The Secrets She Keeps
Hardcover: 448 pages
11th July, 2017
Jaw dropping: the only two words that adequately describe Michael Robotham’s thirteenth novel, The Secrets She Keeps. In a break from the multi-selling travails of Joe O’Loughlin, this is Robotham’s fourth stand alone and is approaching something a close to heart-wrenchingly perfect as one can get.
Everyone has an idea of what their perfect life is. For Agatha, it's Meghan Shaughnessy's. These two women from vastly different backgrounds have one thing in common - a dangerous secret that could destroy everything they hold dear. Both will risk everything to hide the truth, but their worlds are about to collide in a shocking act that cannot be undone.
Where to begin! Okay, this is not, in places, an easy read as the author takes us on a journey upon which most could not be carried kicking and screaming. Yet thanks to the beautiful prose Robotham uses, we are cajoled along a path he has painstakingly constructed, stone by stone, until we are deftly and magically lost in the mystical woods of his words.
Once in the midst’s of these two very different women’s worlds – from whose point of view, stage by stage, the tale is told – there is no turning back. In turns we like and dislike each of them, understand and stand confused, sob and shake our heads at the decisions they have made and continue to make.
Their definition is clear; their motivations as muddled and choice-by-choice as our own.
Then there is the fervour that Michael Robothom injects into the actual tale. Never does the momentum cease, its relentlessness driving the story along at such a nerve-jangling rate so that it is as though we are first class passengers on a train to Understanding.
Each character is deeply flawed, yet not to the extent that they become unrecognisable.
Each of them – Agatha, Meghan, Hayden and Jack in particular – each has their own deeply embedded psyche and is as though we are in their heads each step of the way.
The Secrets She Keeps is a wondrous work of psychologically captivating drama; a tour de force that will have you aching not only for the protagonists, but for the desperately lonely worlds in which each inhabits.