I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Secrets We Keep by Kate Hewitt
Published by Bookouture on September 6, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Psychological
Also by this author: A Mother's Goodbye
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‘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?
I was first put on Kate Hewitt’s radar when I read A Mother’s Goodbye which quickly became one of my top 2018 reads. Hewitt writes with such passion and a distinctive voice that pulls you right into the heart of a story. She breathes life into each of her characters making them seem honest, real and relatable. So, when I saw The Secrets We Keep, I just knew I had to read it. I will admit to being a little scared to start this story as I wasn’t sure if Hewitt could ever top A Mother’s Goodbye, but my fears were for nothing because The Secrets We Keep far surpassed anything I could ever have imagined.
We first meet Tessa and Rebecca at the lake. Both are getting away from their problems at home and from husbands that don’t understand them. While Tessa and her two children, Ben and Catherine are staying in a shabby cabin for the summer, Rebecca is living in a sprawling home next door with her three children, Charlotte, Max, and Zoe. While Tessa and Rebecca have nothing in common, they forge a friendship shrouded in secrecy and mistrust. Tessa is a homely wife and mother who is shy and unsure of herself, whereas Rebecca is rich, stylish, and seems to have the perfect life. When things come to a head and Rebecca needs to go away for awhile, she leaves Tessa in charge of her three children. Now faced with the life she has always wanted, Tessa seems to flourish. But, looks can be deceiving and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Secrets have a way of becoming exposed and some secrets have the potential to destroy lives. Will this be the summer that changes everything?
I found myself relating to Tessa as she was down to earth, kind, and loving. Yes, she has problems, but who doesn’t? Tessa is just so real and like many of us in the working world. I can see how much she loves her children and how she would do anything for their happiness. Tessa tries very hard to fix the problems in her marriage, even if it means getting away for the summer so she can reconnect with her children who have grown quite distant as of late. Maybe the time spent away will leave her husband missing her and the marriage they once had. Rebecca on the the other hand, is not always likable. She looks down on Tessa, but wants to become friends with her as a sort of distraction from her own problems at home. Rebecca can be nasty at times to Tessa, but deep down inside Rebecca really needs Tessa in a way to make herself feel better. But, when it comes to her children, Rebecca pours all of her love and support to her children. She is a good mom even though she does not always show it. She wants what is best for her children, even though Rebecca is going through her own tough time. Even though Tess and Rebecca’s friendship had its difficulties you can see how they both relied on one another sometimes even in a twisted way. Their friendship dynamic is complicated and not always healthy, but it works for them. In a way, they were so much alike and yet they were worlds apart.
The pacing is nice and slow which gave me the opportunity to really get to know each of the characters, to grow to love them and sympathize with what they were going through. While I may not have always liked both Tessa and Rebecca, they do have their redeeming moments in little glimpses throughout the story. The build up is very intense and much of the secrets are kept hidden for most of the first half of the book which I found really helped in keeping me engaged with the story. I will say though that The Secrets We Keep does deal with a few heartbreaking topics and triggers, but they are done with compassion and understanding. Hewitt really has a unique way of making us relate to her characters in a heart wrenching way.
The Secrets We Keep is an emotional roller coaster with many ups and downs and twists along the way. I can in all honestly say that I never saw that ending coming. It is a poignant story that is both moving and touching. This is another book I am adding to my keeper shelf and another addition to my top reads for the year. If you have not read a book by Kate Hewitt, you are really doing yourself a disservice. Hewitt is a fantastic author who will draw you right in and never let you go.