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A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison

My rating: 3 of 5

ebook, 270 pages
Women Fiction
Published 2015 by Random House
Available on: Paperback, Kindle, Hardcover, Audible

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What they say:

“An emotional detective story with every human layer laid bare.”
New York Journal of Books

“Ellison is a tantalizing storyteller…moving her story forward with cinematic verve.”
USA Today

“Rich with suspense . . . Lovely writing guides us through, driven by a quiet generosity.”
San Francisco Chronicle (Book Club Pick)

“Delicious, lazy-day reading. Just don’t underestimate the writing.”
Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 Editors’ Pick

“Part psychological thriller, part character study, I peeled back the pages of this book as fast as I could.”
Huffington Post

What I have to say:

A Small Indiscretion is a book I picked up because of its description. I didn’t much care about the comparisons because I haven’t read the titles it is compared to. The synopsis of the book talked about how a photo awakens an old obsession. I found that utterly dark, dramatic and intriguing.

A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison Book Cover

I always talk about the covers in my reviews. While it is a pretty feminine cover, it looks a bit generic to me. The girl’s messed up bun and the fonts add a bit of drama, but it’s not an unforgettable cover that would normally make me want to read this book. And it’s not a cover that tells you a story, nor it gives you an idea of what the book will be about.

Do you remember that line from Titanic, “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets.” A Small Indiscretion is a book that makes you dive into Annie’s ocean of secrets. It is the story of Annie, a 40-something year-old woman who lives you could say an uneventful normal family life and has it all, a loving husband (Jonathan), and three children: Robbie, Polly, and Clara, as well as a successful career. But you know what the say: no family is perfect. Annie’s life gets suddenly disrupted when a secret from her youth comes back to haunt her. And if that wasn’t enough to handle her son Robbie has an accident that leaves him in a comma. Needless to say, the life of her family is altered and forever changed.

The premise is a good premise that calls for an emotional family drama. Even though I liked the story, I had trouble with the way the author chose to tell it. I didn’t enjoy the constant time jumps. I’ve enjoyed other books that use this format of having the reader go from past to present and vice versa. But I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it with this book.

The book is divided into two parts. Part one didn’t do it for me. Instead of building up the conflict and making me feel totally engaged, it felt endless, boring and confusing. I felt like I read too many chapters for a story that could be figured out since the beginning and told with fewer words. Too many chapters for a secret or conflict that wasn’t as shocking or dramatic as the blurb of the book made it sound like. It really is a small indiscretion if you compare it to real family dramas of our times. Part two was better than part one. In the end I was glad it all worked out, although without spoiling it for you, I felt like it would’ve been nice to know what happened when Annie met Robbie in detail, instead of leaving the reader to imagine it.

A Small Indiscretion is a likeable story. Even though I couldn’t relate to the characters or the “conflict”, I never felt like I wanted to DNF the book. On the contrary, despite the confusion from the first part, by the second part, I found myself wanting to know how the story ended. I gave it 3 stars because I figured it all out early in the story. Also it just didn’t shock me or made a permanent dramatic mark on me; I couldn’t really feel a connection with Annie and in consequence bond with her story enough to give it 4. But 3 stars is a good rating in my book.

I don’t usually feel age affects the reading experience but with this book and how I couldn’t relate to the story that much, I feel like I would recommend it to anyone who is in Annie’s age group or who can identify with the stage in her life somehow.

If you’re into stories about family secrets that are unexpectedly unveiled and how they affect everyone involved, this is the book for you. Book clubs might enjoy this story. I can see discussions about marriage, handling conflicts, infidelity, unexpected pregnancies and their effects, the impulsiveness of youth and its effect in your adult years, separation and its effects on children, etc., arise from this book. There’s a reading guide you can download at the author’s website.

In the end, while it wasn’t as dramatic as it sounds, I do have to agree with the synopsis when it says that this book is “a story of denial, passion, forgiveness—and the redemptive power of love.”


NewWords Button by Bloggeretterized

  • Grovel. verb. Act in an obsequious manner in order to obtain someone’s forgiveness or favor.
  • Cesspool. noun. An underground container for the temporary storage of liquid waste and sewage.
  • Acquiesce. verb. Accept something reluctantly but without protest.
  • Bedfellows. noun. A person or thing that is associated or connected with another
Words have different meanings. Those presented here are as used in the book read. All definitions from Dictionary.com


Lessons Learnt Button by Bloggeretterized

This one makes you think and think.

It’s not always wise to assume that just because the surface of the world appears undisturbed, life is where you left it.


Unrequited love is not what it feels like… #sigh

…unrequited love is the hardest kind to shed because it is not really love at all. It is a half-love, and we are forever stomping around trying to get hold of the other half



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I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links as stated in my disclosure policy.