Review: The Secret Chord

October 25, 2015 Fiction 13 ★★★★★

Review: The Secret ChordTitle: The Secret Chord
Author: Geraldine Brooks
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: The beautiful writing and perfectly executed foreshadowing made it impossible for me to put this book down.

This is the story of King David. Combining parts of his life that have become myth with gritty historical detail, this story follows his growth from an obscure shepherd boy with nothing to a powerful ruler. When he begins to abuse that power, his seer Natan, is the only person who can speak the truth to him and who knows full truth of what he’s done and what disasters are yet to come.

As I’ve read more books, I feel as though I’m starting to identify writing techniques that work for me. Then I pick up a book like this one and am reminded how much I have yet to learn. It’s hard to identify everything that made this book so perfect! The author’s writing was immediately beautiful and intriguing. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened in the next sentence and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened in the next chapter. Every sentence seemed carefully crafted to draw me in. Having Natan, the seer, tell the story also added to the addictiveness of this story. The foreshadowing he provided was done perfectly. It never felt gimmicky and really built suspense.

The author’s beautiful nature descriptions and the complex character she created in David also won me over. I was surprised by just how gritty and violent parts of the story were. In some cases, the author shared just enough detail to be truly horrifying. If I’m honest, I’d avoid a book if another blogger said that about it and I would be making a mistake missing out on this great book. Although there are parts that are dark, there are parts that are transcendentally beautiful and it contained enough hope, that I would recommend this, even if you’re someone like me, who tends to skip books with gritty bits. This one of the best books I’ve read all year.

13 Responses to “Review: The Secret Chord”

  1. Naomi

    I’m so glad to hear you loved this book. I have read all of her other books and loved them, and I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to pick this one up. The premise doesn’t appeal to me as much as her other books, but, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that a good writer can turn anything into a good story. Have you read any of her others?

    • DoingDewey

      I also read Year of Wonders with my book club and I enjoyed that too. The writing was just as beautiful in this book and while the story was very different, I thought it was equally good in its own way. I’d recommend it 🙂

  2. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I’m glad you loved this book so much! Like Naomi, I’ve read all of Geraldine Brooks’s other books and enjoyed them, especially People of the Book. I wished this one could have gone on longer…I would like to have seen more of Solomon (Shlomo).

    • DoingDewey

      My mom has been recommending People of the Book to me for ages and I still haven’t gotten to it, but I really should! I loved this and Year of Wonders, so I’m sure I’ll love People of the Book too. I would have liked to see more of Shlomo too and if there were a sequel, I’d pick it up in a heartbeat 🙂

  3. Sarah's Book Shelves

    Wow! I’ve been seeing this on lots of “big books of Fall” type lists, but the premise didn’t appeal to me. But, I love some gorgeous writing and I love dark and gritty…your excitement has me rethinking this one.

  4. Priscilla

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! I read the book blurb on goodreads and it looks intriguing. You can’t go wrong with historical fiction 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      It’s true! Historical fiction is definitely one of my favorite genres 🙂 Plus this also felt like a myth retelling to me, which made it even better.

  5. susan

    I’m glad you liked this one. I have read a couple of her others. I wonder if I want to read about King David? Perhaps it’s more alluring a subject matter than I think.

    • DoingDewey

      I really enjoyed the focus of the story. It was both great historical fiction and an interesting retelling. And the author created a very complex character with David. I’d recommend it 🙂

  6. Geoff W

    I do hope you read others by Brooks! I haven’t read this one, but I’ve read a few others and they’ve all been incredibly beautiful.

    • DoingDewey

      I’ve also read Year of Wonders for my book club and enjoyed that, so I really should get to People of the Book! My mom’s been recommending it for ages and I’m sure I’d enjoy it just as much as these two 🙂

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.