The Teacher's Secret by Suzanne Leal
Things aren't always as they seem...
A small town can be a refuge, but while its secrets are held, it's hard to know who to trust and what to believe.The Teacher's Secret is a tender and compelling story of scandal, rumour and dislocation, and the search for grace and dignity in the midst of dishonour and humiliation.
In the beginning, this felt more like a collection of short stories than a novel, with only a vague connection to link them together, except for Terry, who was a constant refrain throughout.
It wasn't until I was over half way through that the various strands began to weave together to create the fabric of t the story. This isn't a criticism, because I enjoyed the way the author took her time. I also enjoyed the gentility portrayed by each character.
This book isn't the typical boy meets girl read. It was more of s snapshot of the lives of the characters and how connections are forged. And running in the background was Terry's secret.
The reveal, when it comes, is not what we assume it is going to be - I certainly didn't guess.
Slow, thoughtful, detailed - don't expect much in the way of action (I thought the author missed a dramatic trick when skipping over what happened to Rebecca), this is quite a gentle book in many ways.
My one concern was the story's resolution. I'm not quite sure how Terry's problem is resolved, because it is only alluded to in passing at the end, and I felt it detracted from the story and weakened the plot somewhat.
Due for publication on 15th may, you can get your copy here.