• Search
  • Lost Password?
Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

My Mother’s Secret
by Julia Roberts
Books On Tour
Review

My thanks go out to the lovely Sarah, representing publisher, Bookouture, for finding space for me on this ‘Books On Tour’ spot

The team at Netgalley have come through with the most seamless of downloads, as ever!

Image of the Blog Tour Banner for the book 'My Mother's Secret' by Julia Roberts

MY MOTHER’S SECRET

Cover image of the book 'My Mother's Secret' by author Julia Roberts‘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 along the main road, miles from her house, confused and lost.

Danni races to her mother’s side, but when she arrives, as always, her mother doesn’t seem to care. ‘Go away, Danni,’ she says. ‘I don’t want you.’

When she was a child, Danni would lie awake at night wondering what she had done to make her mother so cold. Now she is determined to put the past behind them and make Diana as happy as she can 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 Diana breaks down in tears and reveals her heart-breaking secret. Years before Danni was born, there was another baby who never got to see the world. Now there is one last thing Danni can do for her mother. She will find her brother’s resting place, and bring Diana some peace.

But good intentions can have unexpected consequences, and soon Danni’s life will be changed forever. Are some secrets best left buried.

Cover image of the book 'My Mother's Secret' by author Julia Roberts

JULIA ROBERTS

Alternative image of author Julia RobertsJulia 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, Julia 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 several full length novels, novellas and short stories.

Keep up to date with all Julia’s news at her website

Follow Julia on Twitter

Connect with Julia on Facebook

Cover image of the book 'My Mother's Secret' by author Julia Roberts

FIRST LINES

PROLOGUE

SUNDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2019

“Taking one last look up at my mum’s bedroom window, I pull the garden gate closed and lock it behind me. It feels cruel leaving her on her own, particularly as it’s the last night she will spend in the house where she has lived her entire life, but I’m bone-achingly tired and I need some rest if I’m to cope with what lies ahead”

.

ONE

 EASTER MONDAY, 2 APRIL 2018

“It’s been unseasonably warm for most of the school holidays, despite Easter falling early this year. The girls and I have taken full advantage of the sunny weather and my time off from Woldington Library, where I work as an assistant three days a week. Today is a bank holiday, so Ben also has the day off and we’ve brought a picnic lunch to the seaside.

Cover image of the book 'My Mother's Secret' by author Julia Roberts

MEMORABLE LINES

“At least I had my books for company, losing myself within the pages for hours on end and allowing myself to imagine that I lived a very different life from the one I was actually enduring. In a way, I suppose I should be grateful to my grandparents. Those hours alone contributed to my lifelong love of reading which eventually led to my job at the library, despite my lack of formal qualifications”

.

“I changed the sheets while Mum was having a cup of tea in front of the television watching Countdown. She’s surprisingly good at making words out of the nine random letters considering how confused she can get about other things, but that’s the tragedy of dementia: some things are clear and obvious while others become shrouded in grey fog”

.

“I don’t speak. There’s nothing I can say. She hasn’t been a good mother; in fact, she’s barely been a mother to me at all. I’m starting to unpick her history and understand the reasons why, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept that I was a disappointment to her from the moment she gave me life”

Cover image of the book 'My Mother's Secret' by author Julia Roberts

REVIEW

“Will the truth hurt or heal?”

Another amazing 5 star read and another used up packet of those handy little tissues, or is it two? – Who knows how many tears this one has made me shed!

The real beginning of this story happened for the family a long time before the book was written, and as I stepped into the pages of their lives, a huge part of it was already drawing to a close, with the eventual ending becoming something of a new start for many of the characters, as well as providing closure for so many events now placed firmly in the past and best left forgotten.

The beautifully written, cleverly crafted scenes which make up this fast changing storyline, are intense, sometimes filled with humour, often full of regret and remorse, but always told with heart and compassion, by an author who held me captive in the palm of her hand all the time I was reading.

The compelling narrative was visually descriptive and skilled in the imagery of words, which added a genuine depth and range to the story, and just when you thought that there wasn’t one more heart-breaking, gut-wrenching thing that could potentially rip the world apart for this family and their close circle of friends, author Julia Roberts, threw not one, but a couple of late and unexpected twists into the mix, just to drag those last few unshed tears from her readers, as I was left to wonder whether this would be the straw which broke their fragile familial bonds, or that which bound them more tightly together.

The guileless spontaneity of Danni’s own daughters, Diana’s granddaughters and the open loving relationship they enjoy with both their parents, but especially their mother, also brings home to Diana just what she has missed out on in that special mother/daughter bond. Memories which she can never and could never make, whilst she spent every waking moment lavishing love and praise on the son she had, and the one she left behind.

The lies, the secrets, the venom, the hatred, the despair, the loss, stretching back over decades, all are laid bare for the world to see, in the profoundly touching and emotionally draining last few weeks of Diana’s life, in a powerful storyline about sibling rivalry, a mother’s constant and unyielding disappointment, family relationships and dynamics, which was crafted by the author, with total confidence. The ravages of cruel, unseen illnesses were sympathetically brought to bear and forced out into the open, with absolute authority, by a multi-faceted, wonderfully defined, complex cast of characters, as building blocks to mending bridges, and healing hearts and minds. Whilst the characters all carried quite complicated personalities, I found that most were fairly easy to relate to and become invested in, even the ‘touchy’ Diana, who learns the lesson almost too late, that not talking together as a family had deprived her of and destroyed, so many years for her, when she might have been part of a loving family, and been loved, instead of hated, in return. Danni has spent a lifetime searching for a sense of belonging, reaching out to a mother who constantly pushes her away, now as the strands of Diana’s story begin to unravel, she is adult enough to be the one to reach out, to try to heal the wounds of a situation, which, it transpires, was the damaging legacy left by the previous generation, that still had the power to hold Diana emotionally captive into her latter years and almost to her grave.

The ending to this tale, whilst sad and inevitable, was peaceful and sows the seeds of change and new beginnings for the rest of the family and their closest circle of friends, which will see them changed forever, moving forward with their lives, together, supporting one another, through the good times and the bad.

“Know the truth and the truth will set you free!”

This book actually took me on quite a personal journey on, oh! so many fronts, and whilst I am certain that it might not have been especially unique, the feelings and emotions it evoked for me, most certainly were!

Alternative image of author Julia Roberts

A Kindle download of this book for review and promotional purposes, was kindly gifted to me by the publisher, with the download being facilitated by NetGalley.

Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars!

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

View all articles
Leave a Reply to Anca Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

6 comments
  • I mentioned that I would want to read this book, as the mother seems awful (a very subjective description from my part), but now that I read your review I am curious to know more. 🙂
    You gave it 5 stars, which is unusual, so I can understand how much you loved this book.

    • Hi Anca,

      This was a very emotional book from just about everyone’s perspective.

      Danni has trouble reconciling the fact that she has never been good enough in her mother’s eyes – and never will be no matter what she does. Danni’s brother is the blue-eyed boy who can do no wrong, although he feels totally smothered by his mother.

      Diana herself, as you so rightly point out, sounds like an awful person, although when Danni actually gets to discover her mother’s story, she tries like I did, to give her the benefit of the doubt. I’m not sure that either of us thought that despite the terrible things which had happened to her, she needed to be quite such a terrible mother, particularly to Danni, and I’m not sure that complete forgiveness was ever a possibility.

      Diana does try to make things right in her own way, but it is ‘too little, too late’ and just goes to highlight that being honest and talking about problems can often bring about natural forgiveness and closure.

      You really do need to read this one for yourself, as there is so much more to the story, but that would be giving away ‘spoilers’ which I don’t want to do!

      You’ll soon see why I gave it 5 stars 🙂

      • OK, I’m 100% curious about it. 🙂 I looked at my local libraries to see if I can find it. I didn’t, but I will keep this in mind. Last time I read a book you’ve recommended I loved it. 🙂

        • I’m always really nervous about recommending books, as reading is something so personal and what you may enjoy, I might not and vice versa. That is especially true if a book has to be purchased, but if you are a confirmed library reader that’s not so bad! I did check and the Kindle edition of the book is set at 99 pence on Amazon. I do hope you manage to get hold of a copy, I don’t think you will be disappointed! 🙂

  • I’m torn as to whether I want to read this one or not. I had a wonderful relationship with my mother, but lost her to cancer when I was a teen… so I don’t always enjoy stories focusing on difficult mother/daughter relationships. Also, my MIL suffered from Alzheimer’s, so I don’t really like stories dealing with dementia. (avoidance on my part?!) However, this sounds good and I really like your first choice of “memorable lines”.

    • Hi Kelly,

      There is a reason why Diana treats Danni the way she does, although I’m not sure it is a good enough one for her to have carried on with her behaviour into Danni’s adulthood, especially now that Danni has children of her own, who have a very distant relationship with their grandmother because of it. If only they had talked sooner, maybe things could have been sorted out years ago.

      My relationship with my own mother was quite traumatic, but that was for a completely different reason to Diana and Danni’s, however I still felt quite emotional when reading.

      My FIL passed away three years ago with Alzheimer’s, so I could see some of the developing traits in Diana, as they had happened to him, not pleasant to watch and as it was beginning to upset him so much, almost a relief when it was over for him.

      I still think you might find this story interesting, I hasten not to use the word ‘enjoy’, as there are a couple of twists in the storyline which I never saw coming, which made things very intriguing and the writing style was beautiful. Also it is on a good offer price at Amazon.com!

Written by Yvonne

Archives