Review of ‘The Secret Pond’ by Gerri Hill (Audiobook)
This cover kept taunting me for the longest time. I remember seeing it over and over again, and thinking that I had to read it along the way. Then just the other day, I saw the audiobook was available through Audible’s Escape package. I was pretty excited as is also narrated by Abby Craden. The end result was a mixed bag of feelings.
Hannah Larson and her nine-year-old son Jack, moved to her recently deceased husband’s grandmother’s house looking for a fresh start. This move takes her from San Antonio and her family to her somewhat estranged in-laws’ proximity and an old house to rehabilitate. While Hannah attempts to work on the house to make it her own, Jack goes to the nearby creek with his puppy. There, he meets Lindsey McDermott one day and strikes an unusual friendship. Lindsey is also grieving as she lost her family in a plane crash. The loneliness and grief Jack and Lindsey share are the basis for their friendship, which then shifts to include Hannah. As they spend the summer together, the women find themselves battling attraction and confusion over the reason for these feelings. Are they in love or are they simply joined by grief?
Now to the mixed bag of my own feelings! The story grabbed me right off the bat. Then Jack is going to the creek alone, meeting someone who Hannah believes to be an imaginary friend. Well, I was ready to look away as a parent since it wasn’t a big deal within the confines of the story, but then Hannah is all conflicted about it. At this point, I became aggravated. Who sends their 9-year-old to the creek to meet an adult they don’t know? So I was eye-rolling away at Hannah’s worries, after all, they were of her own making. How about you go down with your son? How about you actually meet this person and then make it a point to go see them with your son? It felt like a reason to create conflict out of something that could have been easily prevented.
This was a lesbian slow burn romance book. And I mean, fifty-eight chapters later, I was exhausted. There was a lot of swimming in the river and pond in those chapters. I feel more dialog between the mains would have been a better use of the time. I felt the connection was there, but to be honest, I thought it was better established between Jack and Lindsey. Jack was charming and a great character.
The mother-in-law was fantastic! In a horrible, backward and aggravating way, but fabulous nonetheless. I actually felt bad for Hannah, enduring negative comment after negative comment from the narrow-minded woman. She criticized everything Hannah did and felt awfully close to a personal experience with a relative (thank goodness not my mother-in-law!). So, bracing for her opinion and what Hannah would tell her about Lindsey, well… nothing was said about that. It was a let down to see that character fade into nothingness after being a true conflict in the story.
The narration was great and I have no issues with Ms. Craden’s performance. Jack had many lines and the child’s voice was great, not taking anything away from the rest of the story. I found myself listening at 1.5x speed for the first time ever, but this was because I lost interest in the middle of the story, not anything to do with the narrator.
Overall an okay story about letting go of grief and finding love. 3.25 stars.