Book review: The Secret Path by Karen Swan (plus your chance to win a copy)

The Secret Path is definitely a holiday read; it’s light, fluffy and in a time of COVID lockdowns, allows you to escape to the beaches and jungles of Costa Rica.  

The novel follows Tara Tremain, a ‘poor little rich girl’ who, when we meet her, is studying medicine and trying to hide the fact she is an heiress. She’s also deeply in love with her new boyfriend. As with all good novels we know that our heroine can’t have such a wonderful life; safe to say, things go awry for poor Tara (although I’m not going to add any spoilers here).  

Fast forward 10 years and the reader is still in the dark as to how those problems were resolved, but we know that Tara has moved on. Most of the story is spent slowly unravelling the past 10 years and discovering what happened to bring her to the present day.  

Described as a “thrilling romantic read,” it will come as no surprise that there are lots of angsty moments, sideways glances, and unspoken tensions. The Secret Path is the first novel I’ve read by Swan and I suspect, given her prolific output, that she’s found a formula that works. The story doesn’t really offer any surprises or twists, but it was pleasant , well-paced read. 

For me, the greatest pleasure was in discovering the location she’s used as the ‘home’ for this novel. Costa Rica sounds enchanting and far more diverse than I had thought. To be honest, it will now move to my ‘to investigate further’ travel destinations.  

This is one for those who love a light and mostly fluffy holiday read with a near guaranteed happy ending – and especially good for those who are also trapped in a ‘no travel’ bubble and wish to escape to more exotic places (even if it’s only virtually).  

Thanks to Macmillan and Lighthouse PR, we have a copy of The Secret Path to giveaway to one lucky Gazette reader. To be in to win, simply answer the following question: 

In which country is The Secret Path set? 

Email your answer, along with your full name and postal address, to to be in the draw. Entries close Tuesday 11 May – good luck! NB: Only entries within New Zealand can be considered. 

About Esther Perriam

Esther Perriam
Esther Perriam is a Director of Eldernet. She’s worked in the business for over 15 years and has been lucky to visit many of the older person’s services around the country. She’s never short of an opinion on…pretty much anything. Esther really loves reading and you’ll see plenty of book reviews authored by her. As a mother of two children there’s not much free time but if there is she also enjoys cooking (for grown-ups, not the kids!) and anything beach related in her spare time. Esther has presented at conferences around New Zealand and is happy to be contacted in regards to speaking or presenting at your event.

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