The Secret Of You and Me Blog Tour // A Wonderful Retelling Which Surprised In All The Best Ways

06 August 2020


The Secret of You and Me - Melissa Lenhardt

Published: 4th August 2020

Source: Publisher

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, LGBT

My Rating: 

You always come back to your first love

Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she left home, and her broken heart, far behind her. But now tragedy calls her back, where she must finally come face to face with ex-boyfriend Charlie, and best friend Sophie. Only now will she be able to confront her past—and reconcile her future.

Sophie seems to have everything. Married to Charlie, with a wonderful daughter and a successful career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. A secret that ripped through their town and destroyed her friendship with Nora. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora’s stay is short. The life she has built depends on it.

But first love doesn’t fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites and old feelings resurface. As the forces that once tore them apart begin to re-emerge, both Nora and Sophie must accept that true love is something worth fighting for.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Let me just say this is the first review I've written for a while which I actually expect people to read so sorry if I'm all over the place but I go where the words take me! Also, this how my brain works and it is messy!

First off, this book is a Persuasion retelling! Persuasion is one of my favourite Austen novels so you just know that's a point in its favour. But this is a lesbian retelling of Persuasion about childhood best friends, Sophie and Nora, who fell in love in a small town in Texas. Best friends who had a massive falling out and then Sophie married Nora's high school boyfriend and stayed in said small town. Yeah, I know, it's a lot. It had all kinds of drama going on and that is what made it fun to read.

I had no expectations going into this. It was marketed as an LGBT romance which immediately drew me in. That's all I knew, I read the book's summary and that's it. I wasn't certain it would be a usual romance (the romance waters are getting murky with women's fiction sneaking up in there) but I am here for supporting more LGBT romances and I wondered how this book would pan out with that weird love triangle alluded to in the summary. Thankfully, this book was excellent and no, I still wouldn't call it a usual romance. I mean, the romance between the main characters, Sophie and Nora, was beautiful. They went through so much and seeing them slowly come back together and learn to trust one another was lovely, but there was a lot of there stuff happening, their romance was just part of it. I think with all the other story happening it meant the romance was brilliant but not completely the sole focus. This was about Nora discovering the secrets of her small town and coming to terms with her father's death as well as realising the importance of love and family. It was also about Sophie reconciling with the fact she was a lesbian and the damage keeping that secret has had on herself, her family, and her relationship with her daughter. It was about the two of them admitting the mistakes of their past but also accepting that their past is behind them and they have no regrets with their choices because it allowed so many good things to happen in their lives despite what they might have missed out on.

The romance between Sophie and Nora was really wonderful to read. They were meant to be together. I loved the slow discovery of everything which happened in their pasts. They had so much history together. It's sad to think they lost so much time together because of their choices, but they wouldn't have been the same people without their years apart. If they had been braver or if the world they had lived in had been more accepting they might have pursued their romance with pride but instead, they took their time, learnt who they were and missed out but there wouldn't have been a great book to read otherwise.

I really loved that the author's note said that this story happened because she had been trying to write the romance for Nora and felt like no one was deserving of her apart from Sophie and that it all grew from there. What's even better is the author asked for help and advice from the LBGTQ+ community as she is neither a lesbian or bi (Nora identifies as bisexual and there is a clear acknowledgement that attraction both sexual and romantic is a varying spectrum for bisexuals. Excellent rep on that front). So she did want to do them justice and write authentic experiences and struggles for her characters. Not only did she take the time and out the work in to give her characters more authentic voices. She knew how to write falling in love, that experience is universal, but she did want to show the impact of being closeted in a small town. And the really great part? A portion of the royalties for this book are going to the It Gets Better Charity as the author doesn't want to barrel in and take one but show support to the community and write a love story which we can enjoy and help others feel seen. How could I not want to support an author who honestly seems like they want to help too?

And the secondary characters in this! This is a small Texas town, you know the types of people you will get here, but there was more to them and they helped give this story depth. There was Kim with her daughter looking to Nora for help. There was Nora's aunt Emmadean who was a marvel. And Nora's sister and brother in law! Her sister, Mary, should have been a total bore with her complaining and hard done by act but she added some light humour to events and you couldn't help but smile a little at her antics. And Mar's husband, Jeremy? He was a saint for putting up with her but he did reveal there was another side to their relationship Nora wouldn't have been privy to. And Sophie's daughter, Logan? Yeah, she was a badass kid who you couldn't help but like.

And that is my attempt at writing a review for a book which came as a total surprise. I had no expectations and it meant I went on a lovely journey with characters I couldn't help but like. I was in small-town Texas with the gossips and the rumours, where high school really doesn't end. It was fun and sweet and really an excellent summer read.


Have any of you read this? What did you think? And please tell me any and all good Persuasion retellings you can think of, I feel I am lacking on that front.

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