Thursday 12 March 2015

Review ~ The Secrets Sisters Keep by Sinéad Moriarty.

Title: The Secrets Sisters Keep.
Author: Sinéad Moriarty.
Publisher: Penguin Ireland.
Genre: Women's Fiction.
Publication Date: February 26, 2015.
Source: Review copy/Netgalley.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

The Devlin sisters rely on each other - but some things are just too painful to share, even when your sisters are your best friends ...

Mum-of-four Julie thought that if her family had more money, life would be easier. But now that they've inherited a fortune, her problems are only starting.

Lawyer Louise is used to having life go exactly as she wants it to. So accepting that she cannot control everything in her world is beyond her.

And former model Sophie can just about cope with getting older - that's until her ex-husband finds a younger model.

All three women think that some battles are best fought alone. Maybe they need to think again ...

The Secrets Sisters Keep is the first Sinéad Moriarty book I’ve read and it’s a warm, witty and touching introduction for me to a new wonderful author. It wasn’t until after I’d finished that I realised this book was a sequel to Me and My Sisters which I obviously haven’t read but this works perfectly as a standalone novel. Saying that, I did really love The Secrets Sisters Keep and I’m sure I’ll be working my way back through the author’s other books.

Between sisters, friends, parents and kids, there are a lot of characters in this book. The narrative switches between Julie, Louise and Sophie and at the beginning I did find myself getting a little bit confused about which one was which. Even though they are three very different sisters, they of course talk about similar things and it took me a bit of time to keep up and remember who was who. As the book progresses, any confusion is no longer an issue because their differences and individual secrets really stand out, as well as their children and own friendships.

Julie is, on surface, happily married and mum to four kids. When you see it more closely, she’s actually mum to four boys, three of them who are triplets, which does come across as frightening as it sounds. They are a handful. Her other child is much cuter and less trouble, thankfully, considering she’s practically raising them as a single parent given the amount of time her husband Harry is away. Julie was a sweet character. She’s under a lot of stress, snapping at her kids, and missing Harry. She wants nothing more than for everyone to be happy and content and I lost count of the amount of times she cried at her sisters’ stories.

Sophie actually is a single mother, to nine year old Jess, and she felt like she was handling that okay until her ex starts seeing Pippa, a woman a lot younger than her and who Jess idolises. Sophie dreams of a happy, fulfilling romance but when men her own age only want women much younger, she feels unattractive and unhappy at the lack of prospects in her love life.

Louise was, I think, my favourite of the three sisters. She is a bit of a control freak and quite career focused but she treasures her daughter Clara so much, it’s endearing. Clara appears to be a bit of a genius, working out maths sums as quickly as anyone could, with an incredible memory and the need for everything to happen at precise times. She doesn’t cope well with things that are off schedule and some of her other traits lead to Louise’s family’s belief that things with Clara might not be so positive and Louise struggles to accept that. The research of Clara’s story seemed evident and it was stunningly told. It was moving and I loved the connection between mother and daughter.

The relationship between the sisters was the highlight of this book for me. Louise, Sophie and Julie are each very individual and have their own opinions, which means that quite often they’re not afraid to tell each other that what they’re thinking and doing is stupid and wrong. But they would so clearly do anything for each other, to support them and whilst one of them is very controlling and stubborn, another is quite fragile and the third as emotional as they come, nothing would stop them from trying to protect their sisters. The love between them was made very evident and the portrayal of their relationship is similar to how a lot of sibling relationships are in real life. They’re honest with each other and yes there are times when they drive each other mad, but they are always willing to help out and would do anything they could to make things okay.

This book really does have it all on the emotional scale – there were moments I laughed out loud at and moments I was close to shedding a tear. I loved the author’s wit and I thought that came across especially well in two of the supporting characters, Gavin and Marian. Marian especially was honest, cheeky and pretty hilarious. We all need a character like Marian in our lives to put a smile on our face at any given moment. The Secrets Sisters Keep is paced well, with each chapter drawing me in further to the lives of the characters. It’s a fascinating novel, realistic and well-written and more well-drawn than how dramatic my review might make it seem. It’s full of brilliant characters, amusing lines and tender moments – an extremely well told family orientated novel which shows the power of the bond between sisters, and how difficult it is to break.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

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  1. Love your descriptions of the characters you bring them to life.

  2. Such a great review again, beautiful Sophie! And the book sounds great, I can't wait to read it!

  3. Great review. I can't wait to read this book, sounds fabulous.

    1. Thank you Gurd! I hope you like it as much as I did :)


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