Terry is the assistant principal and Year 6 teacher at a small town primary school. He loves his job and is popular among the students, their parents and the staff at the small school. However, with the new school year comes a new acting principal, Laurie. They clash from day one. Laurie thinks it’s strange that Terry – a male with no children – would work in a primary school. She keeps a close eye on him and uncovers a dark secret. Terry’s sudden retirement in the middle of the school year causes some uproar among his students. The teacher taking his place – Nina – is new to the town and not only has to deal with her own troubled past of a cheating husband but now also needs to manage questions from Terry’s students and try and win their respect.
Amidst all this, are other storylines of Joan who has to try and get on with her life following the death of her mother and of Rebecca and her family who are forced to flee their homeland and wait in limbo of being accepted as refugees. The lives of all these individuals in this little town intertwine in many ways to depict life in a small town in Australia.
The book had an interesting premise for me — a male teacher with a secret; it’s easy to suspect what it might be. However, the secret when revealed in the end highlights how we are quick to jump to conclusions. The Teacher’s Secret is an easy and intriguing read but frustrating in some parts. For instance, Terry seems to be intent on pushing the boundaries in spite of several warnings and as a reader you can’t help but wonder why he doesn’t just stay on the safe side. I also felt like I wanted to know more about Terry and Laurie as opposed to having characters like Joan or Rebecca or Mel who didn’t really seem to fit in the story as a whole.
Until next time,