Monday, September 21, 2015

Those Secrets We Keep by Emily Liebert

Release Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Group/NAL
Author Website:

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Sloane possessed the perfect life. She lived in a great neighborhood, married to a successful husband and had a beautiful daughter. However, she felt something missing after the passing of her sister that nothing seemed to fill. Needing time away to think, she and Hillary, her best friend, took the offer to stay a few weeks at Lake George where Sloane's aunt kept a house.

When Sloane's oldest and closest friend from college invited herself along for the vacation, old wounds and new hurts came out. These left the women broken from the weight of their own secrets and seeking healing comfort from whatever source they could find. Would these three women be able to pick up the pieces of their lives? Would others pay the price for their decisions?

I tend to search through NetGalley's offerings whenever I can't sleep at night.  That was how I found the latest offering by the author. Something about the premise of women not happy with having the security that most crave tugged at my mind. When I read the first chapter, I related with Sloane's quest to fill the gaping hole that recent events created in her life. Not because I have a beautiful daughter or a great husband ready to do anything I asked, but because the sting of losing someone closest to me turned my own life upside down.

Most of the book centered around Sloane and her two best friends, Hillary and Georgina. Each women carried the weight of a secret on their shoulders as they joined together for two weeks at a beautiful vacation home in St. George. Interestingly enough, both Hillary and Georgina embodied the attributes that Sloane desired most. Hillary was calm, rational and provided guidance whenever the events of the book spiraled out of Sloane's control. On the other hand, Georgina was carefree, wild and ambitious - everything that Sloane thought was missing in her life. As the story went on, the women found that their similarities tied them together much more than their differences. The author didn't let the women hog the spotlight. The men in their lives also spent part of the time coming to terms with their own issues and inadequacies while the women were at the vacation home. This introspection on the men's part helped give the book a balanced feel.

There was a smooth buildup in the book's pacing, easing me into the middle of Sloane's life. By setting the book in modern times, the author created a seamless transition from the reader's reality to the that of the Sloane and her friends. Using the natural settings of the shoreline, rocky alcoves, and lush green areas also brought the story to life and added a sense of calm though much of the women's lives fell apart. As the secrets bubbled to the surface, they became characters themselves and drove the story forward until the women were forced to deal with the secrets or run. What the women couldn't outrun were the consequences of their secrets and their choices. Whether they came clean or chose to harbor the secrets longer, the payment for that choice was clearly laid out for them.

Overall, I liked this story because it was easy to put myself into Sloane's, Hillary's or even Georgina's shoes and carry their respective secrets. While I can't imagine making the same choices, I could understand why the women did with the way the author structured the timing of the book. The contrast between the perceived reality of Sloane's perfect world and the true reality of her crumbling world view drove home the point that a person can never really know another person simply by looking in from the outside. People are truly complex creatures that always find a way to surprise a reader by doing the opposite of rational thinking when emotions and beliefs are put into play as well. This book should definitely be on your TBR if you're looking for an examination of friendship, love and relationship or simply love a great story about longing in all its forms.

Those Secrets We Keep by Emily Liebert is currently available in either paperback or digital (Kindle) forms at several online retailers. The following link provides the book's Amazon page for purchase.
Those Secrets We Keep by Emily Liebert

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