*I received a free copy of The Secrets She Kept from Harlequin MIRA via BEA16. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak
Series: Fairham Island #2
Published by Harlequin MIRA on 26 July 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Reading Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, COYER Summer 2016
The rich and powerful Josephine Lazarow, matriarch of Fairham Island, is dead. The police say it's suicide, but Keith, her estranged son, doesn't believe it.
Keith bears scars—both physical and emotional—from his childhood, but he's worked hard to overcome the past. After walking away from his mother and her controlling ways five years ago, he's built a new life in LA. He's also accumulated a fortune of his own. But as soon as he learns of his mother's death, he returns to Fairham. He feels he owes it to his grandfather to put the family empire together again—and he's determined to find his mother's killer.
Problem is…coming home to Fairham puts him back in contact with Nancy Dellinger, the woman he hurt so badly when he left before. And digging that deep into his mother's final days and hours entails a very real risk.
Because the person who killed her could be someone he loves…
The Secrets She Kept is a mystery with seemingly endless possibilities when it comes to the who did it.
While the characters are the same in The Secrets She Kept and The Secret Sister, the tone and the feel of the story here is quite different. Partly because it unfolds five years after the ending of the first book, and possibly also because it was more from Keith’s point of view, and he had made some huge changes in his life in the past five years. This character growth, as well as the suspense surrounding the matriarch’s death made me both anxious to keep reading, and kept me guessing, and guessing, and guessing.
When Keith got news of his mother’s alleged suicide, he could not believe this was true at all. One who thought the most important thing in life was showing the world a perfect image of oneself would not let herself be found naked in a bathtub without any makeup on. That’s one thing he was sure of. The Secrets She Kept had two different mysteries going on at the same time, which made the story even more interesting. One was all the different kinds of secrets the mother had kept throughout her life – both those concerning her family, and those concerning herself. Then, there was the mystery surrounding her death. Because the more Keith dug, the more it seemed like he might be right…
The romance elements in The Secrets She Kept showed how much Keith had grown since the last book. From being a drug addict, and taking advantage of those close to him, he was now a self-made millionaire. He worked out when he felt like shooting up, and he treated people with respect and kindness. I think these changes in Keith were my favorite part of the story, even if the mystery and the romance were amazing as well. The mystery was one that kept me guessing and not until the very end did I guess something right – and I think I was supposed to get it at that point.
Written in third person point of view, mostly from Keith’s perspective and in past tense, The Secrets She Kept had a nice pace. The dialogues between the characters helped move the story forward, and it also made sure the mystery was complete for the duration of the read. If you enjoy suspense and mysteries, you should pick up this story, and even if they can be read as stand alone stories, I suggest you read The Secret Sister before you start this one.
His life had always revolved around his autocratic mother and what he was supposed to do and be in order to honor his Coldiron heritage. Escaping the jaws of her expectations had required more grit and determination than he could have ever imagined.
Even after five years, she felt she had to worry about him. He was screwed up, had always been screwed up. He suspected that if he ever visited a psychologist he’d be diagnosed as bipolar.
But Keith couldn’t believe she’d do that. Having the police tramp through her house to find her naked in a bathtub would be humiliating to her. If she was going to commit suicide, she’d put on her most flattering dress and arrange herself on the bed.