Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
“I want to choose. I’m not the nanny you can send away whenever you’re finished with me. And I’m not your prisoner. I belong to myself before I belong to you.”
Skye Warren’s Best Kept Secret is the sweeping conclusion to her Rochester Trilogy, a trilogy loosely based on Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Just as we see in that story, tragedy and distance must help our heroines find their strength and allow them to stand in it in the face of overpowering, alpha-heroes. Best Kept Secret exists to finalize the story for Beau and Jane as well as show the internal power that Jane has realized since the first book of the series, Private Property. Jane has developed a strong sense of self and endeavors to live the best possible life whether she’s with Beau or not. The female power that exudes from this story makes it a solid ending to the trilogy.
Warren has been so careful in crafting this trilogy that there are moments in Best Kept Secret that felt a bit messy. I won’t divulge the story details because there are various plot points that are spoilers. Even with parts that felt a bit underdeveloped and skimmed over, there are sweeping cinematic moments of the book that floor you. You can see them so distinctly in your mind that they grow goosebumps on your skin.
Thankfully, everything ends well but there is quite an emotional and eventful journey to that point. Warren makes her readers wait for it until the final chapter. When she does, she provides a simple epilogue to tie up the story with the promise of future chapters on Radish, a new story-based app. I love this because I hated leaving Beau and Jane. Their epic love isn’t fully realized even by the Best Kept Secret’s end, and you leave this story wanting more of these characters. Additionally, there is another love affair teased in this story that requires some additional storytelling. While you will be happy with Beau and Jane’s happy ending, you won’t feel satiated with their end.
All in all, as a lover of Jane Eyre, I appreciate the way that Skye Warren developed a story inspired by that book. That she choose a Latinx heroine added another layer; however, I would have liked to see that distinction unpacked a bit more in this story as it had in the first two books. I do think Best Kept Secret brought an apt finality to this trilogy, but don’t be surprised if you want more.
In love and romance,