Published by Pan Macmillan
Ebook and Paperback | 22 February 2018
Source: Netgalley ARC for review
| About the Book |
The Mother’s Secret is a powerful story about family, secrets and devastating lies
Love keeps us together
Sisters Kate and Georgie have always shared a close bond. While Kate enjoyed the freedoms of youth, Georgie remained at home. But now Georgie is grown up, it’s time she started exploring.
Love can tear us apart
Their mother Jan loves her daughters with all her heart. So what if she kept them out of sight when they were young? She just cared for them so much. She wanted to protect them.
What if your life was based on a lie?
Maybe there was another reason for Jan’s protective behaviour? If they ventured too far afield, it might destroy the facade of their childhood. This family’s about to discover that while lies can cause pain, the truth could destroy them all.
| My thoughts |
Having read and loved Clare’s debut novel last year, Before You Go, (you can click here to see that review) it’s a pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for this second book The Mother’s Secret. My thanks to Rosie of Pan Mac for the invitation to take part in the tour and for the Netgalley copy to review.
Georgie, her older sister Kate and mum Jan have always been a team of 3. The two girls have always been close and Jan has always been overprotective of them as they were growing up, not letting them go to parties, or out to play with other children but keeping them by her side. Whilst an older Kate has been able to spread her wings a little and travel, Georgie has been the one that has stayed – she has never travelled abroad, lives with her boyfriend and their young daughter but has never married, all it seems with the encouragement of her mother. However when Georgie decides to investigate a little further, what she discovers completely shatters her whole world.
In Her Mother’s Secret, Clare Swatman has written an emotional story of grief, love and deceit. Now in her 50’s Jan is becoming increasingly confused and her behaviour erratic. It’s clear that she is suffering from some form of dementia however what secret is she hiding in her confused mind.
The story is told mainly from the perspective of three characters. Jan’s story begins when she was young and living in Norfolk in the 1960s/1970’s with her best friend Sandy. Jan meets biker Ray, and although theirs is not a perfect relationship, they love each other and muddle through well enough. Jan’s part of the story was one of the book’s highlights for me and I was completely engrossed in her younger life. I wanted to know what type of person she was and what made her tick. I was a teenager in the 70s so a lot of the references were familiar and it felt quite nostalgic being taken back in time.
I did find myself shifting alliances between the characters. At times my sympathies were with Georgie, and at other times with her mother. I’m not sure that I ever really liked Jan, either as a younger or older woman. The young Jan seemed a very discontented and hard to please person and the older confused Jan was just nasty. As for Georgie, I felt that she could have handled some aspects in a much more sensitive way but then who knows exactly you would react in that situation.
The reader learns fairly on what the secret is but the story then focuses on the fallout from the discovery and how far the devastation caused by just one split second decision can reach.
With a well structured plot and superb characterisation, The Mother’s Secret is a gripping and poignant read. It’s heartbreakingly sad at times but also there is hope – and the realisation of how strong the bonds of family can be.
| About the Author |
Clare Swatman is a journalist for a number of weekly women’s magazines. Clare was Features Editor for Bella and has written for Best, Woman’s Own and Real People. She writes for her local magazine as well as the travel pages for Take a Break. Clare lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two boys.
Before You Go is her first novel, and she’s busy working on her second.