Author: Eric Walters
Genre & Age Group: Historical fiction, mystery, young adult
Sometimes you have to look back in order to move forward.
After the orphanage she lives in is destroyed by fire, Betty, an innocent and trusting teen, takes a job as a maid in Kingston, Ontario. Welcomed into the household of the wealthy Remington clan, Betty makes friends with the staff at the house and soon discovers that her mother had also been a maid there—and that her father is in a nearby jail, convicted of murdering her mother. When she meets her father, she is taken aback by his claims of innocence, and she decides to try to uncover the truth about her mother’s murder and her father’s conviction. A friendly young policeman assists her in her investigation (and shows an interest in Betty that is more romantic than professional). But all is not well in the Remington household, and someone doesn’t want Betty to learn the truth.
Source: Birthday present from my dad❤️
How I Found Out About It: Goodreads
I have read a plethora of Eric Walters books for school, and I had rather mixed feelings about some of them. Some of them I adored, but others just weren’t my cup of tea. Innocent was the first book of his that I read for pleasure, and it definitely did not disappoint.
In case you didn’t know, this book is part of the Secrets series, which contains seven books by seven different Canadian authors. There is no need to read the books in order, as the protagonists in each book each go on separate journeys. The books in the series all start off with the burning down of the girls’ beloved orphanage in 1964, and then they all part ways and discover their own lives.
Innocent is the book in the series that follows Betty. After her orphanage burns down, she is sent to Kingston, Ontario to be a maid for a wealthy family. As she gets to know and befriend the family, she learns that her mom had been a maid for them as well, and that her dad was imprisoned for having possibly killed her mom. To see if her father is innocent, she goes and visits him, and she comes to a conclusion that he is. But there is a shady truth- will it hurt Betty?
Betty is honestly one of my favourite protagonists in this series. She was definitely very well-thought out, three-dimensional, and relatable. I found her to be exceptionally brave– it takes guts to get involved in the type of situation she was in with her imprisoned father- as well as able to quickly forgive and forget. I loved the loyalty that Betty possessed, and I seriously think we need more of these characters in YA.
There was a dribble of romance in this story, between Betty and a policeman named David. Despite the fact that the circumstances of their relationship were a bit strange, I still found them to be so adorable together!❤️
Like most mystery books I read, the plot ran quickly and smoothly, and there were many twists and turns and leaps to keep me engaged. One thing that bothered me, though, was the short length of this book. I wanted to know more! The story ended unrealistically with a happily ever after, and I still had burning questions at the back of my mind!
All in all, Innocent was a riveting, fast read that absolutely kept me on my toes. I always felt excited and engaged while reading it, which was wonderful! I’m surprised that this awesome series isn’t more popular, honestly. Anyway, if you’re looking for a novel with rich themes, great characters, and an interesting mystery, be on the lookout for Innocent- as well as all the other books in the Secrets series!