The Secret Path by Karen Swan
Regular readers to the blog must know by now that I am a huge fan of Karen Swan. This prolific author writes 2 books a year, one in summer, one in winter, all set in a vast array of locations. Each of these locations is extensively researched by the author herself. So how has Karen Swan fared in these lockdown times when with a deadline looming, she can't get to these locations. Well, quite well as it turns out!
The Plot (from the Back Cover)
At just 20 years old, Tara Tremain has everything; she's a trainee doctor, engaged to the man of her dreams - a passionate American biology student called Alex Carter. But just when life seems perfect, Alex betrays her in the worst way possible.
Ten years later she's moved on - with a successful career, good friends and a man who loves her. But when she's pulled back into her wealthy family's orbit for an unmissable party in the heart of Costa Rica, she finds herself flung into a crisis; a child is desperately ill and the only remedy is several days trek away, right in the heart of the jungle.
There's only one person who can help. But it's the man who shattered her heart a decade before. And how can she trust him of all people?
There is lots to enjoy here and it is the perfect novel to take away with you for a beach holiday and enjoy. However I think there are better Karen Swan novels out there for you to enjoy. This statement does come with a bit of a proviso though. The location of the novel is the jungles of Costa Rica, which are described beautifully. But I didn't quite get the same sense of connection or belonging I had with the Swedish archipelago or Italian squares featured in previous novels. And that is probably because I have no desire to visit the jungle.
I also had a few issues with Alex and took against him somewhat. Alex uses the heroine Tara to gain access to her billionaire father and I had a problem with that. I just could not warm to him and he seemed opportunistic to me, even when they were starting to re-unite. Choosing to leave a radio on so Tara's boyfriend could hear the passionate conversation they were having. He was just rotter for me!
There is lots to love here of course, the lifestyle of the family is interesting. Glamorous and where money is no object. The family relationships were close which was lovely. I loved the debate about modern Western style medicine vs more traditional routes using remedies from the land. I enjoyed learning about this and it felt very well-researched.
I appreciate I maybe sound a bit meh about this. This is certainly not the case. As a standalone, and if you have not read this author before it's a great start. But, I'm very used to awarding 4 or 5 stars to this author as she usually sets the bar so high. It's a nice addition to my Karen Swan collection, but I wouldn't necessarily reach for it if I was after an amazing beach read.