Book Thoughts – Subtle

I finished reading a book called ‘The Secret Wife’ by Gill Paul a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t want to write anything about it right away because I wasn’t sure what I thought in the end.

At first I was intrigued.

This story was about the Romanov family, before and after the tragic brutal murders, and the sparking romance between Tatiana and Malama. As well as running parallel with a modern narrative about a woman called Kitty that fled from a cheating husband.

A reader that has no idea on the Russian history I was interested in this story. I mean the only knowledge I have on the Romanov family was picked up roughly from the Anastasia cartoon film. Even I know that that isn’t real. So, it can be assumed I know absolutely nothing.

Well obviously this book is not a history book. It’s a piece of fiction so please don’t take this story as gospel as to what actually happened to the Russian Royal Family. However, according to the writer in her acknowledgements she did research before writing this story. So, I’d imagine some details could be true.

Returning to my original point, I went into this interested, I like the idea of a sparking romance and a secret relation in someway to Romanov bloodline in a story. This theory, on the other hand, did not happen. This story surprised me in the outcome but maybe not in an all positive manner.

The writing itself was impeccable. There wasn’t a moment that lost me. I knew exactly what was happening every word in. Very descriptive, emotional, and dramatic. There were scenes of war, gruesome deaths, and passionate love.

I have one word to describe this book and I can say you probably won’t guess unless you have read it and agree with me.


Everything is and was subtle in this story. From the first page to the last final moment. The author was subtle. Subtle foreshadowing. Or Subtle hints as to what is going on. Awful things happen and yet no real satisfactory result came from it. Scenes that should have been exciting and emotionally impactful were left feeling prolonged and overstretched.

In a typical story outline the middle would dip into a low dark place. Sort of like a line on a graph. Then that line will plateau for maybe a couple of chapters then will suddenly spike up towards the end. This book didn’t feel like it did that. Once rock bottom was hit, rock bottom was all that was left. Things just felt worse, and worse the more it carried on. Like it should have ended a lot sooner. I understand that the character was suffering from PTSD and depression. But even the second main character’s story was nothing but subtle. But the time I hit the middle of the book, I just wanted it to end. I couldn’t just leave it. And this wasn’t a bad read by any stretch. But just not for me.

I will say that this book did come with a huge moral to the story kind of message. Communication is key in any kind of relationship. Family, friends, or partners. That message was perfectly clear at the end.

Overall, the book was a good read, but not something I would have chosen for myself.