I've been reading Sarah Morgan's romances for a long time now and they're always so enjoyable. Like many romance authors in recent years, Morgan has just published a women's fiction novel, How to Keep a Secret. Personally, I think there's a lot of cross-over between the genres and the different marketing sometimes really frustrates me because they (publishers) really only do it because some
Here's the synopsis:
When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surpriseI do have to talk about the difference between this book and Morgan's usual romances (not rant-y, I promise). How to Keep a Secret isn't so much about the love stories (there are three of them) but more about the four Stewart women and their relationships with each other. The familial relationships are way more complicated and problematic than the romantic ones and I appreciated the balance between the two. It was actually quite refreshing because I haven't read a book like this in a little while and it was so well done.
Lauren has the perfect life...if she ignores the fact it's a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.
Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it's... Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she's determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.
Nancy knows she hasn't been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?
Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha's Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challenge, the rewards could be infinite...
Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan's brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.
The only thing I didn't really like was, funnily enough, the secrets that were being kept. I had a feeling I knew what Lauren and Jenna were keeping from their mother, and vice versa, but the girls' reasoning just didn't sit well with me. It was a sound reason at 11 and 8 ish but once they grew older? Not so much. I guess I just didn't understand why they wouldn't try to work past it. Maybe they thought the relationships were too damaged to try and repair them. This secret also caused a blow-up between Jenna and her husband that didn't seem very realistic but I think it was more a "last straw" than the actual problem. (Yeah, that's vague but spoilers must be avoided!)
I was worried that the story might get a bit confusing with all the points of view but Morgan managed to keep everything together well. I do think I wanted more time with/background of/interactions between the characters but it's hard to do in a story like this sometimes. I liked all the different viewpoints and how you could see as the story went on how the women were starting to trust each other more and become closer.
Oh my gosh. And the setting? I could totally picture The Captain's House and the lovely scenery Morgan painted for the reader. Made me crave a beach vacation or perhaps a visit to my hometown on Georgian Bay.
Finally, I have to share how exciting it was to see a character with the same name as me! She was minor (so minor she's only mentioned in passing) but I've only encountered this in two other books and twice in real life (the actress doesn't count).
How to Keep a Secret may not be a traditional Sarah Morgan romance but it has all the things readers look for when picking up one of her books - and more. Someone looking for a really light-hearted story would be disappointed (my recommendation is change your viewpoint/expectation and read it anyway) but anyone who wants a great story about family and love will be so pleased with Morgan's latest book.
*A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher, Harlequin, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*