ARC Review: My Mother’s Secret by Sanjida Kay

Author: Sanjida Kay
Publisher: Corvus
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Release Date: 3rd May 2018



You can only hide for so long… Lizzie Bradshaw. A student from the Lake District, forced to work away from home, who witnesses a terrible crime. But who will ultimately pay the price? Emma Taylor. A mother, a wife, and a woman with a dangerous secret. Can she keep her beloved family safely together? Stella Taylor. A disaffected teenager, determined to discover what her mother is hiding. But how far will she go to uncover the truth? And one man, powerful, manipulative and cunning, who controls all their destinies.

This book starts out quite slow and it took me a little while to get into it. There are a number of characters who are introduced in one go and it is disorientating just as you become familiar with one character, the chapter ends and follows a different one.
The story is told from the perspective of three characters; Emma, her daughter, Stella and Lizzie.

Once I got into the book it became really hard to put down.  As soon as it became prominent that Emma is keeping an immense secret from her family, with no clue as to what it was, I felt a strong need to find out! I also needed to understand how Lizzie fits into the picture because for a long time her part of the story feels disjointed and completely unrelated.

The story unfolds itself in a slow-burning but riveting way. It wouldn’t describe this book as fast-paced yet I really struggled to put it down sometimes. It had pulled me in so strongly and made me feel the characters were so real that I needed to understand the secrets that were woven between them.

One thing I loved about this book was the fact that it had several well thought out twists and dramatic turns. They didn’t feel forced and they had been carefully planted much further back in the story which made it feel shocking yet realistic whenever it was revealed. The twists were also very cleverly written because of the fact that they were not all seeded and unloaded at the same time. The twists started coming from about halfway into the story so it kept it really interesting.

Some of the twists I could see coming but I’m sure that was intentional; whereas some of the other aspects of the story, I only suspected them right before they were revealed to the reader.

Another thing I absolutely loved about this book was all the literary references! Jane Eyre and many of Margaret Atwood’s novels were frequently referred to in this story and that made me appreciate this book all the more – there’s nothing that wins me over quite like a link to my favourite book!

The epigraph of the book reads:

‘If I were to marry you, you would kill me.’

Reader, I married him.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

This instantly made me more intrigued and after reading it, it was such an apt quote to choose and I loved it.

This was a cleverly written and carefully plotted psychological thriller, I would definitely recommend it.

Rating: 8/10



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