Thursday 3 June 2021

Book Review: The Secret Path by Karen Swan

The Secret Path
Karen Swan
Every step leads me back to you
Publisher: Pan Macmillan 
Publication date: 27th April 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 416
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
At just twenty years old, Tara Tremain has everything: a trainee doctor, engaged to the man of her dreams—a passionate American biology student called Alex Carter. But just when life seems perfect, Alex betrays her in the worst way possible.

Ten years later, she's moved on, with a successful career, good friends and a man who loves her. But when she's pulled back into her wealthy family's orbit for an unmissable party in the heart of Costa Rica, she finds herself flung into crisis: a child is desperately ill and the only remedy is several days' trek into the heart of the jungle.

There's only one person who can help—but it's the man who shattered her heart a decade before. And how can she trust him, of all people?
My review
I love Karen Swan's novels; there is romance, suspense, danger, beautifully described locations and strong intelligent women. The Secret Path is no exception. 
We first meet Tara when she is twenty years old, madly in love with Alex, she is ready to throw in her medical degree to live a life of marital bliss. 
I think Karen Swan portrayed the young Tara and her friends skillfully. They were all intelligent young women but there was still a naivety about them. When Tara is betrayed by Alex she is heart broken and puts all her energy into her studies.

Fast forward ten years and Tara is a surgeon in a busy London hospital. Swan hasn't given her readers any clue to what happened during the previous ten years and I had plenty of unanswered questions. This kept me turning the pages as I was invested in what Tara was doing now but I also wanted to desperately know what happened ten years ago.

The story moves to the Costa Rican village of Puerto Viejo when Tara and friends go on a much deserved break. The evocative descriptions of the small village and its surrounds brings it all to life on the page.
Karen Swan introduces the theme of western medicine versus traditional herbal medicines that have been handed down through the generations when a small boy from the village is ill and his mother won't allow Tara to treat him as he is being treated by the local shaman. Also highlighting people's rights over their own treatment or refusal.
In a last bid to help the boy Tara agrees to trek through the jungle to find a rare plant that is believed to have healing powers. 
Through Tara's family's legacy project and move to eco tourism Swan explains the need to protect the wildlife habitats as well as the indigenous cultures, promote reforestation and reduce carbon emissions or we will lose these beautiful forests forever.

Whilst reading The Secret Path I went through a roller coaster ride of emotions. The danger was palpable and the suspense rose and fell time and time again which had me glued to the pages.

The Secret Path is a story about love, betrayal and forgiveness. It is filled with enthralling imagery and breath-holding suspense.

5 / 5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Photo credit: Goodreads
 Karen Swan is the Sunday Times top three bestselling author of twenty books and her novels sell all over the world. She writes tow books each year - one for the summer period and one for the Christmas Season. 
her books are known for their evocative locations and Karen sees travel as vital research for each story. She loves to set deep, complicated love stories within twisting plots, sometimes telling two stories in the same book.
Previously a fashion editor, she lives in Sussex with her husband, three children and two dogs.


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