"At just 12 years old, Nora is sent to Kent to escape the London bombings of World War II. Adopted by the Rivers family, Nora befriends their daughter Grace, and the two girls are soon inseparable. But the Rivers family and the small village have their secrets, and so does Nora. Will a jealous crime and years of secrecy be their undoing?"
"On the glamorous Middle Eastern social circuit, Saba rubs shoulders with
double agents and diplomats, movie stars and smugglers. Some want her
voice, some her friendship, and some the secrets she is perfectly placed
"Henry and Nicola are burdened with a terrible secret, while cheerful
nurse Winnie finds herself on the holiday from hell. John has arrived on
an impulse after he missed a flight at Shannon; eccentric Freda claims
to be a psychic - and a part-time hairdresser. Then there's Nora, a
silent watchful older woman who seems ready to disapprove at any
I think it is safe to say that "secrets", and their use in book blurbs especially, has far exceeded a normal, healthy amount.
Secrets are noted as a selling point in so many blurbs these days (and I have to say mostly "book club" books) that they have come to mean nothing. Telling me the pages, characters or settings of the story have secrets no longer tells me anything about the books I'm looking at. If I see "as secrets are revealed, will [character name]'s world fall apart DOT DOT DOT" (or similar), I instantly think "Oh, here we go again... generic 'Book'."
And that's it. I automatically class Generic Book as a secondary priority to the other demands and uses of my time, because they (the author, the publishers, whoever) couldn't be bothered to provide me with anything more tempting than over-used "secrets". Here's an idea - why not tempt me with the secret itself?! Why not lure me with themes? With a paraphrased cliffhanger? Anything but a vapid allusion to a "secret"!!
I've taken quite an opposition to it, as you can tell, and I think there is an explaination:
I have been let down too many times by the promise of earth-shattering "secrets". Usually, they just aren't that big a deal.
So let's stop promising what wont be delivered. Generating mystery is a marketing tactic that is proven to be successful, but can we please get a bit smarter with it? Publishers can write tweets in 140 characters that entice me enough to click their bit.ly's - SO WHY CANT THEY BE THAT CLEVER ON ACTUAL BOOKS?!
Right. I'm getting a bit too capital-y now, so I'll leave it there ;) But surely I'm not alone? Are there any blurb conventions that turn you right off of books? Leave comments below!
The Big Secret
Emma is a designer living in Bristol, UK. A self-confessed stationery addict, book lover and TV sci-fi geek, she enjoys sketching zombie-eyed women and finding her next source of inspiration in the pages on the bookshelf.