Title: Coco’s Secret
Author: Niamh Green
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin (15th August 2013)
Source: Penguin Ireland
Format: Finished Copy
Coco Swan has always been embarrassed by her name . . .
With a name like Coco, people expect you to be as exotic and glamorous as the famous designer, not an ordinary-looking small-town antiques dealer who could win an award for living cautiously.
But when a vintage Chanel handbag turns up in a box of worthless bric-a-brac, Coco’s quiet world is suddenly turned upside down. Where did it come from? And is it just coincidence that it’s the same bag Coco’s late mother always wanted for her?
When Coco discovers a mysterious, decades-old letter hidden in the bag’s lining, she sets off on a quest to piece together the story behind it, stumbling across secrets that span three generations as she goes.
Could the beautiful Chanel bag be about to teach Coco more than she wants to learn? Or will it show her just where her heart can take her if she lets it lead the way?
Rating: **** (4 stars)
COCO’S SECRET by Niamh Greene tells the story of Coco Swan who lives in Ireland and runs an antiques shop. Coco bids on and wins a box of odds and ends at a local auction, in which she later uncovers a vintage Chanel bag that contains a letter which sends her on an adventure.
COCO’S SECRET was a really enjoyable read. Although Coco herself is a little older than me, I could really empathise with her as a character. I liked the fact that she is an introvert and is content to stay in the little village/town she grew up in. I also really enjoyed watching her journey through the book, as she allows herself to explore (a bit) the world outside of the familiar. I also liked the fact that Greene chose to link all the events of the novel together through Coco Chanel and her legacy.
One of the strongest aspects of this novel for me was the characters. Greene does a brilliant job in both writing Coco and her relationships – I especially loved the relationship between Coco and her gran, and between Coco and Cat. The friendship between Coco and Cat felt especially real and vibrant, and I really enjoyed reading the give and take in their relationship – I also liked the idea that they had been best friends since the second day of school.
The letter is definitely the thing that pulls the narrative of the novel together, and I thought that Greene used the device well. The letter enables Greene to move Coco from a static life into something new, and it also means that we get to meet and know some really interesting characters. As this book fits into the “chick lit” genre there is, of course, some romance and I really liked the way that it played out – that it doesn’t attract from the mystery of the letter.
COCO’S SECRET is one of the better books in the “chick-lit” genre that I have read. I liked the fact that the plot of the novel took precedence. My only slight complaint with the book was I don’t really feel that the first chapter adds anything to the story, although it is interesting. If you are a fan of the genre then you should check it out.