Secret Smile Summary

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Secret Smile

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Miranda dated Brendan for a short period—eight times in all—before coming home one day to find him reading her diary. She tells him the relationship cannot continue and thinks that is the last she will see of him. Brendan, however, arranges to meet Kerry, Miranda’s older sister, and charms her into falling in love with him. He lies about his breakup with Miranda, saying she is heartbroken over it. He connives and manipulates her family, her best friend, her boss. Everyone believes Brendan’s side of the story, including hints that Miranda is mentally unbalanced.

Brendan’s predatory ways continue, and he is able to slant bystanders’ views that Miranda is the one stalking him. Soon Kerry and Brendan are engaged and looking to buy a house, but their plans fall through and they ask to move in with Miranda. Against her better judgment, she agrees, but soon must flee her own apartment to stay sane. Then the unthinkable happens, and Miranda’s loathing of Brendan turns to terror as he methodically ruins the lives of Miranda’s family and friends.

Chilling in its depiction of a predator pursuing his victim, realistic in characterization, Secret Smile will hold the reader enthralled and cheering for Miranda. Then comes the final unexpected twist of this psychological thriller, making one wonder whether Miranda is as guilty of mental instability as her stalker.