Hello lovely bookworms and welcome to my tour stop for The Secret of You and Me by Melissa Lenhardt. The Secret of you and Me is releasing today, August 4th, and I am very excited to chat about this book with you all. Thank you to Mills and Boon publishing for organising the tour and allowing me to take part.
Representation: Bisexual MC, Lesbian MC, sapphic side characters, f/f romance, MC with PTSD, Persian side character.
The Secret of You and Me is an adult contemporary romance that features: two stubborn women, a love they cannot forget, and some chickens that Nora DEFINITELY DOES NOT LOVE.
“Nora smiled at the camera, and I looked down at her with an expression of such blatant adoration it stunned be the entire town hadn’t know I was desperately in love with my best friend.”
I really enjoyed this book. While it’s clear that it’s a romance novel, it’s also very character driven. Nora and Sophie are both adults who have been through so much.
Nora joined the military after she’s forced to leave home by her father. However, staying away from their small conservative town she learned to grow and become happy in herself while finding and figuring out her sexuality. Nora is proudly bisexual. She’s stubborn and strong, and while she hates that’s she’s too come home again, she handles it like water of a ducks back.
I adored Nora but Sophie was my favourite. Externally Sophie has it all- good husband, nice house, money, and a wonderful daughter- but internally, Sophie struggles with alcoholism and is a lesbian. Sophie’s growth had me cheering. The inner strength she displays throughout the novel was phenomenal. She’s ready to take on her mother, battle her addiction to alcohol, and save both her relationship with Nora and her daughter. SHE IS A QUEEN.
“ This isn’t a disaster waiting to happen; it’s a challenge. I’m Sophie fucking Wyatt. Bring it on.”
The romance develops slowly throughout the novel and as a lover of slow burn- I was in my element. Nora and Sophie take their time coming back together but when they do, sparks flied. It was clear that these two never fell out of love.
“When I think of falling in love with Nora, it isn’t our first kiss, or the first time we, you know, but it’s those moments when she read to me.”
The plot is quite angsty; especially in the beginning. Sophie and Nora have to fight for each other, against the town and within themselves but the ending makes all the pain worth it.
The Secret of You and Me is a book I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It’s messy, and emotional. However, Nora and Sophie are ingrained on my heart. While there were times I wanted to throw the book against the wall- mainly when Sophie’s mother opened her mouth- I adored this book.
Content Warnings: Homophobia, internalised homophobia, biphobia, cheating, islamophobia- ( It’s challenged in the novel), racism, alcoholism, depression, MC with PTSD, abusive mother, gaslighting.
The Secret of you and Me Aesthetic.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
Melissa Lenhardt is a women’s fiction, mystery, and historical fiction author. Her debut mystery, STILLWATER, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and SAWBONES, her historical fiction debut, was hailed as a “thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new sub-genre: the feminist Western” by Lone Star Literary Life. The New York Times called her sixth novel, HERESY, “An all-out women-driven, queer, transgender, multiracial takeover of the Old West”. THE SECRET OF YOU AND ME, her seventh novel and her first contemporary women’s fiction novel, will be published on May 5, 2020. When Melissa isn’t writing, she’s thinking, “I really should be writing” and eating Nutella or peanut butter straight out of the jar. A lifelong Texan, she lives in the Dallas area with her husband, two sons, and two Golden Retrievers.