Having fallen head over heels in love with Clare Swatman’s debut novel, ‘Before You Go’, I am delighted to be sharing my review of the authors much awaited second novel, ‘The Mother’s Secret’, which will be published by PanMacmillan on the 22nd February. Huge thanks to the publisher for the blog tour invite as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review as part of the blog tour:
The Mother’s Secret is a powerful story about family, secrets and devastating lies
Love keeps us together
Sisters Kate and Georgie have always shared a close bond. While Kate enjoyed the freedoms of youth, Georgie remained at home. But now Georgie is grown up, it’s time she started exploring.
Love can tear us apart
Their mother Jan loves her daughters with all her heart. So what if she kept them out of sight when they were young? She just cared for them so much. She wanted to protect them.
What if your life was based on a lie?
Maybe there was another reason for Jan’s protective behaviour? If they ventured too far afield, it might destroy the facade of their childhood. This family’s about to discover that while lies can cause pain, the truth could destroy them all.
What does TWG think?
We all expect our mothers to tell us the truth no matter what, right? We also put our faith into them from the moment we entered this world, relying on them to guide us and help us blossom as we grow up. But what if you found out that your entire life had been a lie? What if you found out that your mother had been keeping a secret from you all of your life? What if everything you’ve always known, ends up revealing that in actual fact, you’ve known absolutely nothing?
It doesn’t bear thinking about really, does it? I mean, our mothers wouldn’t do that to us….would they?
It feels like I’ve been waiting AGES for Clare Swatman to release her second novel, especially seeing as her debut was one of my top reads of 2017 – how was she going to top that?! Reader, she topped it in a completely different way. Whilst both books are exceptional stories, they are also written completely differently which means that comparing them would be highly unfair. I have fallen in love with both books for various reasons, and by golly Clare Swatman certainly does NOT disappoint with her highly anticipated second novel.
I am genuinely surprised that my heart is now in one piece, given the amount of times it broke in two whilst reading this book! Even though it was pretty clear from the onset where the storyline was heading, including what the big ‘dun dun dun’ moment was that was going to be revealed in due course, it didn’t change my opinion of the book at all. It soon became clear that whilst the heartbreak was made clear early on, the author wrote the book in such a way which was guaranteed to make the reader wish the heartbreak wasn’t true at all. It was as though the entire situation had a big question mark looming overhead – was it true? Or was one of the sisters making a mountain out of a molehill?
I had no idea what to think or what to believe. If the situation ended up being true after all, why did it happen? What reason did they have to go to such lengths to cause long-lasting devastation? I was surprised at a couple of the character’s reactions when the truth came out because of how lenient their response appeared. I even asked myself whether I would respond in the same way if I were in their shoes and, to be perfectly honest, whilst my gut and heart says ‘no’, my mind is saying something completely different.
‘The Mother’s Secret’ has such a high level of complexity throughout the entire storyline, lasting until the very last page. Each individual character had its place within the book, adding another dimension to an already colourful storyline with their vivacious personalities. Unfortunately, those vivacious personalities didn’t last long, though I saw it as a positive as I was able to see an alternative side to the character, finding out a little bit more about what made them tick. For me, the change in the characters meant that I was able to see them as realistic, two-dimensional characters instead of one with a chip on their shoulder. I knew Clare Swatman could write her characters well, but goodness me – this author has really outdone herself.
I absolutely loved this book, even with its shocking, devastating and emotional scenes, it still managed to warm my heart in a way I had never thought possible. ‘The Mother’s Secret’ may be based around one big event, but it also contains a lot of themes which I believe multiple readers will be able to relate to and find comfort in. I really don’t wish to divulge what those themes are in fear of spoilers, so please do trust me.
‘The Mother’s Secret’ opened my eyes to a world of endless possibilities, showing me how to get to the sunshine through the rain. My emotions were tested, my strength was challenged, yet my trust in Clare Swatman’s writing grew even more.
This author can write that’s for sure; she certainly proves that with this heart-wrenching, beautifully written, thought-provoking and absolutely stunning novel about life, loss, lies, trust, and forgiveness, teaching her readers that whilst not everything is ever as it seems, a flower can blossom even during a storm.
Probably one of the best books I have read so far this year, I am in awe at Clare Swatman’s literary skills and the way in which she not only writes to feed the mind, she also writes to feed the soul.
Devastatingly beautiful – I urge each and every one of you to read this book.