REVIEW: SARAH MORGAN ✭ HOW TO KEEP A SECRET

REVIEW: SARAH MORGAN ✭ HOW TO KEEP A SECRETHow to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan
Published by Harlequin on July 10th 2018
Genres: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Harlequin, Netgalley
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four-stars

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 surprise

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 challege, 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.

HOW TO KEEP A SECRET

by Sarah Morgan

Secrets have a way to come out. Sooner or later. Secret also have this quality to get in the way of really knowing somebody. But a shared secret can also make a bond stronger. You can find secrets in each of those capacities in Sarah Morgan’s new story.

We meet three generations of women:

  • Nancy – mother of Lauren and Jenna
  • Lauren and Jenna – the sisters
  • Mack – Lauren’s daughter

I wish I could have given this story five stars. The one thing that just kept me from doing it is the way it was written. We get four different point of views and time gaps in between each chapter and that is one hell of a trick to pull off. I wish the author would have stuck with one or two characters for this story and told the others’ stories through their eyes. It felt a little too fragmented and took away from the depth it could have had.

It was never too late to move forward.

The characters we meet are:

  • Lauren, who fell into a hole when her husband died and left her with a mountain of debt. I liked her well enough and felt sorry for the things that were happening to her. While there was a lot of yearning and pining for the hero described, I didn’t feel she really wanted to be with him. There were weeks without interaction.
  • Jenna, who wanted to get pregnant so badly, it bordered on obsession. She invested a ridiculous amount of time to observe her cycle, take pregnancy tests and be miserable when she found out that it hadn’t taken.
  • Nancy, who never really built a relationship with her daughters. Out of the women I loved her the most because there was some real growth there.
  • Mack, who I thought was the least likable because of the teenage angst and passive aggressive and melodramatic attitude. Somebody should have taped her mouth shut. Verbal diarrhea isn’t pretty. Also, her point of view was the most unnecessary.
  • Add a broody, quiet ex-lover to the mix, who so obviously still loved Lauren and who didn’t get nearly enough page time and this could have easily been a new favorite. Scott was everything.
  • Greg, Jenna’s husband, who deserved so much more than Jenna’s obsession to become pregnant. He was a sweet, level-headed man whose feelings were treated so negligently.

“You think I sailed into the sunset and forgot about you? It didn’t matter where I was, you were still there with me along with the knowledge that I screwed up the most important decision of my life.”

While I found most of them likable some of them seemed ridiculously focused on their misery.

I would classify this story more women’s fiction than romance because that was handled more like a subplot. The main theme is how each of those people handle secrets, how they separate and unite, how they hurt but also heal when you get them out in the open.

I loved Ms. Morgan’s description of the island life. I felt right at home and could picture the coastal scenery vividly.  I adored the bond between the sisters, their mother Nancy was refreshing with her no-nonsense attitude and the truths she spoke.

The story itself is, while a little predictable, still heartwarming and lovely with its small town charm, the message poignant and meaningful, so it kills me to not be able to give this a 5-star rating. As a first time reader of Sarah Morgan I’m still impressed with her beautiful words though,. I’m looking forward to discovering more books by this author!

four-stars

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