Something Only We Know by Kate Long


Title - Something Only We Know
Author - Kate Long
Publication Date - August 13th 2015
Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK
Format - (Provided via author)
Pages - 448

Sometimes a secret is too big to hide...

Jen is a trainee journalist working on Chester's local paper, dreaming of something bigger. Her sister, Helen, is beautiful but damaged, and hides a secret that has affected the whole family, one they cannot escape but one she is trying to move on from.

As Helen learns to become a whole person once again, her family struggles with the past, and how they will move forward together. And Jen realises that the one person she needs to help her through is the one person she cannot have - Helen's boyfriend, Ned...

Something Only We Know by Kate Long was a somewhat unsettling read, raw with reality and thick with emotion. Bringing anorexia into focus and slicing open the dynamics of family and friendship, at times I found this novel hard to read, but at the same time, utterly compelling. The plot drew me in like bee to bud and I became absolutely swamped in the unravelling of this story...

Within Something Only We Know, Kate Long introduces readers to Jen and Helen, sisters who have lived side by side but both tripped down different paths of circumstance. Being a big family girl myself, the focus on sisters appealed to me because I'm always interested to see how different or alike sisters can be, how distant or close they can become. The author achieved such a brilliant contrast between Jen and Helen, and it was made immediately evident in the very first chapter of the novel, during Jen's birthday meal at the pub. As soon as I began reading, just from the tone of Jen's first person narrative, I was aware of an intruder of sorts, hiding in the shadows, watching the family's every move. Kate Long created such a tense and solid atmosphere to begin her novel with, and it truly set the tone for the remainder of the novel for me. It was interesting to see the way in which the beautiful Helen would commandeer any given situation, without even meaning to sometimes, and I found her character and personality so incredibly interesting to study as I read. It was almost as if people would tiptoe around Helen, but as her and Jen's past began to become clear, I was able to understand why. 

Kate Long presented her characters to me beautifully. Helen and Jen were so different in so many ways which only added to this invisible forcefield that I felt Helen had structured around herself. There were moments of tenderness between the sisters that seemed to take Jen by surprise almost as much as they did me, but I adored these moments. At times, I could feel myself growing frustrated because, despite this novel being told with only Jen's narrative, Helen was a constant presence throughout. Her history, her personality, even her appearance seemed to stop time. I found Kate's descriptions to be overwhelming in a way, yet I can't deny she hit the nail on the head in terms of providing me an insight into the topics which arose. It felt dark at times, suffocating almost, yet I was itching to continue, to see where the author would lead me next.

Alongside the thread of Jen's progress in her career at Chester's local paper, issues with her partner Owen and surprising circumstances with follow, we're invited into the deepest depths of Jen and Helen's family, where more secrets are hidden. Kate Long took me on a very twisting, turning journey, full of bumps and dips in the road that I had no idea were coming. It was surprising, but in a very good way for a novel this full of grief and trepidation. Each character intrigued me and I found their different reactions towards Helen interesting, as those reactions told me more about them themselves than Helen and her past. Kate tackled these incredibly sensitive subjects with knowledge and care, raising awareness and at the same time, using Helen's characteristics to shine a spotlight on the other issues which cropped up within the plot. There was so much for me to sink my teeth into as a reader, so much to keep me turning those pages. Kate's dissection of Jen's family, as well as her relationship with Owen and Helen was fascinating to say the least and it provided me with an insane amount of food for thought once I'd finished. 

Overall, Something Only We Know by Kate Long was a fantastically written novel, throwing up all sorts of questions and leaving me longing for the answers, which the author thankfully provided me with. I'd say it was a complete pleasure to read, but the topics addressed were nowhere near being of the light-hearted, cheery kind. It was a novel which had been worked at furiously, and that shone through in Kate Long's style and effortless flowing of pace. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, a teaching within itself. This is receiving the highest rating from me, five out of five cupcakes no less. I'd also like to say a huge thank you to the author for getting in touch with me via Becca's Books in regards to reading and reviewing her novel. Thank you, Kate.






     




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