The Secret History

The Secret History

Fiction & Poetry, Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Paperback Published on: 27/05/1993
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Bookseller Reviews

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The Secret History
Deliciously dark
Tartt is officially the queen of darkness with this book! It is about the dis-functional relationship between a close knit group of college students and i... READ MORE
Hannah Mulligan Ward at Woking
The Secret History
Darkly Compelling
This compelling novel goes to show what happens when smart people do bad things. Employing an agile yet rich prose, Tartt characteristically creates a atmo... READ MORE
Jonathan Patel
The Secret History
Dark and Troubling
Thought-provoking throughout, this is no ordinary campus novel. Donna Tartt mixes ancient Greek, American college life and cold-blooded murder to create a ... READ MORE
Harriet Hughes at Lancaster
The Secret History
The secret is out!
I have yet to come across anyone who has read this book who didn't like it; I am sure they must exist somewhere but finding them is near impossible. In my ... READ MORE
Tim Mowbray at London Wall
The Secret History
subtle chaos
A slow-paced book with unpredictable injections of acceleration. At first, I felt that the prologue reduced the impact of the first chapter, however, Tartt... READ MORE
Ronnie, Bluewater Bookseller
The Secret History
The best book ever written
WOW... After wanting to pick this book up for years but being quite intimidated by the sheer size and contents of The Secret History... I ended up LOVING ... READ MORE
Léa at Brighton
The Secret History
If you ever read one book in your life - let it be this one
WOW... After wanting to pick this book up for years but being quite intimidated by the sheer size and contents of The Secret History... I ended up LOVING ... READ MORE
Léa at Brighton
The Secret History
The perfect book all around
I put off reading this book for years and years. I was scared it wouldn’t meet my expectations, or would be hard to understand, but the second i picked it ... READ MORE
emily stanton
The Secret History
This an excellent book exploring how the desire to be accepted and validated by others, can lead to the sense of self, being dissolved and make us do irrev... READ MORE
The Secret History
Off-beat, intelligent thriller!
It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. Intense with twists that keep you guessing til the last page.
James at Chiswick


Truly deserving of the accolade Modern Classic, Donna Tartt's cult bestseller The Secret History is a remarkable achievement - both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780140167771
  • Number of pages: 640
  • Weight: 440g
  • Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 34 mm

Customer Reviews

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The Secret History
The Secret History
I read this book more than thirteen years ago when it was first published and thought it was the best book I had ever read. I still maintain this opinion t... READ MORE
Trudy Hope
The Secret History
Don’t honestly know how to put it into words.
The Secret History is a strange book for me, while I certainly didn’t dislike it, I don’t know what to think of it, in a good way. The changes in how I fel... READ MORE
Aidan H E  Rogers
The Secret History
very good novel, long but still a great read,sometimes a little dark.The book is narrated through the main character Richard ,and through his eyes the stor... READ MORE
Robert Plimmer
The Secret History
Amorality, language and thought and guilt
It would be incredibly difficult to find a first novel as accomplished as this. Tartt has crafted, seemingly at the first attempt a compelling, and beautif... READ MORE
Tim Dumble
The Secret History
The Secret History
Absolutely fantastic!I was hooked from beginning to end and just didn't want to put this book down. With so many secrets and twists in the pliot it just gr... READ MORE
Hannah Shanks
The Secret History
The Secret History
Just brilliant. In many ways the exact opposite of Rules of Attraction, but just as great. Less cool, but more gripping. Fabulous, fabulous writing, a ripp... READ MORE
Mark Scott
The Secret History
I read this after I read The Goldfinch so it was interesting to see how Donna Tartt has changed as a writer. Strongly recommend this book to everyone.
Books Loves
The Secret History
The Secret History
The Secret History
Well worth reading
I didn't think I was going to like this book. Initially struggling to find myself at ease with the authors writing style I wasn't hopeful of staying with ... READ MORE
The Secret History
The Secret History
A group of kids at an elite New England college go beyond boundaries of morality and slip into murderous evil. Read this as part of a book club choice,... READ MORE
The Secret History
nothing i can write will ever give this novel the justice it deserves
i’ve read this so many times now and i’ll never tire from it. the characters are so complex and wonderful, and tartt’s writing is absolutely beautiful. the... READ MORE
Sally Lewis
The Secret History
This book is the perfect summation of aesthetic obsession within academia and is an incredible work. Tartt’s imagery and description draws the reader in so... READ MORE
Charlotte Coultharde-Steer
The Secret History
This book is the type of book that stays with you. Tartt’s writing style is so unique and never seems to give you a wholly trustable and reliable narrator ... READ MORE
Dominic Loxley
The Secret History
Nicely Done
I’d heard good things about this book ever since it was published, but for various reasons had not got around to reading it (or indeed any of Donna’s other... READ MORE
Derek Duerden
The Secret History
3 stars, but would still recommend
My biggest problem with this novel is that it felt like wasted potential, especially in the second half which was very weak and drags on and on with very l... READ MORE
Stephanie Holmes
The Secret History
Absolutely amazing
The Secret History is an extremely well written book, and in my opinion it is one of the best books I think I’ve ever read. Even though I say that about al... READ MORE
Jane Smith
The Secret History
Haunting. Compelling. Charming. Enthralling.
Ultimately, my favourite book of all time. An absolutely amazing read. Loved the print, the way it looked - and of course, the story/characters/etc.
C. Lockley
The Secret History
Absolutely brilliant!
Such a thought provoking story which highlights how easy it is to get caught up with the pack. All of the characters are brought to life and you feel you ... READ MORE
Esta Siggs
The Secret History
I can only say that you should buy this book. It has very quickly become my favourite. The characters are so pretentious and utterly unlikeable, and yet I... READ MORE
Evie Bignell
The Secret History
Engrossing thriller
Clever and beautifully written story. The twists and turns of a murder and the aftermath. Brilliant!
Sylvie Parsons
The Secret History
Dark Academia!
Incredible novel, gripping, horrifying. Loved the descriptions of the characters. Recommended.
Sarah Smith
The Secret History
100% recommend
I loved reading this book, I was so hooked throughout! The complexity and development of the characters made it so enticing and I love the imagery and aes... READ MORE
The Secret History
fantastically thrilling
this book was really fantastic. I was reluctant to start reading but a few pages in, you feel like you've been following the characters their whole lives. ... READ MORE
The Secret History
This dark and beautifully written novel is interesting and exciting. I couldn’t put it down and was entranced by the characters and the way their story was... READ MORE
The Secret History
a new tragedy
this book is one of the most beautiful i have read. it truly represents what happens when clever people do bad things. the pure and complex intellectual pr... READ MORE
Phoebe Longland
The Secret History
An Ode to Classics
What the book achieves is greater than the sum of it's parts, the story, although brilliant, really is not the key to what makes this book a masterpiece. I... READ MORE
Brandon West
The Secret History
Loved it
This book was amazing, I haven’t stopped thinking about it from when I finished it a month ago.
Anysia  Marchington
The Secret History
I bought this to be a part of the hype but my goodness. What an amazing read. The characters are so well written they could may very well be real people. T... READ MORE
The Secret History
Fantastic book - awful quality
Abysmal quality paperback, pages are so thin and distort easily, almost sent it back! Would go for hard back as the quality of this is atrocious, the worst... READ MORE
Brigham Noble
The Secret History
I couldn’t put it down.
The Secret History
I cannot even begin to articulate how much I enjoyed this book. It will have you hooked. An absolute must read!
Cara Nolan
The Secret History
Okay what the actual flip did I just read?
Okay what the actual flip did I just read? This would have been a 5 star read for me because I absolutely loved it but there were SO many things that were... READ MORE
The Secret History
The most addicting book
Couldn't stop reading this book, it is so well-written! I couldn't help but love the characters
Ana Lourenço
The Secret History
The dark aesthetic of flawed beauty
Just as Mephistopheles offered eternal knowledge this book is an irreverent ode to eternal dark beauty. I would classify it as one of my top reads of all t... READ MORE
Jenny Murray
The Secret History
genuinely spellbinding
as of June 2023, I've read this book more than 7 times. it's my most read book, so much so that the cover is very ripped and some of the pages have started... READ MORE
The Secret History
I read this when I was in a slump (you know what it's like, nothing sounds interesting, nothing is good, etc etc) and this got me right out! Absolutely inc... READ MORE
Caitlin Houston
The Secret History
One of the Best!
This is one of the best books I’ve ever read! Read it in a week and I couldn’t put it down. The tension, darkness and vibe I loveeee! 100% Recommend x
Robyn Goodfellow
The Secret History
The Emperor's New Clothes
Lots of admiration for this book everywhere you look, however I thought that it was excruciatingly drawn out, squeezing just a modicom of excitement out on... READ MORE
The Secret History
the snow in the mountains was melting, and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation
As a teenage girl, I strongly believe that reading Donna Tartt's Secret History was the best experience of my entire life; I have developed an earnest dev... READ MORE
The Secret History
The most over rated book I've read in a while
I got over p450 in before I relented and realised I had been duped. What starts as a clever and compelling read morphs into pretentious self indulgent twa... READ MORE
Alice Toby-Brant
The Secret History
Life changing.
I absolutely loved this. I was hooked from the beginning until the end and didn't want to put the book down! This is definitely now my favourite book. Donn... READ MORE
The Secret History
Did not finish
TikTok hyped up this book but half way it gets very slow and hard to keep reading. Maybe if I pushed past that it would get better but for 100 pages it lea... READ MORE
Zanita Harrison
The Secret History
If this was the only book ever written I’d be happy
Donna Tartt’s debut novel is a masterpiece, to say the least. The book is crammed with literary references with a cast of characters that a purposefully fl... READ MORE
Ellis  Williams
The Secret History
Raise a glass for Donna Tartt!
This beautifully written book contains phrases of Greek and Latin, giving the book more elegance than your average book; the storyline is also well planned... READ MORE