The Secrets She Keeps: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Bonus Audio Content: Includes chapter one of Michael Robotham’s 2019 thriller GOOD GIRL, BAD GIRL!
In the best-selling tradition of The Girl on the Train and In a Dark, Dark Wood, from the internationally best-selling author whom Stephen King called "an absolute master" of the psychological thriller, comes a riveting suspense novel about the unlikely friendship between two pregnant women that asks: How far would you go to create the perfect family?
Agatha is pregnant and works part time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, and a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog - posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.
When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever....
With its brilliant rendering of a shocking kidnapping plot and the secrets some women hold close, The Secrets She Keeps delivers a dark and twisted thriller.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 12 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 11, 2017|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #4,207 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#62 in Psychological Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#171 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#239 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…
My Thoughts: I was caught up in the lives of the alternating narrators of The Secrets She Keeps: A Novel . Both Agatha and Meghan have secrets, but we only learn them in bits and pieces as the story unfolds. Sadness and incredible loss greet Agatha each day of her life. For Meghan, disappointment and betrayal are a familiar part of her world, despite what her life looks like to others.
Meghan’s life seemed perfect on the surface, but the cracks in the veneer began to appear about the same time that we realize that Agatha is a bit of a stalker. Why is Agatha spying on Meghan, and what does she plan to do about what she discovers? How will Meghan keep her own secrets hidden?
At first, I couldn’t believe what was happening, so I focused completely on their lives as the incredible events began to reveal themselves to us.
Like lives on a collision course, the world for each of these women is teetering and spinning out of control. Who will still be standing when it is over? Or is there hope for them both?
To avoid spoilers, I will say no more about what happens to the women and the families at the center of it all. Suffice it to say that I was riveted to the pages of this five star read.
I want to avoid SPOILERS so let me simply talk about the first half of the book. We are in Barnes, a posh, leafy London suburb. Agatha is a shopclerk who stocks shelves and reads the family blogs of a woman named Meghan. While Agatha is single, Meghan is married to a TV sports presenter and has two children, a boy and a girl. She is Agatha’s idol and Agatha would faint at the thought of actually meeting her. Each is pregnant and each is due to deliver at approximately the same time. Agatha’s boyfriend is in the Royal Navy; Meghan’s husband has pitched a new sports program to his network and hopes to be that show’s host. Agatha and Meghan tell their separate stories in alternating, relatively-brief chapters that continue throughout the book.
Certain things can be revealed: a) what has already been revealed is not quite true; b) the womens’ lives, which eventually intersect are not quite what each woman believes; c) we are heading from a tale of the tea-and-biscuits suburbs into what may just become a moral abyss.
The drama is nonstop, even in the opening chapters. Robotham’s knowledge of London informs the book in a number of interesting ways. The skills of a crime novelist and psychological suspense thrillers are brought to bear on a set of domestic situations in a most powerful way. Perhaps most important, MR really understands the female psyche and represents it with rare skill. While this is not the world of the ‘novel of manners’ it is a world of words and gestures and omissions and commissions that could keep a skilled sociolinguist busy for decades.
I have read all of MR’s novels and have long predicted his stunning, worldwide success, but THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS is a departure that remains no less satisfying. I pray that it will reach the readers who are drawn to the psycho-in-the-suburbs subgenre, because here the ‘psycho’ element is seen in its full, compelling humanity. From the outset of the novel we know we are going nowhere particularly good and from the first page of the second half of the novel we fear that we may be careening toward hell, but where we are going is far more nuanced than that, far more anxiously contemplated (as Conrad would have said) and, ultimately, far more satisfying, gratifying and moving.
This is absolutely not to be missed. Highly recommended.
Top reviews from other countries
The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of two expectant mothers - Agatha and Meghan. Agatha is all of the creepy - think that kid that just wanted to be your 'friend' in the playground but would stare at you for just a little bit too long, and probably had a collection of doll's heads in their lunchbox. Yep, that kind of creepy.
Meg appears to have the perfect life - she's a mummy blogger, with 2 beautiful children and another on the way, a successful 'mummy blog' and a handsome husband with a high profile TV job. Don't you just sort of hate her already?
On the other hand, Agatha works in the local supermarket, doesn't really seem to have any friends to speak of, her baby daddy is in the Navy (and currently doesn't know she's pregnant) and is estranged from her family. Doesn't she just sound like a barrel of laughs?!
But obviously, with a book like this, all is not what it seems. Both these ladies are sitting on some mega stinky secrets! More than once, I caught my face doing that 'shut the front door!' thing as something else was revealed.
I could not put this book down. The alternating between the 2 narratives kept it really fast paced, as bomb shell after bomb shell was delicately dropped by Robotham. It was everything you want from a psychological thriller (my absolute favourite genre so I consider myself a bit of a closet expert) - fast, intriguing, great characters, some real creepiness and some great plot twists. I inhaled it in about 2 sittings. Thoroughly recommend it if that also sounds like your cup of tea.
On a serious note, there are some real intricacies in this story about what it means to be a woman, and the pressure for 'motherhood' to define your worth as a female. It looks at the heart breaking facts of infertility and the impact that can have on a couple and I found those sections breathtakingly honest. Bravo.
As a side note, I came away from this book feeling desparately sad for Agatha and wanting to give Jack a bit of a smack in the face - but hey, that might just be me...
I couldn't warm to either of the main characters. I found the detail of their lives stereotypical and sadly therefore quite boring. This was made worse by the story being told by alternating between their narratives so you are forced to remind yourself each time that this is the well off one and this is the poorer one.
I'm sure MR will be back on form with his next novel but I'm sorry to say thhat for me this was complete dud.
All that said, this was a pretty fast moving page turner, with a good few surprises along the way. Agatha and Meghan are both 8 months pregnant. Agatha's first. Meghan's third. Supermarket worker Agatha wants married-to-minor-celeb Meghan's life...or rather...what she interprets as Meghan's life. She is extremely cunning and stops at nothing to try to get what she wants. Meghan, meanwhile, has a good few problems of her own and her glossy life may not be as shiny as it first appears.
I won't say more as it would spoil the book to reveal any of the plot. But I liked it well enough to look out Mr Robotham's other work.