2021 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release · romance

New Release Book Review: The Secret Path by Karen Swan

Title: The Secret Path

Author: Karen Swan

Published: April 27th 2021

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 400

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 3 stars

* Karen Swan’s 20th novel *

In Costa Rica, amid startling white beaches and hot, dense rainforests, the luxurious world of the super-rich butts up against something darker, something sinister. . .

Tara Tremain has worked hard to leave the controlling grasp of her extremely affluent family far behind. With her own career in medicine, she doesn’t need the Tremains’ expectations weighing her down any more. But pulled back into the family’s orbit one last time for an unmissable party in the jungles of Costa Rica, she finds herself flung into action: a local boy is desperately ill and she must trek for days into the jungle to save his life.

What Tara could never have predicted is that the one person who can help her in this impossible journey is Alex Carter, the man who destroyed her life ten years ago . . .


International bestselling author Karen Swan celebrates her twentieth release with her new novel, The Secret Path. A story of wealth, aspiration, family, love, survival and adventure, The Secret Path is another escapist style read from Karen Swan.

The Secret Path follows Tara Tremain, a young and ambitious trainee doctor. Tara appears to have the world at her feet, a promising new career in medicine awaits and she is in the perfect relationship with a handsome American student. But Tara’s life comes crashing down when the man of her dreams betrays her and breaks her heart. The Secret Path then moves forward in time to a decade later. Despite her previous setbacks, Tara has managed to overcome these roadblocks to achieve success in her work and love life. Just when Tara thinks that her life is back on track again, she receives an invitation to a family party in Costa Rica. Soon after Tara arrives, she is plunged into a health crisis and what results is a deadly trek through the dense jungle surrounds of Costa Rica. As a life hangs in the balance, Tara must summon all the strength and reserves she can to help save the life of a young child. This unforgettable and perilous quest will send Tara back into the arms of an old lover, but will she be able to help in time?

The Secret Path is a celebration piece for popular author Karen Swan. This latest release from the British author marks the twentieth published novel by the bestselling writer. This notable achievement made me reflect on my own experiences of Karen Swan’s books over the years. I think I have read around half of Swan’s impressive backlist, that’s a fair few destinations covered thanks to the book travel adventure queen.

The Secret Path follows Swan’s previous successful book narrative formula, where her lead female protagonist is whisked away on an unexpected adventure to an exotic destination. In The Secret Path, Swan’s lead Tara Tremain learns an important life lesson on her expedition to Costa Rica. Before we embark on Tara’s life changing exotic adventure, we are given an insight into her life as a trainee doctor in London. This segment of the story gives the reader a full back history and grounding to the future elements of this unfolding tale. In part one of the novel, we also bear witness to the events and emotional happenings that will impact Tara for years to come.

Once The Secret Path forges forward in time, the action and storyline picks up a bit. We are whisked away to the breathtaking locale of Costa Rica. This is where Karen Swan’s writing shines. It is obvious that Swan has undertaken a great of deal research on this region as we are given a rich insight into the landscape, temperature, culture, politics and society as a whole. Swan also uses a health and medicinal/healing direction with her story, linking in Tara’s career as a doctor to a health crisis that takes place during her trip to Costa Rica. This element of the story sets the scene for a dangerous trek into the heart of Costa Rica’s dense jungle-based terrain. Tara finds her spirit and resolve tested more than a few times over in this tale of survival.

Swan’s books are traditionally known for their standout locations and complicated love stories. The Secret Path is a prime example of a traditional Karen Swan read with an exotic destination, a problematic love story and a solid character-based journey. For anyone who is familiar with Swan’s writing patterns, this one will be sure to strike a chord. For me personally, I think that the Costa Rica element is what compelled me to read on, rather than the story, which I found to be pleasant but not overly fantastic. However, thanks to The Secret Path, I am adding Costa Rica to my list of possible future travel destinations.

If you are in need of a summer or escapist vibe during this time of lockdowns and restrictions, The Secret Path is a tale that will be sure to draw appeal.

The Secret Path by Karen Swan was published on 27th April 2021 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Secret Path, Karen Swan, visit here.

*Thanks extended to Pan Macmillan for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.


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