Cover Image: The Mother's Secret

The Mother's Secret

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Member Reviews

I found this book to be most gripping and I just wanted to keep reading.  Good characters and plot line too.
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A story about secrets and lies that I have finished this in less than a day!
A great quick little read.
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I am genuinely sorry it took me so long to get round to reading this book, as what an amazing read it was.  This was a story about families and secrets and really drew me in and kept my interest.  I look forward to reading her next book!
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This is a tautly plotted story, well thought-out, and heart-rendingly emotional as the reader tries to imagine being in Georgie’s shoes. Her life as she knew it has been built on quicksand.
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Interesting read full of secrets. Intense and atmospheric, a really fab read for fans of domestic thrillers
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I received a digital ARC of #TheMother'sSecret by #NetGalley for an honest review.

Omg what an amazing book! Such an emotional rollercoaster to read and I totally got immersed in it. I couldn't put it down. It is a really hard book to review without giving away massive spoilers, which I don't want to do! I didn't anticipate the twist that Sandy provides though!

We discover pretty early on what the secret is and then the rest of the book is about the characters coming to terms with that discovery and the impact it has on all their lives. Can their relationships survive this bombshell? There is obviously a lot of hurt and anger involved, as well as happiness and relief. 

The story is told through multiple perspectives - Georgie's, Jan's and Kimberly's. When I read part one I was shocked and a little disgusted at how Jan could have done what she did. However after reading part 2 I totally felt sorry for her and understood that she was in a totally bad place mentally, was feeling all alone and genuinely meant no harm by it (though in no way do I condone what she did). One spur of the moment decision brought on by grief leads to a whole lifetime of lies and deceit, secrets and living in fear. It has numerous repurcussions for the families of everyone involved.

As with most uncorrected proof copies or advanced copies, there were a few spelling mistakes and layout errors (nothing too distracting though!) that I assume will have been corrected before publication.
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Thought this book had a nice steady pace and fragile plot which was beautifully written.
The characters are all believable that you become so engrossed in their secrets, lies, loss and grief, that you just can't put it down.
Definitely one for you holiday reading list.

Thank you netgalley, Clare Swatman and Pan for allowing me to read and review this book.
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Having read and loved Clare’s debut novel last year, Before You Go, (you can click here to see that review) it’s a pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for this second book The Mother’s Secret.  My thanks to Rosie of Pan Mac for the invitation to take part in the tour and for the Netgalley copy to review.

Georgie, her older sister Kate and mum Jan have always been a team of 3.  The two girls have always been close and Jan has always been overprotective of them as they were growing up, not letting them go to parties, or out to play with other children but keeping them by her side. Whilst an older Kate has been able to spread her wings a little and travel, Georgie has been the one that has stayed – she has never travelled abroad, lives with her boyfriend and their young daughter but has never married, all it seems with the encouragement of her mother. However when Georgie decides to investigate a little further, what she discovers completely shatters her whole world.

In Her Mother’s Secret, Clare Swatman has written an emotional story of grief, love and deceit. Now in her 50’s Jan is becoming increasingly confused and her behaviour erratic. It’s clear that she is suffering from some form of dementia however what secret is she hiding in her confused mind.

The story is told mainly from the perspective of three characters. Jan’s story begins when she was young and living in Norfolk in the 1960s/1970’s with her best friend Sandy. Jan meets biker Ray, and although theirs is not a perfect relationship, they love each other and muddle through well enough. Jan’s part of the story was one of the book’s highlights for me and I was completely engrossed in her younger life. I wanted to know what type of person she was and what made her tick. I was a teenager in the 70s so a lot of the references were familiar and it felt quite nostalgic being taken back in time.

I did find myself shifting alliances between the characters. At times my sympathies were with Georgie, and at other times with her mother. I’m not sure that I ever really liked Jan, either as a younger or older woman. The young Jan seemed a very discontented and hard to please person and the older confused Jan was just nasty. As for Georgie, I felt that she could have handled some aspects in a much more sensitive way but then who knows exactly you would react in that situation.

The reader learns fairly on what the secret is but the story then focuses on the fallout from the discovery and how far the devastation caused by just one split second decision can reach.

With a well structured plot and superb characterisation, The Mother’s Secret is a gripping and poignant read. It’s heartbreakingly sad at times but also there is hope – and the realisation of how strong the bonds of family can be.
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A gripping story of a family.  A mum and two daughters.  A very protective mum.  Georgie needs some documents, goes searching and opens a major can of worms.  A really heartbreaking story with a truly realistic feel to it.  A really good paced family saga.  Well recommended from me!
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Ooo, I do love a book centred around a dysfunctional family full of secrets and lies. Even if sometimes I have to suspend belief a little bit along the way. 
This one features sisters Kate and Georgie. Where Kate has managed to fly the coop and branch out to her own life, Mother Jan has always kept Georgie closer to her so she has never really had her own life. But thing are about to change as Georgie decides that it is time she started living, and the first step on her journey in her new life is getting a passport. But to do that, she needs a birth certificate. Not wanting to worry her mother, she and Kate contrive a time where Georgie can search her mother's house to find it. In the attic she discovers something. Something which that sets her on a new path. Well, it's not what she finds, it more what she doesn't find. This sends her spiralling through the archives in the library, searching for information and what she finds there is shocking. 
Told in the present day and with the past included in flashback, it's a story that is alternately heartbreaking and uplifting as the lid is removed completely and the truth finally comes out.
This was a story of two halves for me. Some of it is pretty obvious from the outset but the author does throw in curve balls and teasers along the way that did keep me on my toes. 
I wasn't completely convinced about Georgie and she did act a bit strange at times but then, never having been in her situation, I can't say what would be "normal" behaviour in her situation. There's no how-to-act book to advise what to do when faced with what she had to deal with. I mean, her world as she knew it has just evaporated.
The niggles I had along the way weren't too bad and, on the whole, easy for me to put aside for the sake of the story which was, in itself, compelling. The ending however did fall a little flat for me. As the main crux was pretty obvious to me, I was hoping for something a little extra for the final act but I didn't quite get that so I didn't quite leave the book as satisfied as I would have liked to be. There were also a couple of things that I would have liked the author to expand on but I guess, I can easily make my own story about what I think would/could have happened there.
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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We all expect our mothers to tell us the truth no matter what, right? We also put our faith into them from the moment we entered this world, relying on them to guide us and help us blossom as we grow up. But what if you found out that your entire life had been a lie? What if you found out that your mother had been keeping a secret from you all of your life? What if everything you’ve always known, ends up revealing that in actual fact, you’ve known absolutely nothing?

It doesn’t bear thinking about really, does it? I mean, our mothers wouldn’t do that to us….would they?

It feels like I’ve been waiting AGES for Clare Swatman to release her second novel, especially seeing as her debut was one of my top reads of 2017 – how was she going to top that?! Reader, she topped it in a completely different way. Whilst both books are exceptional stories, they are also written completely differently which means that comparing them would be highly unfair. I have fallen in love with both books for various reasons, and by golly Clare Swatman certainly does NOT disappoint with her highly anticipated second novel.

I am genuinely surprised that my heart is now in one piece, given the amount of times it broke in two whilst reading this book! Even though it was pretty clear from the onset where the storyline was heading, including what the big ‘dun dun dun’ moment was that was going to be revealed in due course, it didn’t change my opinion of the book at all. It soon became clear that whilst the heartbreak was made clear early on, the author wrote the book in such a way which was guaranteed to make the reader wish the heartbreak wasn’t true at all. It was as though the entire situation had a big question mark looming overhead – was it true? Or was one of the sisters making a mountain out of a molehill?

I had no idea what to think or what to believe. If the situation ended up being true after all, why did it happen? What reason did they have to go to such lengths to cause long-lasting devastation? I was surprised at a couple of the character’s reactions when the truth came out because of how lenient their response appeared. I even asked myself whether I would respond in the same way if I were in their shoes and, to be perfectly honest, whilst my gut and heart says ‘no’, my mind is saying something completely different.

‘The Mother’s Secret’ has such a high level of complexity throughout the entire storyline, lasting until the very last page. Each individual character had its place within the book, adding another dimension to an already colourful storyline with their vivacious personalities. Unfortunately, those vivacious personalities didn’t last long, though I saw it as a positive as I was able to see an alternative side to the character, finding out a little bit more about what made them tick. For me, the change in the characters meant that I was able to see them as realistic, two-dimensional characters instead of one with a chip on their shoulder. I knew Clare Swatman could write her characters well, but goodness me – this author has really outdone herself.

I absolutely loved this book, even with its shocking, devastating and emotional scenes, it still managed to warm my heart in a way I had never thought possible. ‘The Mother’s Secret’ may be based around one big event, but it also contains a lot of themes which I believe multiple readers will be able to relate to and find comfort in. I really don’t wish to divulge what those themes are in fear of spoilers, so please do trust me.

‘The Mother’s Secret’ opened my eyes to a world of endless possibilities, showing me how to get to the sunshine through the rain. My emotions were tested, my strength was challenged, yet my trust in Clare Swatman’s writing grew even more.

This author can write that’s for sure; she certainly proves that with this heart-wrenching, beautifully written, thought-provoking and absolutely stunning novel about life, loss, lies, trust, and forgiveness, teaching her readers that whilst not everything is ever as it seems, a flower can blossom even during a storm.

Probably one of the best books I have read so far this year, I am in awe at Clare Swatman’s literary skills and the way in which she not only writes to feed the mind, she also writes to feed the soul.

Devastatingly beautiful – I urge each and every one of you to read this book.
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Georgie and Kate have led a very sheltered life with their mum Jan.  Georgie moreso than Kate, and when the two girls chat about the fact that Georgie really needs to expand her horizons and overcome her fear of flying the girls decide the first step is to apply for a passport for her.  Which opens up a whole can of worms. Georgie has never seen her birth certificate - has never needed it for anything in her insular life - but mum Jan is suffering from the start of dementia and the subject feels far too delicate to bring up without unleashing an episode of rage from her.  Therefore the girls engineer an opportunity for Georgie to search the house while Kate takes mum out for lunch,  She finds no trace of any documents for herself, despite there being a boxful pertaining to Kate which makes Georgie very suspicious.  She takes herself off to the local archive library the following day but once again draws a blank.  She does however discover disturbing articles in the local newspaper of an upsetting event the day after she was born which, as shocking as they seem, do actually start to form the start of an explanation of why the girls' lives have been as closeted as they were.
Clare Swatman has written an emotionally charged story here which while acknowledging the wrong doing and the seriousness attached to the incident also reflects the state of mind that Jan was in when her life and those around her was changed forever.  I felt the events were very carefully handled, with the emotions of both sides of the story reflected perfectly. It is difficult to go too in depth into a review of the plot without giving too much of the story away but the characters are believable as are the circumstances throughout.
I thought the outcome was perfect as it wasn't a complete happy ever after ending yet offered a glimmer of hope to the family.
A very well written tale which I really enjoyed.
This review will appear on my blog at
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As the title of the book suggest this is a story about a deeply hidden secret that once uncovered threatens to tear the foundation of a loving family apart.  Sisters Kate and Georgie have always been close even though Kate has always been allowed a little more freedom than her younger sister but Georgie soon makes a discovery that throws her whole life upside down and everything she thought about her life has been a lie. 

From this moment on I was totally hooked on following Georgie's quest to find out everything she could about events that had happened, and how and why they came about.  It's hard to say much more without giving away a spoiler, although the secret is revealed quite early on, but the rest of the story follows the impact of how this shocking event in the past affects/affected the lives of everyone involved.  It doesn't help that the other central character involved, her mother Jan, has been diagnosed with a serious illness so she's not able to get the answers she needs from her so instead she has to take matters into her own hands to uncover the truth. 

Although the main storyline is set in the current day, 2016, from Georgie's viewpoint we are also taken back in time to 1975 to read Jan's story and the traumatic events that deeply affected her and led to everything else that unfolded.  In one way I totally could understand the way that Georgie was feeling and the need to find answers but at the same time it's sometimes better to not upset the apple cart as the truth may lead you to discovering something you may not be ready for.  As for Jan, no-one could really condone what she did but at the same time I could empathise with her as she was at a low, dark point in her life and her actions were totally out of character.

The Mother's Secret was a poignant, heart-wrenching read featuring secrets and lies that had my emotions all over the place, I really felt for both Georgie and Jan for totally different reasons.  An enjoyable read from Clare Swatman so looking forward to more excellent stories from her in the future.
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Kate and Georgie's mother Jan is growing increasingly more confused and it is clear that she has some form of early onset dementia. Jan was an incredibly protective mother who rarely let her daughters go anywhere without her other than school. Her husband died when before Georgie was born. Georgie feels sad that her mother did not seem to have opportunities in life and is determined that she will. She has never travelled abroad and realises that she doesn't have her birth certificate which she will need to apply for a passport. It is when she goes searching in her mother's attic that she discovers something which will turn her world upside down.

This was a book which I read with my sympathies ever changing. At first, I was of course completely understanding of how Georgie was feeling particularly when what she discovered became even more shocking. But then I often felt irritated with her too because of they way she then treated her family, especially her sister Kate. Her part of the story was particularly compelling and the focus is most certainly on her throughout. Similarly, I felt sorry for Jan to begin with then felt angry when it becomes clear what she has been hiding. Further revelations provoked more sympathy but only to a certain degree.

The parts of the book where we go back and learn about what was happening with Jan in the 1970s when she met and married Ray were also intriguing. The reader may well guess partly what has happened but it does not diminish the enjoyment of the story. The author captured the atmosphere of the 1970s really well I felt, particularly with all the musical references. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane! Going back to find out Jan's story really fleshed out the story and with the addition of another character's account, the reader has a clearer idea of what led up to the events hidden for so long. I won't mention who the other character is as that might give too much away, but I half-expected something different to have happened to them.

A poignant story where there was much sadness, loss and grief, I felt there was also some hope at the end of the book. The Mother's Secret is a very readable story of secrets and lies, the way the effects rippled through the years and affected so many people.
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The Mother's Secret is a compelling read, about a secret that blows a family apart. Kate and Georgie are sisters in their late 30s. They grew up with their mother, Jan, their father having died when Kate was small and Georgie not even born yet. Whilst they knew their mother was overprotective, they never really thought anything much of it. It was just the way it was. But Georgie discovers something that puts a new slant on everything she's ever known.

At the beginning I didn't want put this book down. There was a point when I knew Georgie was going to make a momentous discovery and, very frustratingly, I did have to put the book down. That delicious secret had to wait. I have to say though, that it was not an unexpected turn of events, but still quite exciting to be with Georgie at this time. 

We follow Georgie as she tries to come to terms with what she has learned about her past. Jan is becoming ill and is not stable and this adds to Georgie's distress as she cannot discuss matters with her in a rational manner and get the answers she needs.

I really liked Georgie's character. It's very much her story, although we look back at Jan's story and another character also has a spotlight (I won't say who as that would give it all away). I did think that there were threads that might have been explored further, in particular with relation to this other character, and I was half-expecting a bit of a twist there. I also think the author missed a trick in not telling us anything particularly new in these other characters' sections. 

Overall I thought this was a good read and a very easy one which I raced through. It's really a family saga, a look at how secrets and lies can eat people up. I enjoyed it.
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The Mother's Secret is a powerful story about family, secrets and devastating lies Love keeps us together Sisters Kate and Georgie have always shared a close bond. While Kate enjoyed the freedoms of youth, Georgie remained at home. 

But now Georgie is grown up, it’s time she started exploring. Love can tear us apart Their mother Jan loves her daughters with all her heart. So what if she kept them out of sight when they were young? She just cared for them so much. She wanted to protect them. 

What if your life was based on a lie? Maybe there was another reason for Jan’s protective behaviour? If they ventured too far afield, it might destroy the facade of their childhood. This family’s about to discover that while lies can cause pain, the truth could destroy them all.

I really enjoyed this book.  Even though I guessed some of it, there were parts that were completely unexpected which was really nice.  4*
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Really enjoyed this book. Kept me guessing. One to read & enjoy.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this as an arc.
I really enjoyed this book, it was more of a family drama, full of secrets and lies, than a thriller though. I loved the relationship between the sisters Kate and Georgie, it was very natural and realistic. I also really enjoyed hearing their mother Jan's story of her youth in the 1970s, it was very evocative of the time.
I thought the characterisation was superb, making the reader really invested in the people involved.
Very well written and really quite sad at times, this was a great read and I would certainly recommend.
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The Mother’s Secret is a story of love, lies and secrets. Sisters Georgie and Kate have always had a close bond. Kate enjoyed freedom as a youth whilst Georgie preferred to stay at home but now at the age of 37, Georgie is planning on spreading her wings. As the story unfolds secrets become apparent and Georgie is on a path of exploration.

The story started off well enough but I found it lacked pace and whilst an enjoyable read it didn’t keep me that enthralled.

Thank you to NetGalley, Pan Macmillan and the author for the chance to review.
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