Dark Secrets: Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell by Elizabeth Chandler

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Dark Secrets: Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell by Elizabeth Chandler
Buy Dark Secrets: Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Dark Secrets: Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell from Amazon.com

Genre: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: This edition is comprised of two novels, Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: March 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1847388728

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Legacy of Lies

After years without seeing her grandmother, Megan receives an invitation - or perhaps a summons - to visit the old lady at her house in the town of Wisteria. Reluctantly, she goes there to please her mother, but finds out that despite the invitation, her grandmother doesn't seem happy to see her, and neither does her cute but sullen cousin Matt, who's currently living there. More worryingly, the house seems strangely familiar, because she's seen it many times in her dreams...

As she settles into Wisteria, Megan makes two new friends, Sophie and Alex, and romance develops - but there are sinister happenings, leading to arguments between her, Matt and her grandmother, and she starts to wonder who she's able to trust.

This is a quick but really enjoyable read, weighing in at about 200 pages. I thought the characters were fairly well developed given the book's length, while the mixture of action and romance moves along quickly and held my interest right the way through. Chandler's dialogue is especially enjoyable, and Megan's quick responses to criticism make her a likeable and engaging heroine.

Don't Tell

Seven years after her mother died in Wisteria, seventeen year old Lauren returns to stay with her godmother Aunt Jule, and her cousins Holly and Nora. Just like in the old days before the tragedy, Holly and Nora are friendly with Nick, whose uncle lives next door, and Lauren quickly becomes romantically interested in him. But while Jule, Holly and Nick all seem pleased to see her, Nora is clearly unstable, and Lauren becomes scared for her life as bizarre and dangerous things keep happening. She starts to doubt whether her mother's death was an accident - and if it wasn't, is she going to be next?

I was fully expecting this to be at least a slight letdown after enjoying Legacy of Lies so much, but this story was actually far superior. There's an air of menace running right through the book, and it's one of the most chilling teen novels I've ever read, particularly as various items of Lauren's start tying themselves in knots – the same thing that happened to Lauren's mother's things just before she died. The main character of Lauren is wonderful, being strong, independent, and remarkably forgiving, while the supporting cast of Jule, Nick, Holly and Nick's Uncle Frank are all brilliantly brought to life as well. Again, the dialogue is brilliant, particularly Nora's, and the ending is breathtaking, wrapping up previous plot points very impressively and providing a really satisfying climax.

While the two books were first released separately nearly a decade ago, and there's no real crossover in characters, even though they're set in the same town, this edition works beautifully as a pair of stories with similar themes and is fantastic value for money.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: For another superb paranormal collection, I highly recommend LJ Smith's Dark Visions trilogy.

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