The Secrets You Hide by Kate Helm

I read this book last week, but it gets its own post instead of being in the weekly book round-up because it was sent to me by the publisher for review. However, this is still a genuine review; I’ve given negative reviews of books I’ve received in the past, so you can trust that if I say I like a book, it means I did.

And I liked this one. 

The Secrets You Hide tells the story of Georgia, a courtroom artist who rebranded herself after a terrible childhood experience left her traumatised for life. Along with her trauma came a gift, though: she can see who is innocent and who is guilty just by looking at them, and when she paints her courtroom pictures she tries to let her subjects’ personalities seep through, secretly hoping to influence the outcomes of the trials she’s observing.

Then she’s drawn back into a case she hasn’t revisited in years: one of the first cases she drew, in fact, involving a heroic father racing into a burning building to save two children from the flames. His own son, Daniel, stood in the dock accused of starting the fire, and went to prison for his crime. But as Georgia digs deeper into what happened all those years ago, she realises that things aren’t always as clear as they appear to be, and the line between guilt and innocence is blurring more with every passing second.

Is she losing her gift? Can she still see what she’s always seen? Was she ever really able to see it?

I enjoyed this book enough to read it in a couple of sittings – I probably would have read it in one if I hadn’t been so exhausted when I picked it up. The story plays to my interest points: anything that involves childhood trauma seeping into an adult’s professional life is right up my alley in terms of a plotline. There’s a recommendation from Lisa Jewell on the front and I can see why; in some ways it did remind me of Then She Was Gone, the only book of Jewell’s I read. It had a similar creepy undertone and notes of madness running through alongside currents of uncertainty: was Georgia losing her mind, or her gift? Or both?

There were a couple of brilliant lines, including:

“I am more than a survivor. I want to live.”

The last line of the book was also brilliant, but I’ll leave that one for you to discover.

I’d recommend The Secrets You Hide if you’re looking for a quick, easy thriller to read in a weekend; it’s not the juiciest thing I’ve ever read, but it’s certainly worth picking up if you need a diversion from real life for a while.


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