book reviews

Book Review: The Art of Keeping Secrets


The Art of Keeping Secrets
: Rachel Johns
Published: 2016
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 440
My Rating: 5/5

I must admit, I’m becoming quite the Rachel Johns fan. After reading her 2015 release, The Patterson Girls, I was one of the many eagerly awaiting her new novel The Art of Keeping Secrets.

The Art of Keeping Secrets follows the lives of three best-friends. Felicity; happily married to every woman’s dream husband Seb, with two equally wonderful children. There’s Emma, who struggles to make ends meet for her and her three kids whilst dealing with her irritating ex-husband and his new trophy wife. And finally, single mum Neve, whose world is her son. The three have been friends since their sons began high school together, and who are now close to graduating. But, all three women harbour secrets which they have held onto for years, and each will be forced to face the truth, and the fall out of keeping secrets, whether they like it or not.

At the core of this story is the theme of friendship. And how as much as you think you know someone, as much as you think you tell each other everything – we are all keeping our own secrets. Secrets that we don’t know how to confront, secrets that we fear will tear friendships and relationships apart. And secrets that will grow into lies eventually too hard to contain.

Characters are always the heart of these stories, and Rachel is a master at creating complex yet relatable characters. Characters in which we can often see a reflection of ourselves. That is what makes Rachel’s writing so strong. The ability to allow the character to touch the reader, encourage them to ask questions, and compel them to connect with the story and invest in each character’s journey.

There wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t engaged in this story. From the very first chapter, I didn’t want to put the book down. I felt like a fly on the wall overseeing the story and I needed to know what was going to happen. The narrative, the characters, the events, made me want to completely immerse myself into the book and not come out until I’d read the closing sentence.

Ah, Rachel. How do you do it? How do you tell such human stories with such warmth, compassion and honesty? Really, I want to know as it’s books like these that make my heart swell with emotions from end to end of the spectrum.

The Art of Keeping Secrets has been one of my favourite books for the year. And if you’re a fan of the likes of Liane Moriarty, I have no doubt you will love this book.