27 September 2013

Book Review: Coco's Secret by Niamh Greene

"Coco Swan has always been embarrassed by her name.

With a name like Coco, she thinks people expect her 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 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: 4/5

You can buy Coco's Secret as a paperback and an eBook now.

I'll be honest, I haven't read any of Niamh Greene's books before, I have some on my bookshelf but I have sadly never gotten around to reading them. I wasn't hugely taken by the cover of this one, I wasn't sure it would be something that I'd enjoy but when I saw that lots of my fellow bloggers were raving about it on Twitter, I couldn't resist giving it a go and seeing for myself what the fuss was about. I'm so pleased that I did because I really loved the warm story inside, and I really enjoyed Greene's writing, I'm certainly going to be reading her books from now on!

Coco Swan feels a bit like she's been cursed by her name... people hear Coco and assume she must be uber-glamourous like her namesake Coco Chanel, whereas Coco herself couldn't be any more different. She works as an antique dealer with her grandmother and she loves her job. However, when Coco finds a vintage Chanel bag in amongst a box she won at an auction, she's shocked and decides that she needs to find the owner of the bag, sure it must be a mistake that the bag has ended up in there at all. She soon finds an old letter in the pocket of the bag, and it sends her on a mission to find the bag's owner and reunite them with their precious letter. Will Coco be able to part with the gorgeous Chanel bag, but will she also be able to find the bag's owner and the letter's author too?

I really enjoyed everything about this book. I loved how Coco discovered the vintage Chanel bag, the whole mystery that unravelled because of that, and I also really enjoyed reading about Coco's family life with her grandmother, and her job too. Everything about it was very readable, and I loved escaping into Coco's world every night when I picked up the book. Coco herself was very likeable as a main character, a quiet girl who likes her creature comforts, loves imagining the stories behind the old things in her shop and is just a lovely woman. She's very caring too, and I loved the relationship between her and her grandmother, the woman who raised her after the young death of her mother when she was just a child. The pair are very close and it was touching to read how close and open they were with each other, there were certainly some funny moments in there too!

The whole idea of the bag, especially because it was a Chanel bag was special, and I loved how the mystery unravelled. As a reader, you're sent down one path believing something, but I loved how Greene throws a curveball and sends you in an unexpected direction - I didn't expect it at all and I really enjoyed reading it. The way the story unravels and the pace of it is perfect - it doesn't rush, instead it meanders along slowly, telling us its secrets in good time and letting this happen at a believable pace. Things don't always go perfectly either which is quite true to life, so there's a good touch of realism to the book. The setting was beautiful too, a small Irish village, it sounded so quaint and you can see why Coco didn't want to leave.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and everything about it to be honest. It's a very touching read, with lots of emotion and it certainly touched my heart once I had finished. The ending in particular felt perfect, it really had a perfect conclusion to the story, and I felt satisfied once I'd turned the final page that everything had happened as I wanted it to! I really enjoyed meeting all of the character with Coco on her journey, it was a fascinating read that opens your mind up to a different period of time, but also exposes many different kinds of relationships within the one story, and I think this is what I enjoyed most of all about the book. Greene's writing was wonderful to read, very evocative and full of emotion, and she really brings alive the story inside your mind as you're reading, you just end up desperate to find out how it's all going to end. A super book that I highly recommend, I can't wait to read more by Niamh Greene.


  1. Sounds good! And I love the cover! It's going on my Book Depository wishlist.

  2. I wasn't massively drawn to this one when it arrived but your review has made me want to read it now!