them. Can’t you see what’s going on? Both her and Dimitris (there’s a story about them that goes many years back, although she is not aware of it. Poor Helena has been kept in the dark about many things) are blinded by their emotions and keep making the wrong assumptions and judgements. Yes, if this were a TV show, you’d be shouting at them.
There are mysteries that are eventually resolved, likeable and very dislikeable characters, confusion and misunderstandings, danger, and magic. Although there is a touch of the paranormal, when I refer to magic I’m talking about the islands. You feel as if you were there and it’s difficult not to go straight and book a ticket when you finish reading the book.
As in many romantic stories, the characters and their life-story and circumstances were completely alien to me and I can’t say I identified with anybody (although some of the self-doubts and hesitations are easily recognisable) but that is precisely the beauty of it. It allows us to escape into a life that’s completely different and live other adventures vicariously. It’s an easy read perfect for a holiday, or for a very cold and cloudy day.