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The trouble with secrets, she thought, is that they start to take over our lives They take on a life of their own They change us They make us change to keep them And that s not always a good thing My Mother s Secret is the twentieth novel by Irish author, Sheila O Flanagan Roisin, the eldest of the Sheehan siblings, is insisting that they hold a big surprise garden party for the fortieth wedding anniversary of their parents, Jenny and Pascal, at their Wexford home in Aranbeg Extended fam The trouble with secrets, she thought, is that they start to take over our lives They take on a life of their own They change us They make us change to keep them And that s not always a good thing My Mother s Secret is the twentieth novel by Irish author, Sheila O Flanagan Roisin, the eldest of the Sheehan siblings, is insisting that they hold a big surprise garden party for the fortieth wedding anniversary of their parents, Jenny and Pascal, at their Wexford home in Aranbeg Extended family from both sides are invited Her brother, Davey is bringing his new girlfriend, Camilla, from Copenhagen, and Roisin s younger sister, Steffie can easily do quite a bit of work she doesn t have a husband and three kids to organise, and running her graphic design business from home isn t a proper job, after all Roisin likes to maintain tight control over these affairs someone has to , managing them with something akin to military precision, and even though Steffie doubts that Jenny will be thrilled about the surprise, she and Davey acquiesce it s easier to go along than to argue with Roisin But this time, not everything goes according to plan cousin Carl, currently on a break from Bernice, his girlfriend of eight years, attracts the ire of both his mother and Roisin when he brings Summer, a buxom, young aspiring model with cocktail making talents the morning s clear blue sky begins to fill with ominous black clouds Bernice, invited before the break , decides to take up her invitation as a lightning strike sets fire to a nearby chestnut tree, Roisin s daughter, Poppy falls out of the apple tree, requiring a dash through the now flooded roads to the hospital emergency room As if that s not enough, Jenny then drops her bombshell O Flanagan gives the reader a believable plot that manages to include extreme weather, a lost engagement ring, a nude model, an apostolic benediction, childhood infatuation, jealousy, resentment, anger, several unplanned pregnancies, a broken arm,than one big secret, and a twist or two at the end Her characters are realistic none is wholly good, and their flaws make them all theappealing The exception, perhaps, is Pascal aperfect husband is hard to imagine She gives her characters natural dialogue and some insightful observations We all think, Alivia mused, that the older generation lead much duller lives than us, but the truth is that everyone has their own crisis to deal with This is a novel with humour and heartache and a believable ending While the astute reader will have Jenny s first revelation sussed early on, this does not detract from the enjoyment of the journey Fans will not be disappointed, and newcomers to O Flanagan s work will want to seek out her earlier novels Heart warming, entertaining and very enjoyable With thanks to The Reading Room and Hachette for this copy to read and review I have to say this is not this authors best work when I compare it to her previous books It was very predictable from the start and really didn t suit the modern day time period. received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review Mistakes, she thought Everyone makes them Even the people you think never do And everyone needs forgiveness Everyone has the power to forgive I ll just get this off my chest right now and say that this was a mixed bag for me throughout Now, I did enjoy it but before the big reveal my main thought after Ireland and I like Jenny and Pascal so far Steffie not sure about yet was So glad Roisin isn t my sister received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review Mistakes, she thought Everyone makes them Even the people you think never do And everyone needs forgiveness Everyone has the power to forgive I ll just get this off my chest right now and say that this was a mixed bag for me throughout Now, I did enjoy it but before the big reveal my main thought after Ireland and I like Jenny and Pascal so far Steffie not sure about yet was So glad Roisin isn t my sister Roisin drove me nuts for at least half of this book though in a couple parts I could understand why she was reacting like that before redeeming herself for me near the end Her comments about marriage kids sibling s lives had me gritting my teeth and wanting to smack her If we had been related, I would have been either gagging my mental self or eventually shouting at her at some point we would have NOT mixed.Anyways, the beginning was a bit roughtelling than showing I was intrigued but not sure if I wanted to continue half thinking I would give it until the party part was over to throw in the towel.Then Jenny dropped her bombshells.Yup, two of em.Pretty sure my jaw was hanging open and it was a good thing I was at home and not in public Yes, the secrets are nothing new in fiction but holy crap I felt so bad for view spoiler Steffie learning Pascal wasn t her biological dad and that both parents had kept it from her hide spoiler I was just wanted to wrap this person in a huge hug and feed them cookies and help them hide away.Davey grew on methan his girlfriend did I liked her and all but wish we would havefrom their perspective.Colette creeped out at first and then I wanted to punch her After certain revelations those feelings lessened and I was happy she worked herself out but still mentally distanced myself from her.Sarah and Lucinda Same with Camilla Davey s girl Except I wanted to kick themthan once but still wish we had gotten to know them.Carl Want to kick his behind from here to Tuesday Even with certain things revealed, his attitude made it hard to sympathize with him most of the time.Bernice Loved her and would love to see what happens to her next.Liam Same as Bernice and I wish him all the happiness in the world Despite his shorter appearance, he felt real Too bad his restaurant isn t a real place.that food sounded delicious Steffie She was the one of of the Sheehan siblings I could see myself being friends with Hers was my favorite POV besides Jenny s to read.Jenny and Pascal Pascal is a good man and him standing by Jenny and them being together still yes bad grammar, oh well P was heartwarming His narration felt awkward at times, like he was nervous unsure about telling his story to the audience not being in first person narration didn t help either Despite what Jenny did and kept it from her family, I felt for her No it isn t right that they kept it from everyone for so long but the quote about secrets taking on a life of their own and the lie being easier to go along with not the words from the book, forgot to mark that quote fit perfectly.The narration mostly felt like the family was recalling their story to someone who thought this was the best way to tell the tale Not criticizing it, but that was my personal take on it It didn t feel as personal as it could have, for me anyway.Another thought I had Yeesh, and I thought my family had Drama The Sheehan clan certainly had some cards up their sleeve.All in all, a good read been awhile since I had a good Family type tale Would recommend This review was originally posted on Between My Lines When a book title hints at covert family secrets, then that s a book that I HAVE to read Secrets are my kryptonite and family secrets evenso First Line of My Mother s Secret by Sheila O Flanagan A tiny bead of perspiration rolled along Steffie s eyebrow, gathering momentum as it slid down her cheek before landing with a plop on the enormous cardboard box she was carrying My Thoughts on My Mother s Secret by S This review was originally posted on Between My Lines When a book title hints at covert family secrets, then that s a book that I HAVE to read Secrets are my kryptonite and family secrets evenso First Line of My Mother s Secret by Sheila O Flanagan A tiny bead of perspiration rolled along Steffie s eyebrow, gathering momentum as it slid down her cheek before landing with a plop on the enormous cardboard box she was carrying My Thoughts on My Mother s Secret by Sheila O Flanagan When it comes to reviews here, my aim is always to be 100% open and honest in my opinions Sheila O Flanagan is an author I admire and respect and some of her previous books have been 5 star reads all the way for me However with this one, I enjoyed it, it entertained me but I wasn t blown away by it.It is a very solid 3 star read The characters are fully fleshed and captured the feel of a contemporary Irish family There were lots of different personalities and lots of different story strands and they all meshed together well In particular I really enjoyed the main character Steffie as she is independent, a little bit quirky and a little lacking in confidence I could identify with her and I enjoyed her growth during the book.I also appreciated the romance element of the book It didn t sizzle but it felt real and genuine and good humoured The main theme of the book is the celebration of Steffie s parents fortieth wedding anniversary and it was heart warming to see how love this couple still were after decades of the normal ups and downs of everyday family life It felt sweet but still sexy and sensual which I loved as I feel older couples can often be overlooked in romance books.The setting is in Ireland and the language and flow of the book felt very Irish I love reading about familiar settings and this book like all of Sheila s other books was a winner in this aspect.I did feel the book was a bit predictable and in a book about secrets, I would have preferred if the secret was harder to guess I do thinks it sof a character driven book than a plot driven book and I m giving a huge thumbs up to the characters but a half hearted wave to the plot.Overall an engaging book that would make for a enjoyable beach read It might not be wow but it is very readable and good fun if you like family drama and happy ever afters Who should read My Mother s Secret by Sheila O Flanagan Fans of Sheila s previous books will find entertaining characters here just as in all her previous books I d also recommend this to you if you enjoy quick, easy reads that make you feel all the emotions and that make you care about the characters Fans of authors such as Patricia Scanlan, Emma Hannigan and Rachael English should also enjoy.Thanks to Bookbridgr and Headline for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest unbiased review ( Book ) ⚆ My Mother's Secret ♖ When Steffie helps her two siblings organize a surprise wedding anniversary party for their parents her only worry is whether they ll be pleased What she doesn t know is this is the day that her whole world will be turned upside downJenny wants to be able to celebrate her ruby anniversary with the man she loves, but for forty years she has kept a secret A secret that she can t bear to hide any longer But is it ever the right time to hurt the people closest to you As the entire family gather to toast the happy couple, they re expecting a day to remember The trouble is, it s not going to be for the reasons they imagined Firstly I d like to thank the publisher headline for an ARC of this book via netgalley, in return for an honest review.Being a fan of Sheila O Flanagan books and having read them all I was delighted to get an ECopy of this one However I thought this book was just OK Certainly not one of her best It was predictable and tedious in places It did not take me long to finish it and I was able to predict what was going to happen next I was disappointed with this book. A boring book, in my opinion The characters are not engaging and the narrative doesn t make me want to readIt s not often that I don t finish a book, but this time I felt it would have been a waster to read on. Can you say d r a m a t i c Won this through Goodreads and it started off ok enough, but as the story went on, theI couldn t get into it I think it lost steam for me around the part we find out view spoiler Collette was in love with her cousinyeah, no And then poof she got over him What As far the main conflicts go, the Steffie thing was fairly predictable and the marriage thing didn t really make sense to meI don t understand why they couldn t have just gotten married at any o Can you say d r a m a t i c Won this through Goodreads and it started off ok enough, but as the story went on, theI couldn t get into it I think it lost steam for me around the part we find out view spoiler Collette was in love with her cousinyeah, no And then poof she got over him What As far the main conflicts go, the Steffie thing was fairly predictable and the marriage thing didn t really make sense to meI don t understand why they couldn t have just gotten married at any old point hide spoiler A lot of characters each with their own side plot can be interesting, but it can take away from diving deeper into the motivations of the main characters i.e Steffie, Jenny Pascal which is ultimately what the book is about.Also, it unnecessarily dramatic at times and I just wanted everyone to chill out.2.5 5 Also on Synopsis Imagine This You are happy for your parents Forty years That s a big deal Forty years of love, forty years of setting the best example for you to follow Though, really, let s face it, they set the bar really high when all you ve been able to handle is some non serious friends with benefits uncomplicated relationships A few months of orgasmic fun, that is Anyway, you are very much sure your parents would love to have a quiet time together Also on Synopsis Imagine This You are happy for your parents Forty years That s a big deal Forty years of love, forty years of setting the best example for you to follow Though, really, let s face it, they set the bar really high when all you ve been able to handle is some non serious friends with benefits uncomplicated relationships A few months of orgasmic fun, that is Anyway, you are very much sure your parents would love to have a quiet time together But your older unbearable sis is having none of it She wants to throw a surprise party for them, inviting friends, family and neighbours And you d rather help than have a rolling pin whacked against your head, really Besides things look like they d turn up just alright because nobody seems to be complaining But perhaps, maybe they are not teetering around town with three tiers of cake or climbing skyscraper ladders to fix up banners.Except your mum has decided to release a long kept secret s So things are not exactly going to be booze, cutting cake and making speeches.Roll out your tissues It s going to be one heck of a stormy summer party.Steffie s life summed up for your delight.My Review I liked this book Great storyline A family book you could get cosy with this summer So Woman decides on her fortieth anniversary, she can nolive a lie she s kept for years, and decides she cannot wait another day why Why to reveal it to everyone during the time her children want to throw her the biggest surprise During the same time her son is bringing in a girlfriend from Denmark to coax her into marrying him seeing just how happy his parents are A star A fun multiple character read As with all other family books, you d find yourself scrutinizing, turning over each character finding who you best relate with You would find your inner, dreamy, lovechild in Steffie You would find your inner bossiness and unbearable nature in Roisin You might also find your inner unsettled and fussy nature in Jenny, the mother A star Other characters make this book great as well There s Summer the cocktail mixer who s a bit of a hit amongst the older men of the family There s Colette, the cousin who s dumped three men at the altar There s Dave, the brother who s searching for a right moment to propose You d also love the meddling aunts who can t stand how happy Jenny and Pascal are OMG Moments would make this a great read for you OMG Moments you d really find yourself giggling at A star I liked this book But I really, really wished I could have loved, loved it I wanted less predictability,surprise On a general note, it a good book.I recommend this book to anyone who wants a family read to enjoy this summer Anyone who wants a multiple character read which doesn t make all the characters look the same, sound the same, be the same Anyone who wants a title with lots of heart, warmth and love should look no further than this Just when you think your family is normal..My nan used to read two books a day sometimes She devoured Mills Just when you think your family is normal..My nan used to read two books a day sometimes She devoured Mills Boon books along with any gentle tale of life in the country or a family saga My nan would have loved this book It s not a bad book, just a quick look at all the red stars on Goodreads tells me there are plenty of people who loved this quiet, suburban tale A tale centred around an Irish 40th anniversary surprise party and the bombshell announcements which follow from good old mum the person you would least expect to have secrets.It just didn t grab me The characters weren t really that interesting and I didn t care enough about them The father seemed to be extremely weak with no story of his own and the fact that the ending wrapped up so neatly and happily just didn t sit right I m told from the book jacket that there were witty moments to be found inside, but I didnt find them, however, there were some heartwarming andn touching ones I think it could be a cultural or generation gap for me bombshell part one, really wasn t that much of a big deal, which gave me another reason to feel distant from the story and the characters I found myself skipping pages and slipping away from the story completely.What I can say though, is that i m pretty sure my nan would have loved it, so Maureen, I send this tale up to you in the heavens 2 stars for me Skipping pages is never a good sign.Copy given to me for honest review by Hachette Australia.Follow Duffy duffythewriter or Facebook.com duffythewriter