Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra

Little Secrets

What happens when ambition trumps the truth?A town reeling in the wake of tragedyAn arsonist is on the loose in Colmstock, Australia, most recently burning down the town's courthouse and killing a young boy who was trapped inside.. An aspiring journalist desperate for a storyThe clock is ticking for Rose Blakey. With nothing but rejections from newspapers piling up, her jo...

Title:Little Secrets
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Edition Language:English

Little Secrets Reviews

  • Zoe

    3.5 Stars!

    Creepy, gritty, and exceptionally atmospheric!

    In this latest novel by Snoekstra, Little Secrets, she transports us to Colmstock, Australia, a small town not only devastated by economic depression but reeling from the destruction and tragedy caused by an arsonist with no conscience, and a potential predator who seems to be targeting the local children.

    The prose is somber and taut. The characters are deceptive, scheming, and self-involved. And the plot, which is ultimately about life, lo

    3.5 Stars!

    Creepy, gritty, and exceptionally atmospheric!

    In this latest novel by Snoekstra, Little Secrets, she transports us to Colmstock, Australia, a small town not only devastated by economic depression but reeling from the destruction and tragedy caused by an arsonist with no conscience, and a potential predator who seems to be targeting the local children.

    The prose is somber and taut. The characters are deceptive, scheming, and self-involved. And the plot, which is ultimately about life, loss, community dissension, familial drama, friendship, abuse, ambition, and survival is mysterious and twisty, but a little slow at times, as it unravels all the numerous subplots and issues within it.

    There is no doubt that Snoekstra can weave a suspicious tale that highlights the selfish, dark side of human nature and some readers will love the tragic, moody feel of this story. Unfortunately for me, the lack of characters with any redeeming characteristics made it a little hard to connect with them as much as I would have liked to.

    Thank you to Harlequin Books and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    All my reviews can be found on my blog at

  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    *

    With temperatures steadily rising here in Australia, Australian novelist Anna Snoekstra of Only Daughter fame returns with her second work of fiction, a sizzling summer crime thriller titled, Little Secrets.

    Colmstock is a small Australian town doing it tough. The local automotive factory has closed its doors, leaving behind a trail of debt and unemployment. Further despair comes to this tiny town when the local courthouse is burnt down by an arsonist. Even m

    *

    With temperatures steadily rising here in Australia, Australian novelist Anna Snoekstra of Only Daughter fame returns with her second work of fiction, a sizzling summer crime thriller titled, Little Secrets.

    Colmstock is a small Australian town doing it tough. The local automotive factory has closed its doors, leaving behind a trail of debt and unemployment. Further despair comes to this tiny town when the local courthouse is burnt down by an arsonist. Even more devastating is the fact that a town favourite, a young thirteen year old boy, was trapped inside the courthouse at the time of the fire. Adding further fuel to the fire is the mysterious appearance of a series of porcelain dolls, which form exact carbon copies of a number of young girls who are key residents of Colmstock. With authorities still struggling to arrest the perpetrator of the deadly courthouse fire, the bizarre case of the porcelain dolls stretches resources to their limits. Aspiring journalist and local resident Rose Blakey sees what is happening to her small town as the perfect means to kick-start her career and solve a mystery at the same time.

    The author of Little Secrets, Anna Snoekstra, was shortlisted for the Ned Kelly prize in 2017 for her debut thriller, Only Daughter. I was completely blown away by Snoekstra’s exciting thriller last year and it remains one of my favourite debut thriller offerings from an Australian writer. I soon jumped at the chance to read and review Snoekstra’s second novel, Little Secrets for Beauty and Lace based on my enjoyment of Snoekstra’s previous work.

    Little Secrets is a slight departure from Only Daughter. Whilst it is a thriller, I would best describe this novel as a solid piece of Australian small town fiction, with crime and mystery elements. The pace is less frantic than Only Daughter, it plods along much more gently, focussing its energies on creating a strong air of suspicion and paranoia. There were many times while I was reading this novel that I was reminded of the work of great Australian novelists such as Candice Fox and Jane Harper. Snoekstra’s writing falls easily into the same calibre of these respected female Australian writers.

    As much as this is a crime, mystery and thriller based story, Little Secrets places much emphasis on its characterisation. Combining this refined characterisation with a tight plot, makes Little Secrets a novel that stands out from the packed thriller genre crowd. Snoekstra devotes plenty of time in her second novel to exploring the intricate psyche of many of the troubled residents of Colmstock and this aspect of the novel held great appeal for me personally. A focus on long time residents and main protagonists Rose and Mia, shows us how Snoekstra is able to compile a well rendered character list. Rose and Mia were likable and they soon drew my sympathies. Underneath their outside veneer, Rose and Mia also have a set of imperfections that is explored well by Snoekstra.

    Snoekstra is adept at formulating a novel that completely encapsulates the experience of small town life. Through the main protagonist Rose and the residents of Colmstock, the reader is given a strong glimpse into life in a small town that has suffered financial ruin and loss. It is a town where the residents are in each other’s hip pockets but at the same time they have secrets that have concealed from their fellow townsfolk. This forms the central source of intrigue in the novel. Colmstock is also a town defined by instances of drug abuse, domestic violence, murder, corruption and arson. There is a pervading sense of hopelessness and many of the residents are clearly spiralling into a pit of despair. Even the local police seem to be struggling with what they have to work with, following the arson attack and the odd appearance of the porcelain dolls. As a result of all these circumstances, a strong sense of paranoia sets in. Snoekstra explores the scenario of a town under siege and a great deal of stress when fingers are pointed at one another. The final result and mystery of who committed the arson attacks, as well as who is responsible for the strange dolls had me reading this book intently until the close. The twisty ride I was taken on was quite explosive!

    I am now a firm fan of Anna Snoekstra’s work, courtesy of my experience of reading both her books. I look forward with great anticipation for her next release, which I have no doubt will be as astute and as compulsive as Little Secrets.

    *Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books Australia.

  • TL

    I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own. 😊

    ---

    Interesting idea but ultimately didn't capture me fully. *shrugs*

  • Veronica ⭐️

    Anna Snoekstra has written a complex and riveting novel with a clearly manipulative and unlikeable protagonist.

    Straight up Rose starts to manipulate the reader. I initially felt sorry for her but the more I read the more I learned that she was selfish and unscrupulous.

    Set in a small country town where unemployment is high and drug use is on the increase you could feel the oppression. Rose’s only ambition is to become a journalist and leave Colmstock behind.

    As in “Only Daughter” Snoekstra has aga

    Anna Snoekstra has written a complex and riveting novel with a clearly manipulative and unlikeable protagonist.

    Straight up Rose starts to manipulate the reader. I initially felt sorry for her but the more I read the more I learned that she was selfish and unscrupulous.

    Set in a small country town where unemployment is high and drug use is on the increase you could feel the oppression. Rose’s only ambition is to become a journalist and leave Colmstock behind.

    As in “Only Daughter” Snoekstra has again given us a whole load of messed up characters and in “Little Secrets” has placed them in a small town where they can do nothing expect destroy each other.

    Many plot lines run through the novel and in a town where everyone has a secret to keep I couldn’t possibly guess the outcome with any of them.

    I hated most of the characters, they made me angry, sad and disgusted. All emotions I think the author was trying to evoke.

    Little Secrets was a great read! Full of surprises!

    Content- Frequent coarse language F –word C-word

    Sex scene

    Graphic violence

    I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley.

  • Brenda

    As the local courthouse burned in the small town of Colmstock in country Australia, the shock of the police and fire crew turned to desperation – there was someone inside and there would be no getting them out alive. Was it arson?

    As Rose Blakey’s time for moving out of the only home she’d known all her life moved closer, her desperation at the continued rejections from newspapers all over the country heightened. She had wanted to be a journalist for as long as she could remember. The waitressing

    As the local courthouse burned in the small town of Colmstock in country Australia, the shock of the police and fire crew turned to desperation – there was someone inside and there would be no getting them out alive. Was it arson?

    As Rose Blakey’s time for moving out of the only home she’d known all her life moved closer, her desperation at the continued rejections from newspapers all over the country heightened. She had wanted to be a journalist for as long as she could remember. The waitressing job at the local tavern where the cops all congregated, and Frank ogled her continually made her cringe. She wanted to get out of the loser town; had to before she went mad.

    When Rose’s little sister Laura found a porcelain doll on the doorstep, she was happy. The doll was beautiful, her new toy. But the police had to take it, along with several other dolls that had been left on doorsteps of little girls. The creepy dolls even looked like the little girls – what was happening? Was there someone out there after the town’s children?

    As Rose investigated her story; and the cops drank every night at the tavern, Will, a stranger in town, turned Rose’s eye. But was it suspicion Rose felt? Or was it something else? Colmstock was on a slow burn – what would be the outcome for everyone involved?

    by Aussie author Anna Snoekstra is an intriguing look at a small town and the paranoia which can grip a community when small incidents become large ones. Corrupt and brutal, bullying cops; paper plate kids; desperation; hope and friendship – all are part of

    . I thoroughly enjoyed my first novel by Snoekstra and will look at more of her work. I love the cover of the Australian version as well. Highly recommended.

    With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital copy to read and review.

  • Carolyn

    Living in a struggling little rural town in Australia, full of little secrets and some big lies, Rose Blakey hopes to escape by getting a journalist's cadetship in the city. So far she's had no luck so when strange events start to happen in her town she decides to make her own news story by writing for a local paper. What she doesn't realise is that she will cause a lot of fear and stir up a lot of trouble that will have major repercussions for the town.

    I really enjoyed Anna Snoekstra's second n

    Living in a struggling little rural town in Australia, full of little secrets and some big lies, Rose Blakey hopes to escape by getting a journalist's cadetship in the city. So far she's had no luck so when strange events start to happen in her town she decides to make her own news story by writing for a local paper. What she doesn't realise is that she will cause a lot of fear and stir up a lot of trouble that will have major repercussions for the town.

    I really enjoyed Anna Snoekstra's second novel. Her depiction of a struggling Aussie rural town that has lost it's major employer feels spot on. The heat, flies and squashed cane toads are very evocative of a hot dusty town that has seen better days. Most of the characters are not very likeable but they are certainly very real and believable. Rose has the most spark of her generation but as a wannabe journalist makes some questionable decisions that she lives to regret. There is little to keep young people in the town except dreaming of escape or settling down where the pool of people of marriageable age is pretty limited. In the meantime there are mysteries to solve: Who is leaving porcelain dolls on little girls doorsteps? Who burnt down the courthouse and bakery? And what are the paperplate kids up to? Lots for a budding young journalist to investigate.

    Link to Harlequin for more information:

  • Heidi

    I think that over the last decade or so, Australian mystery & crime fiction has really come into its own, with authors using unique characteristics in their stories and creating a niche market for themselves that draws readers from all around the world for an Aussie interpretation of “noir”. For me, these are books that have a strong sense of place, using the harshness of nature and the remoteness of the setting to create tension and a constant undercurrent of menace and danger to the story.

    I think that over the last decade or so, Australian mystery & crime fiction has really come into its own, with authors using unique characteristics in their stories and creating a niche market for themselves that draws readers from all around the world for an Aussie interpretation of “noir”. For me, these are books that have a strong sense of place, using the harshness of nature and the remoteness of the setting to create tension and a constant undercurrent of menace and danger to the story. Little Secrets definitely falls into that category! Snoekstra has done a wonderful job in creating not only a setting, but also characters that captivate and terrify at the same time. The dying little country town of Colmstock is so quintessentially Australian that you can literally feel the heat and hear the flies buzzing in its dusty, deserted streets! Not only does its remote setting make for a perfect background to a chilling mystery, but Snoekstra includes some seemingly insignificant but terrifying elements that make the streets of this particular country town even more creepy: such as the smoking ruins of the courthouse, or the spooky presence of the paper plate kids – and those creepy dolls of course! I had goosebumps reading it!

    In Rose, Snoekstra has created a wonderful main protagonist – one you cannot help liking, even though she definitely has her flaws. Young and ambitious, Rose’s main dream is to get out of the dying town she has grown up in, and yet has limited means to do so. An aspiring journalist, Rose knows rejection only too well, even though this latest one threatens to put all her best-laid plans to rest. Like any creature trapped, Rose is not afraid to fight for her chance of an escape. Her friend Mia, on the other hand, has long resigned herself to living and dying in Colmstock, which makes her both adore and resent Rose in equal measure. The dynamics between the two best friends was fascinating and very well drawn, and held a few unexpected surprises.

    I really don’t want to give anything away to spoil this wonderful mystery for anyone, so won’t be delving too much into the storyline, except to say that it had me captivated from beginning to end. If it hadn’t been for the reality of having to go to work, and catch a few hours sleep, I would have devoured this book in one giant read-a-thon. I couldn’t tear myself away! As things start heading south, and the small community of Colmstock is beginning to unravel like a pack of wild dogs snapping and snarling at each other, the tension was almost unbearable. I loved how the author slowly strips each and every character of their masks, revealing their true personalities underneath. There were a few surprises there! Snoekstra’s ability to give all her characters true-to-life personalities and flaws made them come to life for me. As tensions grow, and neighbours turn against neighbours, friends against friends, there was a palpable sense of menace that had my heart racing and my knuckles turn white as I gripped the book tightly in my hands, wanting, needing to find out how this would all end – what more can you ask from a good mystery?

    Little Secrets is Australian crime fiction at its best – this is the type of psychological thriller that makes me come back for more, and I can’t wait to read more from this talented author. Highly recommended!

    Thank you to Harlequin Australia for the free copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: It was a pleasant, quiet morning until the woman started screaming. The street had been silent except for the sound of birds chirping in the sky and the distant rumbles of a lawn mower. Mrs Lucie Hoffman had opened her front door to collect the morning edition of the Star. Instead, she found a porcelain doll sitting on top of the paper on her doorstep, staring up at her. It had thick dark hair and glassy green eyes. That was when the screaming started.

    THE BLURB: What happens when ambit

    EXCERPT: It was a pleasant, quiet morning until the woman started screaming. The street had been silent except for the sound of birds chirping in the sky and the distant rumbles of a lawn mower. Mrs Lucie Hoffman had opened her front door to collect the morning edition of the Star. Instead, she found a porcelain doll sitting on top of the paper on her doorstep, staring up at her. It had thick dark hair and glassy green eyes. That was when the screaming started.

    THE BLURB: What happens when ambition trumps the truth?

    A town reeling in the wake of tragedy

    An arsonist is on the loose in Colmstock, Australia, most recently burning down the town's courthouse and killing a young boy who was trapped inside..

    An aspiring journalist desperate for a story

    The clock is ticking for Rose Blakey. With nothing but rejections from newspapers piling up, her job pulling beers for cops at the local tavern isn't nearly enough to cover rent. Rose needs a story-a big one.

    Little dolls full of secrets

    In the weeks after the courthouse fire, precise porcelain replicas of Colmstock's daughters begin turning up on doorsteps, terrifying parents and testing the limits of the town's already fractured police force.

    Rose may have finally found her story. But as her articles gain traction and the boundaries of her investigation blur, Colmstock is seized by a seething paranoia. Soon, no one is safe from suspicion. And when Rose's attention turns to the mysterious stranger living in the rooms behind the tavern, neighbor turns on neighbor and the darkest side of self-preservation is revealed.

    MY THOUGHTS: I really wanted to like Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra. I tried, very hard. But in the end the best rating I could give this book is 2.5 stars.

    Around this time last year, I read Snoekstra's debut novel, Only Daughter, which I also rated 2.5 stars, downgraded to 2☆. I remarked that while '

    And really, what I said then applies equally to Little Secrets. Except that I never really considered abandoning it, although I struggled with it in places, and the quality of the writing is more consistent. Hence the rounding upwards to 3☆

    However, there are glaringly large holes in the plot that I wasn't able to ignore. And Ms Snoekstra obviously hasn't brushed up her knowledge of police procedure. Even in small desolate and dying towns, there are checks and balances. And Colmstock doesn't actually seem that small. It has two pubs, a rarity these days when most towns struggle to support one, especially towns where employment is scarce and methamphetamine rife, a hospital and a reasonably large police presence.

    In the end, I am left feeling vaguely confused and dissatisfied with Little Secrets. The author has left the door wide open for a sequel. If it does occur, I won't be reading it.

    Thank you to Harlequin Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about'page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    I’m such a sucker for books set in Australia; I’m not sure what it is about the setting, but they feel atmospheric in a way that reading about stories happening in the United States just doesn’t compare to. I was a huge fan of Snoekstra’s last book,

    , and when I saw she had another book coming out I couldn’t request it quickly enough. While this was a good read, I want to be clear that it is completely different from the style and pacing of her debut novel. Where

    was t

    I’m such a sucker for books set in Australia; I’m not sure what it is about the setting, but they feel atmospheric in a way that reading about stories happening in the United States just doesn’t compare to. I was a huge fan of Snoekstra’s last book,

    , and when I saw she had another book coming out I couldn’t request it quickly enough. While this was a good read, I want to be clear that it is completely different from the style and pacing of her debut novel. Where

    was tense, mysterious, and compulsive,

    was more of a slow paced, lighter read that left me feeling halfway engaged, but invested enough to want to view the outcome. One thing I felt was done really well in this book was the slow building sense of paranoia in this town. What started as brief, snippets of second thoughts turned into full blown mistrust and delusion. If you enjoy authors such as

    who are excellent at blending domestic drama and a suspenseful mystery together, you may enjoy

    . I must point out it’s one of my favorite covers of the year. :)

  • Aditi

    ----Roald Dahl

    Anna Snoekstra, an Australian author, has penned a riveting psychological thriller called,

    that is centered around a small Aussie town, where a female wannabe journalist lives amidst her unhappy family and the haunting memories of burning down of the courthouse with a kid inside it, but when porcelain dolls looking like

    ----Roald Dahl

    Anna Snoekstra, an Australian author, has penned a riveting psychological thriller called,

    that is centered around a small Aussie town, where a female wannabe journalist lives amidst her unhappy family and the haunting memories of burning down of the courthouse with a kid inside it, but when porcelain dolls looking like an exact replica of little daughters of the houses start to turn up into those houses' doorsteps, that wanna be journalist is sure that she has found her new story that will make her a sure-shot journalist, not before she stumbles upon a strange man living in the town's motel whose arrival brought upon that dolls incident.

    In a small Australian town, lives a young, aspiring and determined woman named, Rose, whose only goal is to bag a proper journalist job somewhere outside the town and away from her unhappy family. But this sleepy town which was already shaken up with the incident of burning down of the courthouse in which a young 13-year old kid became a victim, the towns' folks could not catch their sleep peacefully when another shocking incident hits the town. Porcelain dolls which are an exact replica of the little girls of the town start to turn up on the doorstep of the houses with little daughters. Rose soon guesses it to be an act of some pedophile marking his young victims by submitting an article of this incident to a local newspaper, and soon after that, a chain of mysterious events start to occur, beginning with the arrival of a strange man in their town's only lodge. So how far Rose is willing to go to find out the mystery behind the dolls that look like little girls of the town?

    This is the first time that I'm reading any book by this author, although I've only heard good things about her previous book, sadly, her new book did not stir me up like it was supposed to do. Moreover, the mystery had a lot of strings unattached even at the end of the story. Apart from that, the road to the climax, for me, turned out to be pretty bumpy, and often, I found myself sliding down an unpredictable rabbit hole, meaning, an unforeseeable twist and turn here and there kept me engaged on a perilous journey to the climax. The town that the author has projected has lot of vividness in its description and it felt, coming alive right before my own eyes. Yes, sometimes, the descriptions of such a sleepy town gave me goosebumps.

    The author's writing style is good enough to keep the readers glued into the story line. The writing is also laced with gripping tension and suspense to make it an intriguing read for the readers. Also lots of psychological aspects of a human mind play a huge factor in the book, which a reader can understand while he/she is lost deep into the heart of the story. The narrative is articulate and kept close to reality. The pacing is really fast, as one after another incident will keep the readers turning the pages of this book frantically.

    The elements of mystery is well concocted into the story line by the author. The plot is heavy with unpredictable twists and turns that comes out of nowhere all of a sudden, and that will peak the readers' interest into the story line. The gripping tensions and edgy suspense is perfectly combined with a tightly packed plot, that ensures to give the readers a satisfying read all through out, although some odd plot turns make the story a bit uneven at times.

    The charters are well developed by the author by depicting them with enough realism and honesty so that readers can subtly relate to the plights of the characters. The main character, Rose, is a strong protagonist whose determination to get to the bottom of the mystery, even though leads her on a risky path, will make the readers fall for her, especially for her love towards her younger sister. Also Rose is no damsel-in-distress type of woman and tries to solve the mystery almost on her own, even though there is a romantic interest of hers constantly pounding at her.

    In a nutshell, the story is compelling enough to keep the brain cells of the readers charged till the very last page of this book.

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