BOOK REVIEW | THE SECRETS WE KEEP
AUTHOR: Stephanie Butland
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Landmark
RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2015
GENRE: Women’s Fiction
A tragic accident, a broken heart, and a marriage drowning in secrets…
Mike always walks the dog in the evening while Elizabeth relaxes in the bathtub–but one night he doesn’t come back. Mike has drowned while saving a teenage girl named Kate, his dog standing on the bank barking frantically as the police pull his body from the water.
But despite her husband being lauded as a hero, Elizabeth can’t wrap her mind around the fact that Mike is gone–and Kate won’t reveal the details of what really happened that night.
Elizabeth finds herself facing the unfathomable possibility that she may not have known her husband at all. Does she really want to know the truth? Or will the weight of Mike’s secrets pull her under.(Description from NetGalley.com)
Have you ever read a book that from the very first page, you knew you wouldn’t be able to put it down? Well that’s how The Secrets We Keep by Stephanie Butland is and I was hooked right from the very first sentence. I was so enthralled by this book that my husband was having a hard time pulling me away from it. He even tried to tempt me dinner (how cute!).
Stephanie Butland wrote this book to include letters Elizabeth was writing to her husband after his death. This was one of my favorite aspects of the book because it dove into the deeper feelings of Elizabeth. These are the feelings that many people won’t discuss with anyone else and the ones they keep to themselves. So being able to feel exactly what Elizabeth was feeling helped bring the book to another level.
There was one letter in particular that really stabbed at my heart and it read as follows:
People keep offering to “clear things out” for me. They mean, “Let me throw away Mike’s toothbrush, because I understand that you don’t want to. Let me get rid of the half-used shaving foam and the nearly gone shower gel and the new shower gel ready for when that one runs out, because it will be easier for me to remove these reminders than it would be for you to do it.” But I say, “No, thank you.”
That one small paragraph instantly made me think about my husband. It made me think, would I feel the same way? Would I grieve the same way? Would I want to keep his toothbrush and shower gel just to feel as though he’s still with me? I don’t know for sure, but when anyone loses the person they love it’s one of the hardest things to come to terms with and strange things,, like keeping their toothbrush don’t seem so strange.
As I read the book, I was able to predict what each “secret” was, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying the book. It actually made me want to read it more quickly so that I could find out how it was revealed to the characters.
There were several times when I felt really sorry for Elizabeth because as each secret came to light she seemed to go back to the beginning of the grieving process and couldn’t come to terms with anything. Everything was becoming too hard for her to handle and she was cutting herself off from the world, which is not what you should do in her situation. In the end, Elizabeth did come out of the darkness and started walking a path towards forgiveness.
The Secrets We Keep is a powerfully heart wrenching novel that takes you through the different stages of grief, time and time again, as each secret is revealed.
I would highly recommend this book to my followers who enjoy reading Women’s Fiction novels.
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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“Somewhere in the air around her drifts the understanding that the generations grieve differently, int he same ways that they love differently, dress differently, raise their children differently.”
“Tears fall from hers and gather on his face, and she wipes them away gently with the thumb that wears his wedding ring, and just for a moment these are his tears, and they are crying together.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie lives in Northumberland, England, and talks and trains in thinking skills all over Europe, most recently in Kazakhstan. She has written two books on her experience with cancer, and she is an active blogger and fundraiser. The Secrets We Keep is her first novel.