Review - CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?, Caroline Overington

Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

Commencing a blurb with a question implies that somewhere along the line the book will provide an answer. In the case of CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? "Why do some people decide to get married when everyone around them would seem to agree that marriage, at least for the two people in question is a terrifically bad idea?" didn't ever seem to be asked, let alone answered.

It is, however, the story of a car crash of a marriage, but not whether or not two people are suited. It is even the story of how one partner does or doesn't cope at the rapid mental disintegration of the other. It could be, of course, that buried somewhere in the narrative there's something being said about the nature of mental illness, and whether a partner can even hope to help when the other falls apart. It could also be saying something about whether or not Caitlin's mental illness was apparent before Lachlan and she married. If those points where there they were well disguised. Certainly there was something overt about the feeling that Lachlan sort of "fell" into marrying a woman who, on witnessing the World Trade Centre's being destroyed from his nearby flat, fell apart in her own way. It was definitely saying something about Caitlin being a very manipulative person who "tricked" Lachlan into marriage. And somewhere towards the middle of the book, it said a lot about the nature of her obsession and how far she had fallen into delusion.

There seemed, overall, to be a lot of falling going on, which could have been an interesting metaphor to explore had there not been that dreaded question. Anybody who might have questioned the marriage, only seemed to do so after the event. Alas, there was a level of madness in Lachlan's own mother which negated her opinions, and some unfortunate self-interest in others which diminished anything much they might have had to say on the subject. Had they actually said anything up front. 

The constant search for that agreement never quite managed to cover up the absolute inevitability of the entire plot, and by the end of it the question left unanswered for this reader was why ask the darn thing in the first place.

Year of Publication

How well do you really know the one you love? 

With her customary page-turning style and potent themes, this is Caroline Overington at her thought-provoking best. 

'Why do some people decide to get married when everyone around them would seem to agree that marriage, at least for the two people in question, is a terrifically bad idea?'

The year is 1999, and Lachlan Colbert - Colby - has the world at his feet. He's got a big job on Wall Street and a sleek bachelor pad in the heart of Manhattan. With money no object, he and his friends take a trip to Australia to see in the new millennium. And it's there, on a hired yacht sailing the Whitsundays, that he meets Caitlin. 

Caitlin Hourigan has got wild hair and torn shorts - and has barely ever left the small patch of Queensland where she grew up. But Colby is smitten and for Caitlin, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, a blissful future awaits - marriage, a big house, a beautiful little boy.

But nothing is ever as perfect as it seems. And for Lachlan and Caitlin the nightmare is only just beginning.

Review Review - CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?, Caroline Overington
Karen Chisholm
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Blog Currently Reading - Can You Keep a Secret? Caroline Overington
Karen Chisholm
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