[Review] The Book of Secret - Elizabeth Joy Arnold

Title of Book : The Book of Secret
Author : Elizabeth Joy Arnold
Author website : Elizabeth Joy Arnold
Publisher : Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell
Published date : 2nd July 2013

After more than twenty years of marriage, Chloe Sinclair comes home one night to find that her husband, Nate, is gone. All he has left behind is a cryptic note explaining that he's returned to their childhood town, a place Chloe never wants to see again.  While trying to reach Nate, Chloe stumbles upon a notebook tucked inside his antique copy of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Written in code, the pages contain long-buried secrets from their past, and clues to why he went home after all these years. As Chloe struggles to decipher the notebook's hidden messages, she revisits the seminal moments of their youth: the day she met the enigmatic Sinclair children and the increasingly dangerous games they played to escape their troubled childhoods; the first time Nate kissed her, camped out on the beach like Robinson Crusoe; and the elaborate plan she and Nate devised, inspired by "Romeo and Juliet, " to break away from his oppressive father. As the reason for Nate's absence comes to light, the truth will forever shatter everything Chloe knows--about her husband, his family, and herself.

I got the ARC of this book from Netgalley.com. The Book of Secret is amazing. First, the male lead’s name is Nathaniel. I have a thing for this name. I even named my laptop Nathaniel. So I kind of have high expectations for this book. 
By the time I read the first page, I don’t know why I felt this dark and sad atmosphere. This book has nice opening. The narrator/main character/Chloe reminiscing about her memories of the bookstore she and Nate own. The good thing about nice opening is, it will stick with the book until its epilogue. Even when I stopped reading for a while and read it again later, I still got the dark and sad feeling. 
I cried. A lot. Chloe’s childhood is sad and ironic. Chloe and Nate came from a very different family. The Sinclair is a religious family while Chloe doesn’t even believe in God. They do have a tragic love story. Like how Nate described in the book, their love story reminds me of Romeo and Juliet. Their story is just sad and sometimes depressing. Especially with Nate’s condition after his mother died and his dad became very strict to him. 
Joel Sinclair is described as the main villain from Chloe’s point of view. Sometimes, his meanness doesn’t make sense to me. How come a father could do such a thing to his children? But there’s a time when his mean attitude seems acceptable. Since this story is told from Chloe’s point of view, there are holes here and there which make Joel’s character sounds like an evil. 
The Book of Secret is intriguing. The mystery behind their childhood makes me want to read this book more. Nate and Chloe think that life and God are being unfair to them. When actually there’s a silver lining behind their story. Nate’s internal conflict about whether he believes in God or not after what his father did, Chloe’s hatred towards Nate's father are some of the interesting points to be observed. There’s a lot of book involved here too. Since Nate and Chloe both love books. We could read Nate’s opinion about the books mentioned. We could read his thought about those books and the connections to his life. 
One thing that disappoints me is Chloe’s affair. She described in the first chapter that she had an affair with Nate’s best friend. Her problems with Nate and the Sinclair are big enough that her affair feels like an unnecessary conflict to me. But overall, I still love this book.

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