Book Review | The Art of Keeping Secrets | Rachael Johns
“Love cannot make a home where lies and secrets sleep”
What price do we pay when we deceive those we love?
In this latest by Rachael Johns, she attempts to answer that question by delving into the lives of three very different women who, while united by friendship, are all keeping secrets.
Flick has a picture-perfect marriage and family envied by most but she harbours a shocking secret that has become her life because, if it ever comes out, her little family may just be shattered; Neve’s been a single mother all of Toby’s life and it’s her own secret (and guilt) that’s going to catch up with her when Toby becomes more persistent in his questioning; and Emma, a divorcee and mother of three finds herself with growing feelings towards her boss but is then suddenly faced with some life-changing health issues.
Told from the perspectives of all three women, there is something here for everyone in a story about the damage we suffer when we hide the truth and the consequences that secrets can have on the ones we love. Flick’s story is the most compelling with its shock factor, while Neve’s will keep the reader holding their breath and Emma’s offers us hope.
Rachael Johns never disappoints and I’m really enjoying the deviation that her writing seems to have taken. In her previous novel, The Patterson Girls, Rachael explored sisterhood, sibling rivalry and the unbreakable bonds called family ties along with real-life issues such as bereavement, infidelity and fertility issues.
In this latest, she drills a little deeper, going into the lives of three friends and their families whose existence will be forever altered as they are forced to deal with not only their own secrets but those they have become privy to and all the crises they bring – and there are no holds barred here as she puts these characters through the wringer, adeptly advancing them to their breaking points!
With all the messiness of real life, the intricacies and limits of marriage and the depth of love and friendship, The Art of Keeping Secrets is a complex and tumultuous story with moments of tear-jerking catharsis, for both the reader and the characters, as emotions and years of hidden feelings bubble to the surface.
Touching on motherhood, friendship, relationships, secrets, lies, betrayal and the love that binds all of these together, Rachael’s ability to capture the emotional realities of life is to be much-admired in this toast to the power of women’s friendships. Highly recommended.
I wish to thank the publisher, Harlequin Books Australia, for providing me with a hard copy ARC for review.
As an aside, this is one story that I believe would be FABULOUS on the big-screen so I thought I'd create my own little playlist. Who knows, should it make it, hopefully some of these songs would be featured:
Crash (Usher), Secrets (One Republic), Demons (Imagine Dragons), Sweet Disposition (The Temper Trap), Love the Way You Lie (Rihanna), New York, New York (Frank Sinatra), Fight Song (Rachel Platten), Skyscraper (Demi Lovato), Say Something (A Great Big World/Christina Aguielera), Fix You (Coldplay), Firework (Katy Perry), I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Cash), I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston), Use Somebody (Kings of Leon), Haven’t Met You Yet (Michael Buble), Don’t Speak (No Doubt), Carry on (Fun), Brave (Sara Bareilles), New York (Snow Patrol), True Colours (Cyndi Lauper) and Goodbye My Lover (James Blunt).
“Little secrets grow up to be big lies…
They’ve been best friends since their sons started high school together, and Felicity, Emma and Neve share everything … or so they thought.
But Flick’s seemingly perfect marriage hides a shocking secret which, with one word, threatens to destroy her and her family’s happiness. Emma is in denial about a potential custody battle, her financial constraints, the exhaustion she can’t seem to shake off and the inappropriate feelings she has for her boss. And single mum Neve is harbouring a secret of her own; a secret that might forever damage her close-knit relationship with her son.
When the tight hold they have each kept on their secrets for years begins to slip, they must face the truth. Even if that truth has the power to hurt the ones they love, and each other.
Perhaps some secrets weren’t made to be kept.”
The Art of Keeping Secrets releases on the 19th September and, if you're quick, you might just be able to secure a signed pre-order copy from Booktopia!