I’ve been enjoying working my way through Australian author Michael Robotham’s older works, many of which form part of a series, so was delighted to come across The Secrets She Keeps which is a stand-alone story.
The Secrets She Keeps is told in alternate chapters by the two main characters, Agatha and Meghan. Both women are pregnant with their babies and are due within a few days of each other, but their similarities end there. Agatha is a loner who works in a menial, low-paid job. The reader is aware from the beginning that Agatha is mentally unhinged, an unreliable narrator who is obsessed with Meghan.
As the story unfolds it turns out that Agatha has had children in the past, all of whom have either died or been removed from her care.
Meghan’s chapters show how comparatively lucky she is compared to Agatha’s, but her life is not as perfect as Agatha believes it to be. Meghan and her husband Jack, an ambitious sporting commentator, have lost their connection with each other, and Meghan doubts that Jack is faithful to her. Meghan is also struggling with the knowledge that this, her third baby might not be Jack’s, after she had a drunken (and instantly regretted) fling with Jack’s best friend.
As a thriller, The Secrets She Keeps was more than a little predictable. The cover art, with a greyed out background and a red pram should have been my first clue, after the recent trend for stories with unreliable narrators which feature cover art showing red umbrellas or red raincoats. I guessed each twist in the story without being surprised by any, which was doubly disappointing as the writing itself was good and the story well told. However, I’ve loved everything I’ve read by this author in the past, so won’t let my disappointment with this story put me off reading other of their works.