I’m delighted to be re-sharing my review of Secrets We Keep by Faith Hogan. I have really enjoyed all of her books and chose this as one of my top reads this last year. As you can see, as well as the e-book cover on the left, the book now has a beautiful new cover for the paperback edition, seen on the right above.
I absolutely loved Secrets We Keep and found myself very emotionally involved with the characters. Secrets We Keep tells the stories of Iris and Kate and the secret Iris has long held within her heart. Kate is Iris’s great niece although they did not meet until Kate’s grandmother’s funeral, Iris’s sister. The two sides of the family had had little to do with each other over the years in order to protect this secret. Kate is a high-flying divorce lawyer in London but, increasingly dissatisfied with her life, she visits her great aunt and uncle in the small seaside town of Ballytokeep on the west coast of Ireland and falls in love with the place. She decides to start a new life in the town bringing the old bath-house back to life. As well as a chance to heal her broken heart after being jilted ten years ago, she finds new friendship and possible new love too.
What Faith Hogan has done so brilliantly in this book is to show all the different relationships in the book from Iris’s passionate first loves to the tenderness of the love between the elderly Iris and her husband Archie. Iris’s hopes and dreams and disappointments were clear to see and the heavy burden of her secret was sad to read about. Later in the book we discover she was not the only one with knowledge of that secret which was even more heartbreaking. The close bond between Archie and Iris was beautifully drawn and all the more poignant as Archie begins to slip into dementia and Iris fears losing him.
I particularly enjoyed the way Iris’s story unfolded, moving effortlessly between the past and the present, revealing just a little at a time and often leaving each time period with a mini cliffhanger.
Kate was a character I really warmed to. I couldn’t help but feel for her as she felt unable to put her past behind her. You might think that ten years is long enough for anyone to get over a broken relationship but as you will read, there were reasons which made it very difficult for Kate. What I loved about her was that she was actually such a strong character. She really took a risk leaving her law career behind her and taking on what seemed like a thankless restoring the old bath-house to its former glory. She is a loyal friend to Rita who is in a loveless marriage and really helps her to stand up for herself. She is so loving to the family she had never known and so supportive. As she works away renovating the bath-house she too comes across things which might just unlock more secrets from the past.
I must mention the idyllic sounding setting of Ballytokeep, by the wild sea. Although Ballytokeep with its bathhouse is a fictional place, the author says a similar bathhouse still operates at Enniscrone in County Sligo. I looked it up after I had read the book and have to say it is exactly as I pictured it when reading. Faith Hogan has painted a wonderful picture of the rugged cliffs, the wild Atlantic sea, the houses nestled round the coast, the beautiful windswept beach and showed the strong sense of community. I could completely understand why Kate felt welcomed and at home there, even though it was so different from her old life in London. As Kate says: “She only had to walk out her front door and she was on permanent summer holidays.” There is definitely a nurturing and healing feel to the town which made it sound such a wonderful place to live.
This is a beautifully told story, compelling and full of emotion. It is a hopeful look at love, loss and second chances and I really recommend it.
Thanks to JB Johnstone at Brook Cottage Books for the invitation to be part of the blogtour. Secrets We Keep is available now in paperback and ebook formats. You can order a copy at the following places:
Amazon.com: Secrets We Keep – Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk Secrets We Keep – Amazon.UK
Kobo: Secrets We Keep – Kobo
Nook: Secrets We Keep – Nook
GooglePlay: Secrets We Keep – Googleplay
iBooks: Secrets We Keep – iBooks
From the back of the book
Some people are good at keeping secrets but some secrets are never meant to be kept…
Two distant relatives are drawn together and forced to confront their pasts. A bittersweet story for fans of Patricia Scanlan and Adele Parks.
The beautiful old Bath House in Ballytokeep has lain empty and abandoned for decades. For devoted pensioners Archie and Iris, it holds too many conflicting memories of their adolescent dalliances and tragic consequences – sometimes it’s better to leave the past where it belongs.
For highflying, top London divorce lawyer Kate Hunt, it’s a fresh start – maybe even her future. On a winter visit to see her estranged Aunt Iris she falls in love with the Bath House. Inspired, she moves to Ballytokeep leaving her past heartache 600 miles away – but can you ever escape your past or your destiny?
Already an international top ten best seller, Faith Hogan is an original voice in women’s fiction. Her stories are warm and rooted in a contemporary Irish landscape which has lost none of its wit, charm or emotion thanks to its modern vibe.
Faith was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.
Her debut novel ‘My Husbands Wives’ is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin, published by Aria Fiction in 2016. Her second novel, ‘Secrets We Keep,’ is published in February 2017 – it has been included on the Netgalley ‘Hot List 2017.’ Her third novel – ‘The Girl I Used To Know’ is out now!
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very fussy cat. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.