My enormous thanks to author Julia Roberts and to Sarah Hardy of Books on the Bright Side publicity for inviting me to take part in the launch celebrations of Julia’s latest book, My Mother’s Secret. I’m delighted to share my review today.
Julia has featured here on Linda’s Book Bag several times:
You’ll find an extract from Christmas at Carol’s here.
There’s a guest post from Julia about writing what you know to celebrate Alice in Theatreland here and a further guest post about the importance of books in Julia’s writing to accompany If He Really Loved Me here.
Published by Bookouture on 27th January 2021, My Mother’s Secret is available for purchase here.
My Mother’s Secret
‘They told me he died, but I never believed them. I’d have known,’ she says, her voice little more than a whisper and her eyes searching mine. ‘A mother would know if her child died, wouldn’t she?’
The phone call comes in the middle of the night, rousing Danni from her safe, warm bed. The police have found her mother Diana wandering miles from her house, confused and lost. Danni races to her mother’s side – and as usual, Diana doesn’t seem to want her there. But when Danni finds out that her mother is seriously ill, she decides to put the past behind her, and care for her mother in the time they have left.
But as some of Diana’s memories are slipping away, others are forcing their way to the surface. One night she breaks down and reveals that before Danni was born, she had another baby who never got to see the world. Faced with her mother’s heartbreak, Danni vows to do everything she can to bring Diana some peace, hoping that it will mend their fractured relationship too.
Yet as Danni investigates the past, tracking down the aunt she’s never met and searching for her lost brother’s resting place, her good intentions have unexpected consequences as more truths emerge. And there’s one shocking revelation which could change Danni’s life forever. Are some secrets best left buried?
A completely heartbreaking and compelling story of families, secrets, and the fierce love between mothers and children. Fans of Amanda Prowse, Ali Mercer and Jodi Picoult will smile through their tears.
My Review of My Mother’s Secret
Danni’s family has more secrets than she imagines.
My Mother’s Secret took me by surprise. I hadn’t read the blurb so I wasn’t expecting quite such an emotional read. I loved My Mother’s Secret because I thought it showed real life in a dramatic, affecting and thought provoking manner.
In a sense, My Mother’s Secret is a tale that could have happened to any one of us, with family dynamics and secrets uncovered with empathetic skill by Julia Roberts. This is its absolute strength because the writing is humane, realistic and captivating. Indeed, I found many uncannily close aspects to my own family, particularly the grief of a lost child. I want to say more, but would spoil the read for others. I particularly loved the natural dialogue because I felt as if I were witnessing the events live rather than reading about them and Danni’s first person account adds a depth I felt most keenly. I admit I wept with her on occasion.
The plot of My Mother’s Secret has a deft balance between Danni and Ben’s ordinary, everyday life, of balancing work, an elderly parent Diane, and school runs for example, that so many will identify with, alongside those huge life affecting events that give this story such pace and frequently shocking elements. This has the effect of drawing in the reader completely as they can identify with so much of the story. In fact, I’d love to see My Mother’s Secret brought to the screen either as a television series or a film because I think it would bring comfort as well as entertainment to so many.
As well as being Danni and Diana’s absorbing story My Mother’s Secret is a captivating portrait of a marriage and family too. The emotional strain on Ben and Danni is portrayed with realistic sensitivity so that I empathised with both of them as they struggled to do the right thing, even when their views were diametrically opposed. In fact, I thought each character here was so much more than a character on the page. Diana in particular held me in her thrall because she’s truly awful and yet Julia Roberts made me understand her completely so that she touched me more than I might have imagined.
Underpinning the cracking narrative, there’s a mature and thoughtful secondary theme within My Mother’s Secret of not judging others until you have the full facts that I very much appreciated. Desperately sad and emotional, but equally uplifting is its portrayal of the strength of the human spirit and the bonds that unite us too.
It’s quite difficult to review this book because I don’t want to spoil the plot but I do want to convey what an important story it is. Touching, emotional and convincing, My Mother’s Secret is a story that will resonate deeply with many readers. I thought it was excellent.
About Julia Roberts
Julia was born in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, and began her career as a professional singer/dancer. This enabled her to travel the world in her late teens storing up experiences she has since included in her writing.
Following roles as a hostess on The Price is Right and a member of the Beadle’s About ‘hit squad’ in the 1980s, she became a TV Presenter and filmed features for Sky Sports before launching the QVC shopping channel in 1993 where she still presents today. Having always wanted to write, she penned her first book, a memoir sold on QVC, in 2013 and has since written seven full length novels, two novellas and several short stories.
There’s more with these other bloggers too: