Friday 14 January 2022

Book ~ "All Her Little Secrets" (2021) Wanda M. Morris

From Goodreads ~ Ellice Littlejohn seemingly has it all: an Ivy League law degree, a well-paying job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, great friends and a “for fun” relationship with a rich, charming executive - her white boss, Michael.

But everything changes one cold January morning when Ellice goes to meet Michael ... and finds him dead with a gunshot to his head.

And then she walks away like nothing has happened. Why? Ellice has been keeping a cache of dark secrets, including a small-town past and a kid brother who’s spent time on the other side of the law. She can’t be thrust into the spotlight - again.

But instead of grieving this tragedy, people are gossiping, the police are getting suspicious, and Ellice, the company’s lone black attorney, is promoted to replace Michael. While the opportunity is a dream-come-true, Ellice just can’t shake the feeling that something is off.

When she uncovers shady dealings inside the company, Ellice is trapped in an impossible ethical and moral dilemma. Suddenly, Ellice’s past and present lives collide as she launches into a pulse-pounding race to protect the brother she tried to save years ago and stop a conspiracy far more sinister than she could have ever imagined.

Ellice is Black and grew up very poor in Georgia.  She and her younger brother, Sam, are fatherless and their mother is not going to win any mother of the year awards.  Thankfully she has Vera, a neighbour, to turn to.  Ellice works hard and gets a scholarship and heads off to school and doesn't look back.  She feels bad about leaving her brother behind but she knows she has to get out, leaving her past behind.

Today she is a Black lawyer in her forties in Atlanta and has been having an affair with Michael, her white boss, for years.  They have a meeting scheduled for first thing in the morning and when Ellice arrives, she finds Michael dead in his office, an apparent suicide.  Rather than dealing with it and getting involved (so she can keep her past safe), she races to her office and pretends to react when he is discovered.  Ellice is immediately promoted to Michael's role which she should be pleased about but she knows there is something funky going on.  She is the lone Black on the executive committee made up of older white men and none are showing her respect.

When it's determined that Michael had been murdered and Ellice discovers there may be some shifty business happening in the company, she wonders if she made the right decision in accepting the promotion.  As she starts checking into things, she realizes she has to start watching her back as she suspects she may be framed.

I liked this book ... the story was interesting and intense at times.  I liked the writing style ... it's written in first person perspective in Ellice's voice.  Ellice had everything but couldn't escape her past.  As a head's up, there is violence and swearing.  It's the debut novel from this author and I look forward to more in the future.

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