The Secretary
Renée Knight follows up her international sensation Disclaimer with this shivery tale of psychological suspense, featuring a character as disturbing and compelling as Mrs. Danvers in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.From her first day as Personal Assistant to the celebrated Mina Appleton, Christine Butcher understands what is expected of her. Absolute loyalty. Absolute discretion. For twenty years, Christine has been a most devoted servant, a silent witness to everything in Mina’s life. So quiet, you would hardly know she is there.Day after day, year after year, Christine has been there, invisible—watching, listening, absorbing all the secrets floating around her. Keeping them safe.Christine is trusted. But those years of loyalty and discretion come with a high price. And eventually Christina will pay.Yet, it would be a mistake to underestimate such a steadfast woman. Because as everyone is about to discover, there’s a dangerous line between obedience and obsession.

The Secretary Details

TitleThe Secretary
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 12th, 2019
PublisherHarper
ISBN-139780062362353
Rating
GenreMystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Mystery Thriller

The Secretary Review

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    Surprisingly unexpected!Christina Butcher is THE Mina Appleton’s personal assistant. Along with that comes high expectations. Complete loyalty. No slip-ups. Christina has been in this position for over twenty years, and she has it down to a science. She’s also absorbed every single secret Mina has. And Mina knows this. Christina may have been loyal, but she’s too big of a risk to keep around.At the same time, no one knows what Christina is capable of when she’s backed into a corner. The Secretar Surprisingly unexpected!Christina Butcher is THE Mina Appleton’s personal assistant. Along with that comes high expectations. Complete loyalty. No slip-ups. Christina has been in this position for over twenty years, and she has it down to a science. She’s also absorbed every single secret Mina has. And Mina knows this. Christina may have been loyal, but she’s too big of a risk to keep around.At the same time, no one knows what Christina is capable of when she’s backed into a corner. The Secretary is a slow burn, and I LOVED that about it. It is equal parts psychological thriller and courtroom drama. Everything about this felt real. The tension builds and builds, and bam! That ending! Why have I not read this author before? The Secretary is a refreshing take on the a character so disturbing you can’t stop cringing. Your mind will spin, and you won’t be able to put this book down. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
    more
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    "Being a secretary back then was, it seems, not so different to now. That ability to make oneself invisible. It is astounding the number of conversations carried on in front of us, as if we don't exist. The silent witness is a role I'm quite used to. Watching, listening - as quiet as a mouse, at the heart of events - my loyalty and discretion never in question. And yet, loyalty and direction are qualities for which I have paid a heavy price." This is the story of Christine Butcher, an average w "Being a secretary back then was, it seems, not so different to now. That ability to make oneself invisible. It is astounding the number of conversations carried on in front of us, as if we don't exist. The silent witness is a role I'm quite used to. Watching, listening - as quiet as a mouse, at the heart of events - my loyalty and discretion never in question. And yet, loyalty and direction are qualities for which I have paid a heavy price." This is the story of Christine Butcher, an average wife and mother, who accepts the position of personal assistant to Mina Appleton. After 18 long years of service, loyalty, and absolute discretion it appears secrets are about to spill. When the celebrated Mina is accused of partaking in some unethical business transactions in order to profit for herself Christine has to ask herself how far she is willing to go to protect Mina. Part psychological thriller part court room drama and totally entertaining. I'll admit that it is a slow burn of a book but I find Renee Knights writing so engaging that it didn't take away from this novel. I had no idea before reading this how cutthroat the supermarket industry is. Another point goes to the author for writing a realistic thriller one where suspension of disbelief is not required. You know all the while that the story is leading up to something big and Renee Knight does not disappoint. The last quarter of this book had me glued to the pages. I thought the ending was bloody brilliant! 4 stars! Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
    more
  • sue
    January 1, 1970
    Yet another book I’ve read by this author (the first being Disclaimer) which I thoroughly enjoyed.This one is much darker and much tenser. It is a slow burner of sorts but I’ve read worse. It’s easy to follow and what keeps you going is that you know something is going somewhere quite nasty or a boom bang coming! The Secretary and the role of Secretary has to be loyal and be able to keep things to yourself and much more than that at times. Sometimes you need to hide things, distract from informa Yet another book I’ve read by this author (the first being Disclaimer) which I thoroughly enjoyed.This one is much darker and much tenser. It is a slow burner of sorts but I’ve read worse. It’s easy to follow and what keeps you going is that you know something is going somewhere quite nasty or a boom bang coming! The Secretary and the role of Secretary has to be loyal and be able to keep things to yourself and much more than that at times. Sometimes you need to hide things, distract from information and say your boss is out or in a meeting when he/she is sat right in your vision, and much more.So on the basis of a job description I was looking forward to reading this having had a job like this myself in my lifetime. This is part psychological thriller and court room drama which I personally found very interesting.How this played out kept my interest.When Christine started working as a secretary to Mina it was somewhat creepy to me. Mina seemed creepy with the way she befriends Christine and the start of The secretarial relationship between them.When Mina becomes more demanding on Christine’s time it starts to disrupt her family and her family time. Then unethical procedures come to light earning more profit for Minas business. SecretsLiesWronged loyalties And a very dangerous line has now been drawn.I really loved this and enjoy this authors writing. I will certainly be eager for her next book.The ending though seemed a little bit too convenient to me.Well worth your time to read it.This was one of my anticipated books this year.
    more
  • Umut Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    I can describe this book as a really chatty mystery. It's told from one person's perspective, which is 'The Secretary', and whole book is her telling the events that lead to the end of this book. Christine is a secretary and starts to work for Mina, in her own family business. Mina is one of those very ambitious women, who thinks the world should revolve around her. Very manipulative, cold-hearted and she can do anything to reach what she wants. Christine is happily married with a daughter. She I can describe this book as a really chatty mystery. It's told from one person's perspective, which is 'The Secretary', and whole book is her telling the events that lead to the end of this book. Christine is a secretary and starts to work for Mina, in her own family business. Mina is one of those very ambitious women, who thinks the world should revolve around her. Very manipulative, cold-hearted and she can do anything to reach what she wants. Christine is happily married with a daughter. She becomes the personal assistant of Mina, and this changes her life in years. The book opens with Christine, who moved to a different location, and she starts to tell the story from the beginning. We don't know why she's telling, what she's going to do as a result of these. There lies the mystery. The rest of the book, till the very end is kind of a diary of Christine telling herself how their relationship with Mina progressed and how she became attached to her even a partner in crime. In my opinion this part was very long, very dialogue based. I had to skim read some parts. That's why I would recommend you this book if only you like books that are in diary style, where events progress very slowly. I gave this book 3 stars for 2 main reasons:1. It was too long for what it was definitely.2. I really don't think the writer developed the characters enough for us to believe and understand why they are who they are. You don't become a 'Mina' type out of the blue. Or even more so, what was Christine's motivation when she had a perfectly normal childhood and a happy current marriage. It didn't make sense and this was lacking. Other than that, I think the writer made a very good research. The writing was decent. But, I wish it was better paced, and more thrilling. Thanks a lot to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Frank Phillips
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars for this one. Think, The Devil Wears Prada with a very dark, demented twist to it!!This was a VERY addictive thrilling read. It felt like 100 pages, I couldn't put it down. I will say I wish the ending had turned out differently, but altogether this was a great devious gem of a thriller, and I would recommend it to all fans of phychological suspense novels.
    more
  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    The Secretary by Renée Knight was an excellent thriller.Christine starts working as a secretary for Mina who is running her family business with her father. Mina becomes more demanding on Christine's time and this takes its toll on her family life as she is working longer hours and weekends and has to attend to Mina's every whim. Her job becomes the main focus and this has unfortunate consequences.I really enjoyed this book it was a real page turner.Thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK, Tr The Secretary by Renée Knight was an excellent thriller.Christine starts working as a secretary for Mina who is running her family business with her father. Mina becomes more demanding on Christine's time and this takes its toll on her family life as she is working longer hours and weekends and has to attend to Mina's every whim. Her job becomes the main focus and this has unfortunate consequences.I really enjoyed this book it was a real page turner.Thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    The Secretary, Ms Knight's second novel, is a tale of sacrifice, power, betrayal, obsession, loyalty, revenge and office politics with acute observations that set it apart from similar books. The writing is scalpel sharp, but this is slow burn suspense so anyone expecting fast-paced shenanigans might want to look elsewhere. With superb characterisation and a riveting plot, this is a great read. It's a cleverly written, entertaining and exciting tale which somewhat reflects the dog-eat-dog nature The Secretary, Ms Knight's second novel, is a tale of sacrifice, power, betrayal, obsession, loyalty, revenge and office politics with acute observations that set it apart from similar books. The writing is scalpel sharp, but this is slow burn suspense so anyone expecting fast-paced shenanigans might want to look elsewhere. With superb characterisation and a riveting plot, this is a great read. It's a cleverly written, entertaining and exciting tale which somewhat reflects the dog-eat-dog nature of Christine's environment. There is a slightly sinister undertone running for the duration of the story, and you never knew quite what was going to occur next.Although the two main characters, Mina and Christine, are not particularly likeable individuals I felt their personalities worked well. They were constantly rubbing each other up the wrong way and the manipulation of Christine created sizzling suspense. That said, I do feel as though it could've benefited from being shorter in length which would have tightened it up a little, and some of the plot became far-fetched, but overall, this didn't detract from the captivating story. I look forward to picking up Knight's next novel and hope it will be just as interesting as this was.Many thanks to Doubleday for an ARC.
    more
  • Mandy White
    January 1, 1970
    The Secretary by Renee Knight was a bit of a slow burn, taking a while before much really happened. But when it did my goodness it really did. There is a lot of build up of the main characters which all comes into it in the second half of the book so it is worth sticking with it. I am still not entirely sure how I feel about the ending though... maybe it was too easy to end it that way?Christine Butcher is a secretary working for Mina Appleton for 18 years. The 2 women are the complete opposite The Secretary by Renee Knight was a bit of a slow burn, taking a while before much really happened. But when it did my goodness it really did. There is a lot of build up of the main characters which all comes into it in the second half of the book so it is worth sticking with it. I am still not entirely sure how I feel about the ending though... maybe it was too easy to end it that way?Christine Butcher is a secretary working for Mina Appleton for 18 years. The 2 women are the complete opposite of each other. Christine is the quiet, constant, wanting to please Mina in anyway. But how far will she go to protect her boss? She works long hours, often at the expense of her personal life. Mina on the other hand is a manipulative, power and money hungry women who will stop at nothing for success. The story jumps from the present to the past in alternative chapters, telling the story of these 2 women.Thanks to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and Doubleday for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.
    more
  • Reading.Between.Wines
    January 1, 1970
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5The Secretary by Renée Knight might be on the slower side for some, but I was confused from the very beginning and it was great! What it's about: Christine Butcher has been Mina Appleton's secretary for over 18 years when Mina is accused of perverting justice and unlawful practice regarding the running of the family business, Appleton's supermarkets. Christine has been keeping Mina's secrets for years, and silently watching everything she does, but not always seeing Mina for what she is. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5The Secretary by Renée Knight might be on the slower side for some, but I was confused from the very beginning and it was great! What it's about: Christine Butcher has been Mina Appleton's secretary for over 18 years when Mina is accused of perverting justice and unlawful practice regarding the running of the family business, Appleton's supermarkets. Christine has been keeping Mina's secrets for years, and silently watching everything she does, but not always seeing Mina for what she is. Once the court case comes to a close though, that will all be about to change....The Secretary is told almost like a story, from Christine's perspective, and there isn't a whole lot of dialog between characters. You are inside her head the entire time and seeing everything from her eyes. This book is truly FULL of unlikable characters, and I was hard pressed to find anyone I really liked all that much. Mina is awful, and Christine is a doormat, until she's not. I am having a hard time categorizing this novel as a mystery, thriller, suspense, etc. There is a court case which had a procedural aspect, but overall I guess I would call this a psychological thriller since we are inside the head of Christine the entire time. Some people also said the end was either too crazy, or it was so crazy that it made the book, but I kinda saw what was coming. I liked the way Knight decided to end the novel, and I think it was a perfect fit for our character.Final Thought: While I definitely wouldn't recommend this book to everyone, I think a lot of people would like it. If you like a novel that's on the slower side with some courtroom drama, this is for you! While I didn't think it was especially slow personally, I can see how many would think it is. So my warning to you is be prepared for a slower book and you will be just fine. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
    more
  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I’m completely torn about my feelings on this one, on one hand it was a quick, addictive read that I flew through quickly. But on the other hand, it was just so damn weird that I’m not even sure I can explain it to you, but I’ll try!This is told entirely from the POV of the secretary, Christine and focuses solely on her relationship with her boss, Mina. There is very little dialogue, it’s more of one long stream of Christine’s inner monologue with occasional conversations. It was just an odd set I’m completely torn about my feelings on this one, on one hand it was a quick, addictive read that I flew through quickly. But on the other hand, it was just so damn weird that I’m not even sure I can explain it to you, but I’ll try!This is told entirely from the POV of the secretary, Christine and focuses solely on her relationship with her boss, Mina. There is very little dialogue, it’s more of one long stream of Christine’s inner monologue with occasional conversations. It was just an odd setup, but I didn’t hate it and I kept reading so the author did something right. Parts of it also felt a bit tedious too, there was a lot of mundane recalls of memories as Christine tells the story of how she began working for Mina eighteen years ago, but somehow I knew that this would all lead up to something big.In the end, as much as I knew something was going to happen, otherwise why all of history, right? But I had zero idea as to what that would be. Let me tell you, it wasn’t anything I would’ve ever come up with on my own. It was a little off the rails and out there, extreme to the max. I still don’t know if it worked for me or not?! It’s memorable for sure though. I know this is an extremely wishy washy and probably entirely unhelpful review, but this was just a peculiar read for me. I can’t say I loved or hated it, so I can’t fully recommend it either.Overall rating: 3/5 (I debated doing a 2.5, but I did cruise through it and she is a good writer so…)
    more
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    This story is about Christine Butcher who surrenders her family in her support of Mina Appleton, a business woman and local celebrity/television personality. What she fails to realize is that her devotion for Mina may not be reciprocated. While Christine is everything one looks for in a Secretary—discrete and loyal—she ultimately shows herself as a woman not to be crossed.  Love and loyalty sometimes  come at a cost, does it not?I’m perplexed with my feeling on this one. This read like the diary This story is about Christine Butcher who surrenders her family in her support of Mina Appleton, a business woman and local celebrity/television personality. What she fails to realize is that her devotion for Mina may not be reciprocated. While Christine is everything one looks for in a Secretary—discrete and loyal—she ultimately shows herself as a woman not to be crossed.  Love and loyalty sometimes  come at a cost, does it not?I’m perplexed with my feeling on this one. This read like the diary pages of Christine, not in the literal sense... that's just the vibe I got reading this from her perspective. I had a strong dislike for the two main characters. I found Mina to be an entitled brat and Christine to be a very disturbed woman. This greatly added to the difficulty I experienced in my desire to pick this book up long after I had put it down. The first half of this novel left me with a large lack of enthusiasm to press on. Although the first half of this novel came very slow, I was very pleased when it picked up in the second half with an arrested and trial—roughly 50% in—peaking my interest heavily. Truth be told I’m a sucker for courtroom suspense, which is no surprise given my chosen profession—paralegal, by the way. “SELF-CONTROL IS VITAL IN MY WORK, AND I WOULD ADVISE ANYONE THINKING OF ENTERING MY PROFESSION TO BEAR THAT IN MIND. THERE ARE MANY OCCASIONS WHEN ONE IS REQUIRED TO HOLD ONE’S TONGUE.” I flew by every page that offer testimony regarding the legal implications which Mina was alleged to be facing. But wait, the buildup in suspense did not stop there! At the conclusion of the trial, I was just as obsessed with finding out what Christine’s next move would be as she was with Mina. Renée Knight does not disappoint with the action-packed drama all the way to the end and the twist I missed from page one. I won’t give anything away but when you start figuring out what exactly is going on in Christine’s head, this book becomes a real gem. And can we talk about that ending? It came by complete surprise and will definitely stay with you long after. Overall, I’m glad I didn’t give up on this read.Many thanks to Harper and Renée Knight for gifting me finished copy of this novel.
    more
  • Tracy Shephard
    January 1, 1970
    This is a whopper of a tale..The loyalty between employer and employee is one that works both ways, and in this tale we see how the relationship between Mina and Christine shifts and changes and ultimately shows just who is in charge.Mina has inherited Appleton's from her late father but her way of doing things is powered by money and success rather than fairness and friendship.Christine is a experienced and loyal secretary, she knows all Mina's secrets and has even covered up a few misdemeanors This is a whopper of a tale..The loyalty between employer and employee is one that works both ways, and in this tale we see how the relationship between Mina and Christine shifts and changes and ultimately shows just who is in charge.Mina has inherited Appleton's from her late father but her way of doing things is powered by money and success rather than fairness and friendship.Christine is a experienced and loyal secretary, she knows all Mina's secrets and has even covered up a few misdemeanors for her.Renee Knight is a terrific storyteller. This novel has an explosive plot. Twisty and clever it is a gripping and riveting read. I loved the first book Disclaimer, and while this is a slower paced read it is a worthy successor. I was hooked. Filled with drama, it is a creepy and suspenseful novel. The cast of characters are just amazing and as the story unfolded I found myself wide eyed at the lies, the deception and most of the fabulous finale. $4*/5 
    more
  • Miriam Smith
    January 1, 1970
    "The Secretary" is Renee Knight's second novel and after reading and enjoying "Disclaimer", I was particularly looking forward to reading this part court room drama part psychological thriller.Although rather a slow burn due to there not being much dialogue and told through Christine Butcher- the secretary's recollections and present day events, I did enjoy reading this contemporary thriller and was actually quite addicted to it. Having been a secretary/PA myself during my working career I could "The Secretary" is Renee Knight's second novel and after reading and enjoying "Disclaimer", I was particularly looking forward to reading this part court room drama part psychological thriller.Although rather a slow burn due to there not being much dialogue and told through Christine Butcher- the secretary's recollections and present day events, I did enjoy reading this contemporary thriller and was actually quite addicted to it. Having been a secretary/PA myself during my working career I could relate to a lot of what Christine was expected to do and can imagine her being privy to a lot of sensitive and confidential information would make her feel very important and indispensable. Christine is utterly loyal and devoted to her work and employer. When being at the beck and call of the famous Mina Appleton (owner of Appleton Supermarkets) 24/7 disrupts her private life, she ends up losing her family. However, when she starts to realise she's no more than a cog in Mina's ambitious wheel, how far will she take her loyalty and revenge.......Christine and Mina both are very unlikeable but that's what makes the story so good, not knowing who is the most reliable witness. Christine has little or no backbone in standing up to Mina and Mina herself is a selfish and arrogant woman working in the cut throat world of supermarket ownership. The ending was a little predictable as the story developed but it did fit the conclusion of the story well and although I suspect this thriller won't be for every one since it is such a slow burn, it will still be well received by the psychological thriller reading audience and I'd happily recommend it to them. 4 stars
    more
  • Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for a free copy of this book for review. This book was an intriguing psychological drama. The story is told by Christine who becomes Mina’s personal assistant. She stays in her employ for 20 years with Mina making more and more demands. Christine does her job in a quiet, efficient, unobtrusive way and since she works so closely with Mina she is also aware of many of her secrets. Christine is so involved with her job that she loses her marriage and daughter in t Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for a free copy of this book for review. This book was an intriguing psychological drama. The story is told by Christine who becomes Mina’s personal assistant. She stays in her employ for 20 years with Mina making more and more demands. Christine does her job in a quiet, efficient, unobtrusive way and since she works so closely with Mina she is also aware of many of her secrets. Christine is so involved with her job that she loses her marriage and daughter in the process. This gives her even more free time to be at Mina’s side and to meet her increasing and endless demands. Mina runs into legal trouble through her work dealings and Christine gets drag into the legal case too. With the thought that she could go to jail Christine has to make some decisions about her own life. This book was a great character driven story. The characters were interesting and I enjoyed my time with them.
    more
  • Ludwig
    January 1, 1970
    "It was the truth that seemed to catch me out. Lies, I managed with fluency."The Secretary is about a woman named Christine Butcher who was hired to work as a personal assistant for Mina Appleton - the head of an ethical supermarket chain.The plot is told from Christine's perspective, through which we get to see the relationship sinisterly develop between her and Mina. It becomes obvious that our protagonist isn't in safe territory, that she only fell victim to her boss' manipulative conduct.The "It was the truth that seemed to catch me out. Lies, I managed with fluency."The Secretary is about a woman named Christine Butcher who was hired to work as a personal assistant for Mina Appleton - the head of an ethical supermarket chain.The plot is told from Christine's perspective, through which we get to see the relationship sinisterly develop between her and Mina. It becomes obvious that our protagonist isn't in safe territory, that she only fell victim to her boss' manipulative conduct.The 1st half of the book features the relationship between Christine and her employer Mina - the women at the heart of the story, and how the latter represents an unhealthy influence on our protagonist, who is oblivious of the danger that her employer represents.The 2nd half is divided into a courtroom drama, and the aftermath of Christine's coming to terms with the world she was actually living in, and how it led her to end up in her current ordeal.I felt so invested in Christine's character, possibly because of the elusiveness that seems to characterize her. She is loyal to her employer, she knows all the jaw-dropping secrets that Mina confides in her, and she will sacrifice everything in order to keep them. The writing is almost hypnotizing; it grips you wholly and doesn't let go.There's a major plus to Christine's character; as we get to see the way she thinks and acts, all of this is attempted to be justified in a way where we're taken back to her childhood so that we witness the traumatizing events that happened to her during that time of her life. However, the nature-vs-nurture aspect wasn't quite thoroughly explained when it came to the main heroines, and I was longing for that during the whole book because I especially needed to understand Christine's behavior. Why does she act/feel the way that she does in the present day?Other than that, I loved this book, and I think the ending was incredible, unpredictable and clever!PS: An animal was ill-treated by one of the characters in one brief paragraph; I felt like that was such an unnecessary/appalling event to include in the book.
    more
  • 4cats
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Renee Knight's first novel, Disclaimer and have been waiting for her second to be published since 2015. Was it worth the wait....yes it was.The novel is told from Christine Butcher's perspective and moves from the present to the past with ease. Christine is hired by Mina Appleton, the daughter of Lord Appleton who founded Appleton Supermarkets. Lord Appleton is a principled man and has created a business which treats its' suppliers fairly. However, when Mina takes over things changed. Mi I loved Renee Knight's first novel, Disclaimer and have been waiting for her second to be published since 2015. Was it worth the wait....yes it was.The novel is told from Christine Butcher's perspective and moves from the present to the past with ease. Christine is hired by Mina Appleton, the daughter of Lord Appleton who founded Appleton Supermarkets. Lord Appleton is a principled man and has created a business which treats its' suppliers fairly. However, when Mina takes over things changed. Mina is a celebrity, a business woman and has friends in high places. As her 'number one' secretary, Christine puts her work life before her home life and sees the private Mina, and more importantly is involved in the secrets of the new Appletons.This is a twisted thriller with a difference, it's intelligent, the characters are believable and the plot moves along with pace.
    more
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    "Offices are full of deceit, aren't they?"3.5⭐The Secretary is the second office-related drama that I've read & enjoyed recently, so apparently this is a setting I'm interested in. I liked the setup for this book - you can tell right away that something has gone wrong & you're about to see things go downhill. It added some tension to the story since you knew in advance that things weren't going to go well. I feel like this book could have been a little darker than it was. It has a The De "Offices are full of deceit, aren't they?"3.5⭐The Secretary is the second office-related drama that I've read & enjoyed recently, so apparently this is a setting I'm interested in. I liked the setup for this book - you can tell right away that something has gone wrong & you're about to see things go downhill. It added some tension to the story since you knew in advance that things weren't going to go well. I feel like this book could have been a little darker than it was. It has a The Devil Wears Prada vibe, but Miranda is significantly more terrifying than Mina. It was just a little too light for my taste...until the end, which just felt a little far-fetched.The timeline is a little strange - this book covers 18 years, but it really doesn't feel like it. Since part of it is a courtroom drama, some earlier moments are gone over again, and it was difficult to judge when things happened. It felt like months, or maybe a few years, but it was really almost 20 years. There was some random mistreatment of an animal that I didn't really care for. It felt out of place, and I would have enjoyed the story more without it. Although I had some issues, I was pretty invested in The Secretary. It's a slow burn, but it held my attention. I think I would try another book from this author. Thank you to Harper for sending me a copy. The Secretary will be out on 2/12.
    more
  • Laura Rash
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked this one until the end. I don’t want to say too much bc I don’t like spoilers but I wish it had ended very differently.
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    DNF around 30%. I just couldn't get into this one. It's awfully slow, which isn't necessarily bad, but I just wasn't interested in either Christine or Mina, or what seemed to me very boring political machinations at a supermarket company.
  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Review to follow for the tour.
  • Joanne Robertson
    January 1, 1970
    This was another book that I had been really looking forward to after reading Disclaimer some time ago. And it was one that I seemed to read a lot slower than I normally would with a book I was desperate to devour. That probably had a lot to do with the way in which The Secretary was written, with a slowly built storyline that spent time developing the character and mindset of Christine Butcher in her role as personal secretary to Mina Appleton, a well known “celebrity”. I found that I wanted to This was another book that I had been really looking forward to after reading Disclaimer some time ago. And it was one that I seemed to read a lot slower than I normally would with a book I was desperate to devour. That probably had a lot to do with the way in which The Secretary was written, with a slowly built storyline that spent time developing the character and mindset of Christine Butcher in her role as personal secretary to Mina Appleton, a well known “celebrity”. I found that I wanted to really take my time so that I didn’t miss any of the pointers that lead me towards understanding the decisions that she made and how those decisions evolved over the years until a very different Christine stands before us. Plus it was so chilling, I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages-“car crash” fiction at its best!!Renee Knight writes such beautifully expressive prose that I became completely and utterly involved in the life and character of Christine. I found her journey, from being discovered and interviewed by her future employer to being Nina’s trusted but not completely involved confidant, a fascinating one from start to finish. It’s a very detailed narrative, developing over a number of years as we watch Christine gain confidence in her role, until we realise that this job has now become her entire life so she needs to do whatever it takes to keep it that way. I’ve always been fascinated by what attracts an employer to certain applicants and here I do think that the Christine who starts her job has a certain quality that is spotted by her future boss. She seems easily flattered and her eagerness to please is often exploited but even though she’s not the most likeable of characters, I did find myself sympathetic towards her plight. I think the method in which the author gradually explored and developed the relationship between boss/employee, as the power shifted from one to the other, was very clever indeed as was the ending which formed the perfect conclusion to the misshapen circle of loyalty that surrounded them.Dark, complex and devious , I was gripped throughout this book, with my own loyalties barely balancing on the high wire of trust, unable to decide which way to descent. Christine wasn’t always likeable due to her actions but that didn’t spoil my utter pleasure in my own voyeuristic examination of her innermost self.Fabulous book and well worth the wait!
    more
  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
    January 1, 1970
    THIS BOOK. So so sooooooo torn on how I feel about this in its entirety. On one hand, as the last 10 years of my career has been as a legal assistant or paralegal, it was fun to read from the view of someone who assists and keeps that "machine" well oiled. Sometimes the person you're assisting has NO idea just exactly how hard your job can be. AND in the supermarket field where I actually worked for almost a decade as a diverter assistant, pricing analyst and buyer - so it was fun to see somethi THIS BOOK. So so sooooooo torn on how I feel about this in its entirety. On one hand, as the last 10 years of my career has been as a legal assistant or paralegal, it was fun to read from the view of someone who assists and keeps that "machine" well oiled. Sometimes the person you're assisting has NO idea just exactly how hard your job can be. AND in the supermarket field where I actually worked for almost a decade as a diverter assistant, pricing analyst and buyer - so it was fun to see something relatable on that aspect as well. But, I digress, this isn't about my freaking resume - but about Christine Butcher and her ever loyal and obsessive ways. She is the queen of assistants and damn she is GOOD at her job. Oh, the other hand you ask? Well..... I don't think I've ever been this invested in a book where the dialogue is minimal, it's strictly through one POV and I want to bitch slap the main character. HOW DO YOU REVIEW THIS?Ok, so here is where I stand. I think. I definitely couldn't put this book down though I think it starts off a bit on the slow side for my normal liking. Christine is an unlikable character but that's ok because I do like to hate on my characters sometimes. The sacrifices and choices she makes astound me but at the same time are very realistic. I was a little baffled that somehow we surpassed two decades of Christine's devotion to Mina - a clearly manipulative yet whiny and entitled gnat of a woman. Where did the time go? And that ending??? Well, while I did like it, it seemed to jump the shark just a tiny bit in my opinion. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting and for that, I'm happy.Here's the thing - if you have an assistant that you put all your trust in and who has access to pretty much every niche of your life - be careful how you treat them. While some people get addicted to drugs, alcohol, whatever - Christine is addicted to her job and Mina has never had it better. **wink**3.5 stars from me but I'll round to 4 for Goodreads.Thank you Harper Books for this copy!
    more
  • Lia Valenti
    January 1, 1970
    Iniziato ieri dopo pranzo e terminato verso la mezzanotte,immaginavo che ci fosse un colpo di scena eclatante e non volevo aspettare sino ad oggi.Ho immaginato bene,il finale vale quanto tutto il libro messo assieme.Più che un thriller questo è un libro che gioca sulla manipolazione o plagio che un altro essere umano è capace di provocare su un' altra persona.Gioco molto facile se l'altro è ansioso di compiacerti ..Renée Knight ,fa il ritratto di due donne dure e crudeli,una lo è per nascita,l'a Iniziato ieri dopo pranzo e terminato verso la mezzanotte,immaginavo che ci fosse un colpo di scena eclatante e non volevo aspettare sino ad oggi.Ho immaginato bene,il finale vale quanto tutto il libro messo assieme.Più che un thriller questo è un libro che gioca sulla manipolazione o plagio che un altro essere umano è capace di provocare su un' altra persona.Gioco molto facile se l'altro è ansioso di compiacerti ..Renée Knight ,fa il ritratto di due donne dure e crudeli,una lo è per nascita,l'altra lo diventerà per compiacere .Per tutto il libro ho disprezzato profondamente tutte e due le donne ,la segretaria molto di più.
    more
  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    This book which I won from Goodreads is bizarre, disturbing, and even a little creepy! Christine, “The Secretary”, has been hired to be the personal assistant to well-known and wealthy Mina. Christine is devoted, loyal and trustworthy. She hears and sees everything and can keep secrets. But at what price and at what point will everything begin to spiral downward. I found The Secretary to be a compelling read and intense as the story unfolded. I’m torn between a 3 and a 4 so I’ll go with 3.5 star This book which I won from Goodreads is bizarre, disturbing, and even a little creepy! Christine, “The Secretary”, has been hired to be the personal assistant to well-known and wealthy Mina. Christine is devoted, loyal and trustworthy. She hears and sees everything and can keep secrets. But at what price and at what point will everything begin to spiral downward. I found The Secretary to be a compelling read and intense as the story unfolded. I’m torn between a 3 and a 4 so I’ll go with 3.5 stars. This was a different kind of psychological suspense. Very unsettling!
    more
  • 4cats
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Renee Knight's first novel, Disclaimer and have been waiting for her second to be published since 2015. Was it worth the wait....yes it was.The novel is told from Christine Butcher's perspective and moves from the present to the past with ease. Christine is hired by Mina Appleton, the daughter of Lord Appleton who founded Appleton Supermarkets. Lord Appleton is a principled man and has created a business which treats its' suppliers fairly. However, when Mina takes over things changed. Mi I loved Renee Knight's first novel, Disclaimer and have been waiting for her second to be published since 2015. Was it worth the wait....yes it was.The novel is told from Christine Butcher's perspective and moves from the present to the past with ease. Christine is hired by Mina Appleton, the daughter of Lord Appleton who founded Appleton Supermarkets. Lord Appleton is a principled man and has created a business which treats its' suppliers fairly. However, when Mina takes over things changed. Mina is a celebrity, a business woman and has friends in high places. As her 'number one' secretary, Christine puts her work life before her home life and sees the private Mina, and more importantly is involved in the secrets of the new Appletons.This is a twisted thriller with a difference, it's intelligent, the characters are believable and the plot moves along with pace.
    more
  • booksbikesbooze
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars Thank you SO much @harperbooks & @harpercollinsus for my finished review copy!The Secret(ary) is a contemporary thriller about an 18 year relationship between business owner Mina Appleton, and her secretary aka personal assistant, Christine Butcher. Christine is everything to Mina – loyal, discreet, and a dedicated “servant”, sacrificing her own marriage, and motherly duties throughout the years. The book takes a turn when Mina is arrested and subsequently others are dragged down w 3.5 stars Thank you SO much @harperbooks & @harpercollinsus for my finished review copy!The Secret(ary) is a contemporary thriller about an 18 year relationship between business owner Mina Appleton, and her secretary aka personal assistant, Christine Butcher. Christine is everything to Mina – loyal, discreet, and a dedicated “servant”, sacrificing her own marriage, and motherly duties throughout the years. The book takes a turn when Mina is arrested and subsequently others are dragged down with her. Christine won’t forget what Mina said about her in court. How far does one’s loyalty go when pushed too far? I don’t want to give too much away, but it is worth the read!The middle part of the court proceedings lost my interest a little, but I liked the last third of the book the most – that is where it got wicked, malicious, and revengeful!Happy publication day – Bravo Renee Knight!Thank you again HarperBooks!
    more
  • gem
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars.This book covers such an expanse of time and yet not a great deal seems to actually happen up until the last third of the book. It mentions things which happened, such as Christine’s interview with Mins and then it’s 20 years later and a court case is happening and you’re left questioning both of the main characters motives.It’s all a case of secrets and lies, loyalty and obsession and who can you trust.There was something that seemed like it was so specific mentioned really early on t 2.5 stars.This book covers such an expanse of time and yet not a great deal seems to actually happen up until the last third of the book. It mentions things which happened, such as Christine’s interview with Mins and then it’s 20 years later and a court case is happening and you’re left questioning both of the main characters motives.It’s all a case of secrets and lies, loyalty and obsession and who can you trust.There was something that seemed like it was so specific mentioned really early on that I assumed would be important and it turns out it was... so I didn’t think the twist was that shocking.It’s strange to review this because I did enjoy it whilst I was reading it, and it would make a good film because of the structure, however I didn’t actually like Christine or Mins enough to really care whether either of them were telling the truth.I’d still read the next book by the author though as I liked Disclaimer.
    more
  • Rosie Amber
    January 1, 1970
    The Secretary is a mild thriller set in the UK. Christine Butcher is a secretary, a really good one, and she is proud to call herself a number one PA.The book opens with Christine being offered a job as the secretary to Lord Appleton and his daughter Mina. They own Appleton’s supermarket chain, a business which Lord Appleton runs with strong ethical themes. He believes in fair prices for quality products.Mina is an ambitious woman who wants to make Appleton a market leader. Christine is about to The Secretary is a mild thriller set in the UK. Christine Butcher is a secretary, a really good one, and she is proud to call herself a number one PA.The book opens with Christine being offered a job as the secretary to Lord Appleton and his daughter Mina. They own Appleton’s supermarket chain, a business which Lord Appleton runs with strong ethical themes. He believes in fair prices for quality products.Mina is an ambitious woman who wants to make Appleton a market leader. Christine is about to find out how much Mina wants and how far she will go to get it. Her role as loyal secretary is tested by a controlling Mina. But what will happen when Mina asks too much? See here for full review https://wp.me/p2Eu3u-cob
    more
  • Latkins
    January 1, 1970
    It's unusual for a thriller to focus on a case of business malpractice and perverting the course of justice, but this is a gripping tale of misplaced loyalty and power games. Christine Butcher is the eponymous secretary and narrator, and tells of her years dedicated to her employer, Mina Applteon, the head of a supposedly ethical supermarket chain. Christine's loyalty to her boss cost her a marriage and her relationship with her daughter, but did Mina really value her, or was she just another pe It's unusual for a thriller to focus on a case of business malpractice and perverting the course of justice, but this is a gripping tale of misplaced loyalty and power games. Christine Butcher is the eponymous secretary and narrator, and tells of her years dedicated to her employer, Mina Applteon, the head of a supposedly ethical supermarket chain. Christine's loyalty to her boss cost her a marriage and her relationship with her daughter, but did Mina really value her, or was she just another person she could use to her own ends? There's suspense and tension throughout as you come to realise how easily the power can shift in an employer and employee situation. Excellent!
    more
  • Chiara LibriamociBlog
    January 1, 1970
    “La segretaria” è un romanzo che si avvicina al genere thriller ma non lo tocca mai completamente; ecco forse perché i pareri sono discordanti nel giudicare questo libro; il dubbio galleggia nella mente del lettore che non sa quando e dove succederà qualcosa, in quale punto preciso la trama deciderà di svoltare e cominciare a bruciare terreno con colpi di scena e grandi stravolgimenti.In realtà ciò non accade, se non molto lentamente giunti alla fine della storia di Christine e Mina.“La segretar “La segretaria” è un romanzo che si avvicina al genere thriller ma non lo tocca mai completamente; ecco forse perché i pareri sono discordanti nel giudicare questo libro; il dubbio galleggia nella mente del lettore che non sa quando e dove succederà qualcosa, in quale punto preciso la trama deciderà di svoltare e cominciare a bruciare terreno con colpi di scena e grandi stravolgimenti.In realtà ciò non accade, se non molto lentamente giunti alla fine della storia di Christine e Mina.“La segretaria” è il racconto di un lavoro vissuto come una missione, un’occupazione che diviene ossessione e cancella tutto ciò che di importante riempie la vita: non si vede nulla se non il proprio capo, in questo caso l’affascinante e decisa Mina, è si è pronti a tutto pur di rendere meno complicata e il più lineare possibile la quotidianità di chi ci paga lo stipendio e sembra voler guadagnare stima e affetto con sporadici gesti di benevolenza.Ma quanto sinceri sono questi gesti?Christine lo vive in prima persona, prima con azioni innocenti e poi con la consapevolezza che, i segreti mantenuti e le azioni fatte in campo lavorativo, hanno macchiato per sempre la sua anima gentile, il nocciolo buono di una persona che è stata riconosciuta spesso come donna gentile nella rubrica “la gentilezza degli estranei”.Il lettore attende impaziente le azioni di vendetta di Christine, che si vedrà costretta ad affrontare anche un processo, che lentamente perderà ogni contatto con famiglia e realtà, che vivrà nell’ombra della sua datrice di lavoro.Invece questa reazione spropositata, questo cambio di ruolo, questa esplosione di rabbia non avviene; Christine, che aveva capito tutto, ogni meccanismo, ogni movimento, ogni cosa, non reagisce, e il lettore rimane con un epilogo amaro, insufficiente.Per quanto l’inizio rappresenti la parte più movimentata e ricca di descrizioni piacevoli (che sono a tratti ossessive ma riescono a ben inquadrare i protagonisti), la narrazione è abbastanza lenta, descrittiva, riflessiva.L’autrice è bravissima a sviare i sospetti sull’epilogo nella mente del lettore che vive, nel passato, ciò che Christine in prima persona racconta, fino a raggiungere il momento 0, dove presente e passato si uniscono e dove, secondo me, il romanzo prende una strada senza uscita che delude le aspettative del lettore.Dopo una parte riflessiva, introspettiva e di presa di coscienza, il lettore si aspetta il colpo di scena, l’aumento del ritmo cardiaco per un avvenimento che sia capace di ribaltare la scena e il destino dei protagonisti, ma ciò non avviene.Ho divorato “La segretaria”, ho amato le prime due parti, non riuscivo a smettere di leggere e cercare di capire dinamiche e possibili finali, sono rimasta invece delusa dal cardiogramma piatto del finale e dalla svolta spenta e inadatta che Renée Knight ha deciso di utilizzare come finale per la sua storia.Una storia che aveva tutte le caratteristiche per risultare vincente e che invece alla fine delude, cancellando trecento pagine di coinvolgente ed elettrizzante gioco di potenze, ruoli e ossessioni.
    more
Write a review