The Secrets We Keep by Kate Hewitt
Published: September 4, 2018
Genres: women’s fiction, literary fiction, mental health, domestic fiction, chick lit, drama
Rating: 4.5 stars
Recommend to fans of: moms with psychological struggles trying to keep it all together, validating books about mental health and self harm
Foodie Vibes: pina coladas, takeout pizza and marshmallows roasted over an open fire pit
‘Is her life as easy and effortless as it seems from the outside? Or is she feeling lonely, all by herself in that big house, an evening stretching out in front of her just as it is for me?’
When Tessa arrives at the little house by the lake with her two children Ben and Katherine, it is an escape. For all of them. Never mind that the rental house is a bit small – it’s theirs for the summer. A place to hide…
Their isolation is disrupted when they meet the family from the big house next door. Three children Charlotte, Zoe and Max and their glamorous mother Rebecca – who seems absolutely determined to invite Tessa in to their lives.
But Rebecca is harbouring a dark secret of her own. One that will put not only her family at risk, but Tessa’s too. And when she discovers she has no option but to leave her children for several weeks, Tessa feels like the only person she can trust.
Suddenly Tessa finds herself living a life she could only have dreamed of. Wealth, a large brood of children, and Rebecca’s handsome husband Josh visiting at weekends.
But even as powerful bonds are forming between them, secrets have a way of catching up with people. And as the summer comes to an end, who will learn to love again and who will risk losing everything?
Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Kate Hewitt for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.
First of all, Trigger Warning for self harm and child sexual abuse.
Keeping yourself safe is most important, so make sure you’re in a healthy place before reading, my lovelies.
Feel free to send me a message on here, or a DM on Twitter for more privacy, if you want to know more about content that may trigger you.
Now onto the book review.
It seems as if everyone is keeping secrets from those around them. Pretending that they’re okay, when they’re anything but. I think we all can relate to this.
Over summer vacation 2 moms, Tessa and Rebecca, take their kids to summer vacation cottages. They didn’t know each other before the summer, but they end up neighbors, friends, and changing each other’s lives forever. They say it’s because their kids need playmates, but both moms know they need each other’s help more. Tessa has 2 kids, is in dire need of a makeover, constantly doubts herself, and has enough money but still must live by a budget. Rebecca has 3 kids, a glamorous lifestyle, a seemingly perfect life, more money than she can spend, and some serious issues going on. Hence the trigger warning. People are jealous of how well put together she seems, but inside she’s a wreck, just trying to get through the day.
I appreciated that self harm in adults is discussed. And not as a one off conversation. As a legitimate mental health concern that is featured throughout the novel. If you’re looking for good representation of self harm in adults, this is your book.
The overall story the author tells of moms as people first that also care fiercely for their children is refreshing. And you can’t go wrong with a summer cottage on the lake story.
The only caveat that I have is the weird situation that is thrust upon one of the moms about halfway through the story. I can’t give away any spoilers, but it’s kind of a you need to go with the flow story line and not critique that it probably isn’t realistic. Oh, also the ending completely wrecked me. So I can see how some people might have an issue with it.
Overall, The Secrets We Keep featured some truly broken adults who are trying to hold it together to care for their children. A wonderful authentic representation of adult self harm. I highly recommend, as long as you won’t be too triggered.
If you want some helpful information or support about these serious topics, click the links below
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
Self-Harm Crisis Text Hotline
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Do trigger warnings help you to choose a book?
Everyone has different triggers. Which ones would be helpful to you, that I mention in my future reviews?