Motherhood and Madness: “The Secrets She Keeps” by Michael Robotham

“The value of a secret depends upon whom you’re trying to keep it from.”

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

In the bestselling tradition of The Girl on the Train and In a Dark, Dark Wood, from the internationally bestselling author whom Stephen King called “an absolute master” of the psychological thriller, comes a riveting suspense novel about the unlikely friendship between two pregnant women that asks: how far would you go to create the perfect family?

Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.

When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…

With its brilliant rendering of the secrets some women hold close and a shocking act that cannot be undone, The Secrets She Keeps delivers a dark and twisted page-turner that is absolutely impossible to put down. (Goodreads)

Hello. I am back from a brief hiatus. The last few weeks was a time for mourning for me and my family as our dearest father passed away. I originally planned my first post back to be about my thoughts on this sad experience, but I decided against it because I realized I’d rather have more time to reflect on it, and not to mention it’s easier to talk about the “normal” stuff. I will definitely share the books that helped me/still helping me deal with the grief on a future post 💖 I’m just happy to be back with the energy to blog again and to talk about books and all the bookish stuff that brings me joy 🌸

So moving on to the book I’m featuring today: The Secrets She Keeps is a beautifully written novel about the lives of two very different women: one who has everything and another with nothing to lose. Alternating between two perspectives, this is an unputdownable thriller filled with troubled characters, domestic problems and lots and lots of juicy secrets.

“I am my own worst enemy. Every time I risk being happy, I find a way to f-ck things up because, deep inside, the creature twists and slithers, gnawing away at my self-belief, reminding me of my past failures, my other babies, the bodies in the glade; deep inside, I know that I don’t deserve to be loved.”

The book showcases two of the most real and complicated women I’ve ever read in a mystery novel. The skillful writing really made me see into the heart of the two main characters and in the end, I still don’t know whether to love or hate Agatha. I am torn between wanting to hug or hurt her at times. Meghan on the other hand is flawed, but I can’t fault her for being a mother.

“We need the darkness to appreciate the light, and the bumps along the road to stop us falling asleep at the wheel.”

I loved how the author effectively portrays the complexities of marriage and raising kids. It’s also a meditation on the power of a mother’s love and the thin line between this passion and madness.

“The whole idea of getting married and having children terrifies me. What if becoming a parent doesn’t make me grow up?”

I highly recommend this to readers who love plot twists, alternating narratives and domestic thrillers. I saw my parenting fears mirrored in this book, but at the same time it reminded me how fortunate I am to have a child to call my own, by my own choice, and to have him to love and to hold anytime of the day–it’s like having a happy ending everyday of my life.

“People, not places, make a life whole.”

Overall Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Michael Robotham

Edgar finalist and Gold Dagger winning author, Michael Robotham was born in Australia in November 1960 and grew up in small country towns that had more dogs than people and more flies than dogs. He escaped in 1979 and became a cadet journalist on an afternoon newspaper in Sydney.

In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles have been bestsellers with combined sales of more than 2 million copies.

His first novel ‘THE SUSPECT’, a psychological thriller, was chosen by the world’s largest consortium of book clubs as only the fifth “International Book of the Month”, making it the top recommendation to 28 million book club members in fifteen countries. It has been translated into twenty-two, including some he’s barely heard of.

Read more about the author here.

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