Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

July 31, 2013

keep a secret kinsella Plot summary (from the publisher): Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger….Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her…

Warning: Spoilers below!


  • Emma was likable and funny. Kinsella did well writing her as an “average girl”, which was of course the objective since that’s what Jack ostensibly noticed about her first.
  • Though it was unlikely that real life people in Jack and Emma’s situation would ever be a couple, these two were good together. They had a fair amount of chemistry in their dialogue, and shared some cute moments (like the “Leopold file”, with Emma making up a letter to put in the folder and everything). I don’t always end up rooting for the main couple in a chick lit/romance book, but I wanted Jack and Emma to succeed.
  • Another cute moment was Jack spilling some of his secrets to Emma. Even though I knew a scene like that had to be coming, Kinsella still managed to turn it into an “aw” moment.
  • Kinsella kept the novel short and sweet–unlike Undomestic Goddess, which overstayed its welcome by a big margin. This story chugged right along with few extraneous scenes or tangents.


  • Jack seemed too good to be true, which is often the case in these types of books. He should have had a few more obvious flaws present from the beginning instead of just being the young, rich, attractive, and competent male lead.
  • Emma’s secrets were kind of banal, weren’t they? I mean, she put orange juice in her co-worker’s plant and hates jazz even though she pretends to like it for her boyfriend’s sake?? That’s just stupid. Everyone has “secrets” like that. I know part of the idea here was to show that her secrets weren’t actually a big deal and she could come clean without any major consequences, but still. Kinsella could have at least included one juicy secret amongst the boring stuff.
  • I’m glad I don’t work for a company like Panther Cola. Harassing, mean-spirited co-workers and people who take credit for others’ ideas right in front of them? Do such companies actually exist in this day and age? I thought those scenarios only played out in books, movies, and TV shows.
  • I thought everything with Emma’s roommates was pretty silly. From the “lesbian crush” (one random dream doesn’t make it a full-on crush, does it???) to the dancing practice disguised as sex to borrowing designer clothes without asking… none of it was interesting or necessary.


Can You Keep a Secret? was my third Sophie Kinsella novel. I really liked Twenties Girl, but really disliked Undomestic Goddess. Can You Keep a Secret? falls right in the middle of those other titles. Kinsella’s wonderful writing remains a draw, but the plot weaknesses in her books are starting to become an issue for me. I give this one 3 stars out of 5, and plan to take a break from this author for a while.

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