Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Secrets She Keeps – Michael Robotham

Psychological Thriller

This is one of those psychological thrillers that is designed to keep you on your toes with the story of two pregnant women.

Agatha is working in the local supermarket when she spies one of the customers Meghan meeting with the other local mothers, ones like her who go to yoga and meet for coffee. Meghan is also pregnant and it looks like their due dates are similar.

Agatha wants Meghan’s life and she soon engineers a situation so that they can bond over their upcoming new arrivals, but Meghan’s life isn’t quite what Agatha perceives it to be… and maybe Agatha is becoming a little too obsessed for both of their sakes.

The novel employs the dual-narrative device with great success giving the reader the ability to see behind the doors of both women’s lives and raising the tension to sometimes unbearable levels which meant this reader spent nearly the whole duration of the book on the edge of her seat.

With the two women coming from entirely different backgrounds and approaching their lives in very different ways it is hard to see how a friendship would ever be possible, but that doesn’t take into account Agatha’s devious nature, when she wants something, she will go for it. The fact that Meghan has become adept at presenting a mask to the world results in some preconceptions that those around her are only too willing to accept as the truth. The success of this book is that more than one character has a secret but which one will cause the most devastating results?

Michael Robotham has shown his skill at creating characters we should dislike but given them enough humanity that the result was I felt a measure of compassion for them. This takes this psychological thriller away from the realms of the deeply unpalatable character doing crazy things and the reader’s thrill is in seeing how bad things can get; In The Secrets She Keeps, even when it was obvious that the story wasn’t heading to a good place, I almost wanted it all to turn out all right, for everyone. This is in part to the flaws in the secondary characters too, no one in this book is saintly but nor are they outright sinners, which gives depth to what is undoubtedly a compulsive read.

This book could also be read as a modern fable so strong is the deadly sin of envy running through each and every page. Agatha thinks that because Meghan has a handsome husband, a beautiful child, a big house and can shop without worrying about what she spends that her life is more successful than hers where she resents taking her shop overall home to wash, preferring to hide it in the storeroom away from the eyes of the disagreeable owner. By being privy to Meghan’s thoughts we know that Agatha’s assessment of her life isn’t quite true and in the end Meghan realises exactly what matters most to her.

I was grateful to receive a review copy of The Secrets She Keeps from the publishers Sphere via NetGalley and this unbiased review is my thanks to them and the author for a fabulous read.

First Published UK: 11 July 2017
Publisher: Sphere
No of Pages:  448
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (September 27)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham, a standalone psychological thriller.


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.

The compelling new psychological thriller that will break your heart into tiny pieces, from world-renowned author MICHAEL ROBOTHAM. Amazon

The last book I read was The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrère, possibly the most chilling read of the year so far for me.



With these chilling first words, acclaimed master of psychological suspense, Emmanuel Carrère, begins his exploration of the double life of a respectable doctor, eighteen years of lies, five murders, and the extremes to which ordinary people can go. Amazon

Next up is some crime fiction with The Last Thread by Ray Britain who wrote this book following a highly successful career in policing in the UK.


Accused of pushing a boy to his death in a failed suicide intervention, DCI Doug Stirling is suspended from duty. Attacked in the media and haunted by the boy’s smile as he let go of Stirling’s hand, he must look on helplessly as an incompetent colleague intent on destroying him investigates the boy’s death, supported by the vindictive Deputy Chief Constable, McDonald.

Weeks later, an anonymous call leads the police to a remote location and the discovery of a burnt out car containing the body of an unidentified man who has been savagely murdered. Short of experienced senior investigators, ACC Steph Tanner has no choice but to take a professional risk. Throwing Stirling the lifeline he needs to restore his reputation, Tanner appoints him as SIO to lead the investigation.

But with no witnesses, no forensic evidence and more theories than investigators, Stirling’s investigation has far too many ‘loose threads’ as he uncovers a complex, interwoven history of deception, betrayal and sadistic relationships. Was the victim connected to the crime scene? Is the murder as complex as it appears? Or is there a simpler explanation?
Still traumatised by the boy’s death and with time the enemy, does Stirling still have what it takes to bring the killer, or killers, to justice before McDonald intervenes?

Things are already difficult enough when DC Helen Williams joins the investigation, a determined woman who seems intent on rekindling their past relationship. And is Ayesha, the beautiful lawyer Stirling has grown fond of, connected to the murder somehow? Amazon

What do you think? Any of these take your fancy? Please do leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (August 1)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week my opening paragraph comes from The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham which was published on 11 July 2017.


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. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro


I am not the most important person in this story. That honour belongs to Meg who is married to Jack and they are the perfect parents of two perfect children, a boy and a girl, blond and blue-eyed and sweeter than honey cakes. Meg is pregnant again and I couldn’t be more excited because I am having a baby too.

~ ~ ~ 

So that’s Agatha’s voice and as this novel is one with a dual narrative I’ve decided to give you a treat with the opening from Meghan too.

~ ~ ~ 


Another Friday. I am counting them down, crossing them off the calendar, scratching tally marks on the wall. This pregnancy seems to be longer than my other two. It’s almost as though my body has rebelled against the idea, demanding to know it wasn’t consulted.

~ ~ ~

I’m looking forward to finding out more about these two women although something tells me it isn’t going to end well!

What do you think? Would you read on, or have you read it already?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (June 11)

Weekly Wrap Up

Mum’s last trip to Jersey July 2010


This has been a sad week as my Mum who had been suffering with dementia for the last few years, had a massive stroke and passed away a few days later on Friday. Mum wasn’t a huge reader but she did encourage my love of books, she was the one who taught me to read before I started school and took me to the library from a young age where I would sit happily choosing my latest haul, some things never change!
So because I tend to write and schedule my posts at the weekend, the content has been there but I haven’t been responding as usual…

This Week on the Blog

On Monday I posted my review of Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham a superb book which has the subject of honour killings at its heart. This, the fourteenth book in the Tom Thorne series got the full five stars from this reader.

My excerpt post came from Each Little Lie by Tom Bale, a psychological thriller which will be published on 29 June 2017.

This Week in Books featured the authors Beryl Bainbridge, Jane Corry and Nicci French… unsurprisingly I haven’t got too far through the list this week.

My review on Thursday was of my first read for my 20 Books of Summer 2017 challenge, What Remains Behind by Dorothy Fowler which is set on an archaeological dig in New Zealand. A different type of mystery to many with the storyline split between two, one hundred years apart.

Next I reviewed the fantastic second book by Fiona Barton, The Child. Her storytelling style had me hooked with the mysterious burial of a baby decades earlier and three unconnected women who react to a brief news item about the find.

Sadly I wasn’t as enamoured with Beryl Bainbridge’s novel Winter Garden which is set in Soviet Russia in the early 1980s, which was reflected in my last review of the week, although I will continue to explore this author’s other books.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge. I adored the setting of a theatre in 1950s Britain where we meet Stella a sixteen year old who is a stage hand. The story of Stella and her infatuation with an older man is at times painful to read but I loved the darkness, the cleverness, the period details and the sardonic humour.

You can read my full review here or click on the book cover


It is 1950 and the Liverpool reporatory theatre company is rehearsing its Christmas production of Peter Pan, a story of childhood innocence and loss. Stella has been taken on as assistant stage manager and quickly becomes obsessed with Meredith, the dissolute director. But it is only when the celebrated O’Hara arrives to take the lead, that a different drama unfolds. In it, he and Stella are bound together in a past that neither dares to interpret. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

This week I gained two new reads courtesy of NetGalley:

Frost at Midnight by James Henry who has written the three previous prequel’s to R.D. Wingfield’s series and for me the tone has been consistent with the originals. I have a soft spot for Jack Frost in 1980s Denton.


August, 1983. Denton is preparing for a wedding. Detective Sergeant Waters should be on top of the world with less than a week to go until he marries Kim Myles. But the Sunday before the big day, instead of a run-through with his best man, the church is sealed off. The body of a young woman has been found in the churchyard, and their idyllic wedding venue has become a crime scene.

Detective Sergeant Jack Frost has been homeless for the past three months, ever since his wife’s family sold the matrimonial house. He’s been staying with Detective Constable Sue Clarke but with a baby to take care of and the imminent arrival of her mother, she’s given him his marching orders.

But as best man to Waters, he’s got a responsibility to solve the mystery of the dead girl in the churchyard. Can he put his own troubles aside and be the detective they need him to be? All in all, August looks set to be a wicked month in Denton… NetGalley

I was exceptionally lucky to be approved for a copy of The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham, a psychological thriller that sounds like it will indeed thrill! The Secrets She Keeps is due to be published on 11 July 2017.


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. NetGalley

Do let me know what you’ve found to read this week?


Since my last post I’ve read 3 books and gained 2

The current total is therefore 181 
Physical Books – 106
Kindle Books – 62
NetGalley Books – 13