The Secrets She Keeps, Michael Robotham: Book Review
A psychological thriller brimming with dark secrets.
This novel is, in a way, an intense and occasionally disturbing psychological study of two women: Agatha and Meghan. Told in alternating POVs, the reader is gradually allowed to peel back the layers of their lives to reveal the dark secrets that lie beneath.
Set in an affluent London neighborhood, Agatha and Meghan are two very different women who are connected in the fact they are both pregnant. Meghan is a former journalist (but current blogger) with two children and a husband at home; Agatha stocks shelves at a grocery store and the father of her baby is a younger man who is a sailor in the Navy.
Agatha, in particular, is definitely a piece of work. As pieces of Agatha’s past are gradually revealed to the reader as the story progresses, a sort of understanding of how she became the person she is begins to form. Of course, it does not forgive her behavior, which is straight-up disturbing. Agatha is cold and calculating, something you would not guess from a middle-aged woman who works at a grocery store. She’s delusional, but remarkably clever and lucid at the same time. She is a woman of contradictions, which is what made her so fascinating. However, she is not a likable character or someone that I felt pity for.
Meghan, on the other hand, is more likable and understandable. She represents someone that we have all encountered before, whether in real life or while watching a television show. She carries the title of perfect mother and perfect wife and even has her own popular blog chronicling her relationship with motherhood. She seems pretty oblivious to the amount of privilege that she has, something that Agatha, on the other hand, is acutely aware of, but does indeed have her own secrets and problems that threaten to deconstruct her manicured existence.
This book takes a serious turn for the creepy early on thanks to Agatha’s peculiar behavior, which eventually builds up into being downright disturbing. Agatha is delusional and obsessed with the idea of being pregnant and having a perfect family, to a startling degree. She basically stalks Meghan. I’m purposely leaving out three major things that Agatha does that make her a complete psycho in my opinion since it has to be experienced firsthand.
This book is one wild ride, but it’s told thoughtfully, and, despite how insane some of the aspects are, it’s told realistically as well. I have to credit Robotham for infusing this novel with an incredible authenticity that is so hard for most authors to achieve, whether it’s in characterization or dialogue. Robotham managed to make both of these key aspects as realistic as possible.
Though this book does get a little weird every now and again, that’s a part of what makes it so compelling. This book is a legitimate page-turner, and I managed to read the whole thing in the span of a single day. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so thoroughly sucked into the universe of the novel – so engaged with the vivid writing and complex characters that the real world slipped away for several hours. That is a testament to just how mind-blowingly spectacular this book really was.
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