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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 4 star ratings
3 reviews
)

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2.8 out of 5
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    A Super Festive Mystery!

    Trish Harnetiaux writes a hugely engrossing and entertaining début novel. I love the odd Christmas story, and I am morbidly curious about the sinister, darker side of a good festive story, so I couldn't resist reading The Secret Santa. Architect and estate agent Henry and Claudine Calhoun are hosting their company’s lavish Christmas party in a remote mansion, and they're hoping it will be a night to remember. The chosen venue, Montague House in affluent Aspen, was the first house that Henry and Claudine built and sold. Things are going well, but the festive mood quickly turns sour when a sinister gift is unwrapped in the Secret Santa gift exchange. The lavish mountain lodge is isolated and cut off due to heavy snow, trapping the guests inside and it soon becomes apparent that one of the party is out for revenge... As one of the guests unwraps her gift, memories of a night years ago come flashing back to Claudine. A night that became a dark secret that Claudine has kept closeted away for years to help protect Henry and their legacy. The husband and wife hosts will do anything to protect their darkest secrets and as the story unfolds, the reader learns exactly what happened that horrifying night. Trish Harnetiaux delivers an unrestrained and exuberant story of drama in this toxic concoction of secrets, lies and deception. Taut and compelling, it was a cracking story and a book that I revelled in all the way through. The main setting, the lodge in the mountains, on an incredibly wintery and snowy day and no phone signal, is the perfect creepy, eerie setting for something catastrophic to occur. It brought no disappointments and the clever plotting enabled me to fully grasp the motivations of the protagonists. The story was told from three viewpoints, power couple Henry and Claudine, and superstar singer, Zara, who is considering buying the property in Aspen, and the reader is made aware of precisely what this property means to each of them. The shifting of perspectives between Henry, Claudine and Zara was handled with a deft touch by Trish Harnetiaux and the masterful twists throughout paved the way for an enthralling and fulfilling denouement. I totally relished this abundant locked-room mystery with it's seasonal edge, and I would love to read more from this gifted story-teller. I am delighted to be able to recommend The Secret Santa. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Cornerstone via NetGalley at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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    Not one I will think of reading again

    Disjointed and therefore a bit confusing. Not really my type of read although bits were amusing. My preference is for a ‘continuous’ rather than jumping around between stories from individual characters.
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    A little Disjointed

    The way this story is formatted makes for a difficult read. Having a different character speak in different chapters is sometimes confusing. The setting was good but the conclusion seemed rushed.Not a favourite.
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