My Review of “Secret” by Nia Forrester
What We Have Here…
In all good works of fiction what keeps the reader turning the pages is conflict, those things that prevent the story’s protagonist from getting what they want and thereby creating drama and interest for the reader. I think that in the Romance genre, it’s more about the author preventing the reader from getting what THEY want: that anticipated happily ever after ending. The romance
novel teases and torments as the reader wonders how the protagonists are ever going to get it together and finally get together.
In “Secret” author Nia Forrester has the teasing and tormenting down to a science. Like water boarding. Like car battery-powered electrodes attached to body parts you don’t want electrodes attached to. And it’s all because the protagonists Shayla and Trey
won’t open their mouths and talk to each other. If I were going to subtitle “Secret,” I’d used the famous line from the classic movie “Cool Hand Luke:” “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
There are reasons that Shayla and Trey, who though they live in the same house (Trey is the landlord
and Shayla is his basement apartment tenant) can’t open up to each other. They are each in their own way damaged people. And because of that damage they are both frustrating characters – frustrating to the point that if you’re like me, you often wanted to yell at Shayla, “What are you doing?” and punch Trey in his head. And then keep reading to find out what happens next.
I have to give the Shayla character a pass for her failure to speak up. She’s the one with the secret, a damaging (in more ways than one) event from her past that she’s still struggling to deal with. But my pass is a small one, because sometimes while reading I had a feeling that she enjoyed tormenting Trey by doing things to make him jealous and angry and in doing so push them farther apart. Yes, she’s going through an internal struggle that’s at the root of her actions, but she’s an intelligent woman. You can’t pull the pin on a grenade and toss it into a room, and after the big boom act like you don’t know why the room isn’t still nice and
tidy. Shayla tossed a few grenades at Trey’s manhood. But she gets that small pass because she has legitimate issues she’s struggling to overcome.
The reasons for Trey’s relationship-stunting actions were more of a puzzle and more frustrating. Trey is a player; a ladies’ man. He has an assembly line of women in and out of his home and his bedroom. Players have an easy time communicating with women. Their words are their stock in trade, the weapon they use to con the ladies and get them between the sheets. But with Shayla, Trey is about as communicative as a gagged rock. He has feelings for her that he can’t or won’t express, and for much of the tale he allows himself to linger on the sidelines while she flitters from man to man because he won’t tell her how he feels. Initially I wanted to write off Trey’s character as being unrealistic; come on, a ladies’ man who can’t talk to a lady? But by the end I’d come to the
conclusion that he suffered from stunted growth as a man. Women had always come to him without effort on his part, but they were women he didn’t care about. And so when he met a woman who got her hands around his heart, he had no experience
to use to help him communicate his feelings.
I give “Secret” five stars because it does what good fiction is supposed to do: make you want to turn the page. And if I ever need to torture someone, I’m calling on my friend Nia Forrester to act as my advisor. If you enjoy romantic drama, grab a copy of
Buy Secret and other book by Nia Forrester here.