Tea Cup Review of ‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt


My favourite question to ask another person is “what are you currently reading?” I love every chance I can get talking about books and it is always a great way to expand my own personal knowledge of the written universe. How else can one discover all the amazing novels out there in the world?!

When I was talking about “current reads” a few months ago, Donna Tartt’s popular novel ‘The Secret History’ came up in conversation. I had heard nothing about it so after some investigation I soon discovered that this book rated over an average of 4 out of 5 stars on the app ‘Goodreads.’ This was an extremely good sign that this book kicks ass and Ms Donna Tartt had got my attention.

What follows after me asking someone if they’re enjoying their current read is that I feel compelled to want to read it myself. I want to see what all the fuss is about and jump on the bandwagon for talking about how glorious this text is. I guess you could say I definitely have #bookfomo, defined as a fear of missing out of what everyone else is reading…  I can’t help it, I always need to be in the know of all things books. And that was all it took for me to end up at the bookstore the very next day getting my hands on my very own copy of ‘The Secret History.’

And after purchasing this beautiful Popular Classics edition of the book I had heard so many great things about, ‘The Secret History’ suffered the same fate as more than half of my book collection. It sadly fell into my “too be read pile…” And I just went on to the next book that I was obsessing about at the time…


A very small selection of the books I want to read, but don’t seem to find the time for… 

Even though I continued on with my devilish book buying ways, ‘The Secret History’ still captivated me. I believe that mystery lay simply within the title, a secret waiting to be uncovered. Eventually as the School Holidays arrived, I felt it would be the right time to start this book. And as a recommendation to you dear reader, this book would be perfect to take away with you on holidays. My edition has a massive 629 pages and initially dear reader I was frightened by this number. The little bookish voice in my head whispered that “You could be reading two or three more books and still meet this number of pages…” Nonetheless, as soon as I started reading this story I just couldn’t stop.

‘The Secret History’ follows narrator Richard Papen as he reflects on his experiences of College life studying Greek at his New England College. As well as establishing his own sense of purpose and identity after moving from California, Richard becomes caught up with the likes of five classmates. Each of the five students has their own quirky personality and Richard finds it difficult to get a reading on all of them. It is so strange to read how he is both intimidated by and in awe of these people. Tartt writes Richard’s experiences as both within and without of the action of the story. She beautifully blends one’s desire to be their own person as well as fitting in with the crowd. It is nothing short of extraordinary…

The story investigates the circumstances surrounding a death of a student at the elite College and how Richard and his friends are connected with the chain of events. From the early pages of the story there is a brewing sense of mystery and you find yourself drawn in and wanting to know all the answers to this tale.


If you dear reader have an interest or passion for Greek language, history and literature, then this read is definitely the one for you. Tartt constantly references myths and legends throughout the text and at times I felt like I was in the classroom with these characters. The more I think about the reasons why I loved this book so much, the more I realise I can’t explain it. Tartt has such a way with words that I was absolutely captivated from the early chapters of this story. On the surface level it is a very simple tale of self discovery and belonging, however it will leave dark thoughts lingering in your mind for a long time after reading it. It’s one of those books that would transfer great as a film if it was done properly!

I have never read anything like ‘The Secret History,’ and I feel it is one of those tales that I will eventually pick up and read again. For now, I feel it is sufficient enough to do everything I can to bring this book up in conversation and talk about how marvelous it is. This book deserves nothing less than 5 tea cups out of 5.  (There were many cups of peppermint tea enjoyed with this read)

While you dear reader should definitely go out and borrow or purchase ‘The Secret History,’ I will be continuing with my “too be read” pile that is pictured above 🙂 It may take me a while, but I’m hoping to discover some more literary gems along the way…

Happy reading,

Miss Book Dependent xo

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