Rebecca Thornton: Your Guilty Secret
Published By: Bonnier Zaffre
Buy It: here
What The Blurb Says:
You know Lara King.
The top billing of the showbiz pages, you’ve seen her every morning; over your breakfast, on your commute to work. You know everything about her; you’ve dissected her life.
Her perfect relationship with film-star Matthew Raine. Her beautiful six-year old daughter Ava.
And so when a terrible incident shatters the family’s carefully constructed facade, a media frenzy ensues.
What happens when the perfect woman begins to unravel? When her whole life is really just a lie? One she will do anything she can to stop you from finding out?
What I Say:
Before I posted the picture of Your Guilty Secret to my social media feeds, I took a photo of the novel on some gorgeous fabric I found, used portrait mode, and then went through all the filters on Instagram until I found the one I wanted. Finally when I was happy with how it looked, I posted it and tagged it with all hashtags I could to make sure as many people as possible saw it.
Today’s world is one presented through an Insta-perfect lense, tweaked and refined until we feel comfortable hitting the ‘post’ button. I did all that just to show you all one picture of a novel I was going to read. Lara King, the protagonist of Rebecca Thornton’s thought provoking and perfectly timed novel, has to go through that process for every thought, action and decision she makes.
Lara King, celebrity, mother, and soon to be fiancee of actor Matthew seems to have it all. Every one wants to be her, companies are desperate to be part of her empire, and she revels in the fact that millions of her followers are hanging on every post and tweet that comes from her perfect world. For Lara, life is all about living the dream as long as she can ensure that people online care enough about her brand.
Lara is intelligent enough to understand that her world is built on the adoration of her fans, and that the worst thing for her career would be that they lost interest in her mother and daughter posts. In an attempt to stay relevant, she realises that she has to expand her ‘brand’, which means she decides to get ‘engaged’ to Matthew. Tellingly, this is purely a calculated publicity stunt to maximise both their celebrity status. It is a massive media event, with the world press and the online community desperate to see what Lara King is going to do next. The interesting thing is that behind the scenes, as Lara attempts to control every element of the day, you can see that all is not as glossy as it seems. Lara only wants things done the way she knows will ensure she keeps getting the attention she wants.
Little by little, the reader is made aware that while what the outside world sees can be edited and filtered, in real life, there are many things which Lara cannot control however hard she tries.
One day, when Lara takes her daughter Ava for a day out, she does what many people do, and takes her eyes of her daughter for a second. Unfortunately for Lara, her daughter disappears.
From the moment the world realises that Lara’s daughter is missing, her carefully constructed world starts to come crashing down. The novel very cleverly show us how it is so easy to be built up on a sea of likes and unwavering adoration, but that people are just as willing to turn against you when you are no longer regarded as popular. Your choices are questioned, conspiracy theories abound, and Lara is desperately reliant on her steely media savvy to attempt to ensure her followers stay connected to her.
The novel is told in a dual narrative – Lara and her missing daughter, and Lara’s life before she found fame. We also see what the internet thinks of what is happening- so we can understand what the ‘normal’ people are being told alongside the narrative that Lara is controlling. What is interesting is that from the outset of her time in the spotlight, Lara has a fierce determination and an unnerving ability to ensure she reaches the top whatever the cost to those around her.
To reveal any more would give the plot away, but as Lara’s perfectly curated world descends into chaos, there are many surprising twists and revelations that will disorientate and shock you! Every sentiment of our social media obsession rings true, and we see that if one person falls from grace, there are a million more waiting to step into the limelight, desperate to be this year’s next big thing.
Your Guilty Secret by Rebecca Thornton is a clever and biting examination of the social media world we are all part of. It makes us realise that what we see is not always what we get, and that perhaps it is time for us all to step away from measuring our world in likes and followers, and instead attempt to reconnect with the real world and the people in it..
Rebecca Thornton is a journalist and runs an online advertising business. Her work has been published in Prospect magazine, the Daily Mail, the Jewish News and the Sunday People. She was acting editor of an arts and culture magazine based in Jordan, and she’s reported from Kosovo, London, and elsewhere in the Middle East. Rebecca is a graduate of the Faber Academy and The Exclusives is her first novel. She lives in London.
Thank you very much to Ellen Turner at Bonnier Zaffre for my copy in exchange for an honest review and for asking me to be part of the Blog Tour.
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6 thoughts on “Your Guilty Secret by Rebecca Thornton”
Terrifying stuff! I’m expecting to see quite a few books on this theme soon.
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I think so too- there must be such a huge amount of material for a lot of novels about this topic.. xx
I think it will be a huge genre- I think it’s something we can all relate to as well xx
I absolutely love your review of this! And, of course, your photo is perfect as well. The book sounds terrifying but now I have to read it!
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Thank you – it makes you really realise how constructed our reality today is, and I know I am guilty of it too….! Xx
Thank you. It’s a really timely novel, and chillingly relatable too unfortunately..!