My favourite summer read: Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella


Nervous flyer Emma is sitting on a turbulent plane. She really thinks that this could be her last moment. So, naturally enough, she starts telling the man sitting next to her – quite a dishy American, but she’s too frightened to notice – all her secrets. How she scans the backs of intellectual books and pretends she’s read them. How she’s not sure if she has a G-spot, and whether her boyfriend could find it anyway. How she feels like a fraud at work – everyone uses the word ‘operational’ all the time but she hasn’t a clue what it means. How she once threw a troublesome client file in the bin. If ever there was a bare soul, it’s hers.

She survives the flight, of course, and the next morning the famous founding boss of the whole mega corporation she works for is coming for a look at the UK branch. As he walks around, Emma looks up and realises…

It’s the man from the plane.

What will he do with her secrets? He knows them all – but she doesn’t know a single one of his. Or… does she?


Sometimes there’s nothing better than picking up a good, lighthearted, chick-lit book to put you in a good mood.

Sophie Kinsella definitely knows how to make her characters come alive in a truly comedic way. This was one of the reasons I fell in love with her 2003 novel, Can You Keep a Secret?, ten years ago. I have read it at least once every year and it still always leaves me wanting more.

If you’re a fan of Kinsella, you will already know her characters can tend to be a bit ditsy, especially if the Shopaholic series is anything to go by. Can You Keep a Secret? starts off with a similar trend, following a young woman’s cringe-worthy, romantic journey.

The main character, Emma Corrigan, seems to have it all – a great job, a lovely boyfriend and great friends. All of it seems great on paper. But one minor turbulent plane journey scares her into sharing all of her biggest and most shameful secrets to the man sitting next to her – She lied on her CV about having a C in her maths GSCE and she’s having doubts about her boyfriend, Connor. Little does she know, the handsome, American man on the plane is about to turn her world upside down. He is in fact her boss!

Jack Harper is the big boss at Panther Cola, a multi-national cola company based in London, where Emma works. He is the funniest character Kinsella has created as he keeps Emma on her toes throughout the entire book. Harper is mischievous, with a very kind and sensitive side. But he’s also keeping a secret of his own.

There are some serious moments in the book too. Emma has a difficult relationship with her parents. She feels neglected by them and sees them favouring her mean, snooty cousin. We also get a troubled side to Jack who lost his business partner, Pete, a few years before meeting Emma. Pete was also his best friend.

The novel values friendship. Jack’s loyalty to his deceased friend is tested when he meets Emma. She also has a rocky relationship with her best friend, Lissy, because of the secrets.

Even though Emma does come across as a bit dumb to start with, Kinsella shows that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. By the end of the story, we as readers see Emma become a fiery, independent and strong-willed woman, who doesn’t care what others think about her. I really liked this character because she was relatable. She was silly at times but also had a strong head on her shoulders and began to show she was more intelligent than she, and us as readers, thought. Emma has flaws and insecurities just like everyone else. Kinsella’s has a knack for making a reader becoming invested in a character. Emma goes through a lot of awkward moments and it’s hard not to feel embarrassed for her.

Can You Keep A Secret? is written in the first person, told from Emma’s perspective. Like all of Kinsella’s books it is easy to read in one sitting. It will have you laughing out loud until the very end. This book has a lot of substance and didn’t drag. For me, this is by far the best work she has written and I would definitely recommend this as the perfect holiday read.

Rating: 4.5/5 

If you haven’t read this hilarious book yet, I suggest you pick up a copy! Comment below or tweet me @bookwormgirl_24 your favourite summer read. 

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