Daphne met Heath and immediately felt a connection. They both had dark pasts, and neither wanted to go over them yet again with someone new. Keeping her secrets suited Daphne just fine until Heath began waking them both in the middle of the night with horrible nightmares and episodes of sleepwalking. Fearing the worst, Heath enlists himself in a couple’s therapy retreat that Daphne begrudgingly agrees to go o as well, with the caveat that she not be required to speak with the therapist herself. Something is strange at the Baskens Institute, though. Alternating between the day Daphne runs from Baskens and her stay there, you get the sense that something horrible has happened in the house and Daphne will either witness it or become victim to it.
What is Every Single Secret about?
Every Single Secret is about Daphne Amos, a young woman from Atlanta, Georgia whose childhood was traumatic. Her childhood left her with disordered eating and potentially OCD, but also a desire to share as little as possible about herself. She believes she’s met her soulmate in Heath Beck, who also seems unwilling to share his dark past when they begin dating. Now engaged, their approaching marriage seems threatened by their pasts equally and Daphne slowly begins to lose control over her previously perfect life.
This book is about the secrets that hide in Daphne and Heath’s pasts, but also speaks to how darkness is not inherently evil and where the line should be drawn.
This book is absolutely a thriller, and a psychological one to boot. Daphne tortures herself in her own mind constantly, and a lot of that also comes from the sense of something is wrong that is pervasive throughout her story at Baskens.
Tropes: Trauma trauma trauma!
Yeah so the entire book is interspersed with bits of Daphne’s childhood story, which is super traumatic. When we finally get Heath’s backstory though? Oh my god. These two characters really went through a lot, and the toll these things took on them…. Unbelievable.
Plot: A psychological maze
The plot is absolutely not what I was expecting. The set up heavily relies on Daphne as narrator and as our secret teller. The way the plot spirals around her, and her paranoia, is so interesting and definitely makes you realize something else is going on. But even I got lost in the maze of twists and secrets and didn’t wholly see the ending coming until it was right there.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Emily Carpenter’s protagonists are ones I just want to bundle up and keep safe forever! Daphne is definitely a bit on the shady side, but as her story was drawn out bit by bit my sympathy for her grew. She carries heavy burdens from her childhood in the foster system, and though she is resistant to the idea of getting help for her problems it’s clear where that mistrust comes from. She is so persistent in trying to get what she wants, and I admire her immensely. I also, as I said above, didn’t wholly see the twist coming. With the sense of foreboding that builds the entire time, I still wasn’t totally ready when the climax hit.
I am a bit worried about the twist, but find I’m not informed enough on the psychology discussed during it to judge whether any major factual errors were made or not. To avoid spoilers, let me just say that I would be very interested in hearing the opinions of someone educated in psychology and hear whether this was a plausible choice in the story.
I’m not entirely sure this was a “bad” thing so much as a thing I wasn’t a huge fan of. A lot of stuff happens during the climax of the story. Luckily, this is where the flashforwards and flashbacks ended for the story, so at least the timeline was less confused. But every time you think “okay this is where the climax ends, we’re going to find out how this wraps up” there’s something else that happens. I understand not letting everything wrap up easily but man did a lot happen in a short amount of time!
I’d say this is the darker of the two novels by Carpenter that I’ve read now, and I found that darkness incredibly interesting. Daphne may have her flaws, but as a narrator I did feel she was trustworthy in terms of seeing what was really happening. She’s so perceptive about what’s happening around her, and the flashforwards and flashbacks are absolutely great for understanding her character. I’d say this is more of a character driven book than anything else since the plot always did feel secondary to the self discovery Daphne experienced. That being said, I don’t think the book suffered for that and instead was far more interesting. The plot on its own wouldn’t have drawn me in, it was Daphne’s character that did that for me. All in all, this was a thrilling and absorbing read with a bit of a darker twist than I was expecting and I enjoyed every minute of it!