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!
MY MOTHER’S SECRET
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.
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
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”
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.
“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”
“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!
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!