An engaging, warm and thought-provoking new novel about a secret that can't be kept under wraps any longer - whatever the consequences.
When Steffie helps her two siblings organise 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 down.
Jenny 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...
A myriad of interwoven plots make us question love, marriage, relationships, loyalty and white lies, with lots of laughs along the way. - Newcastle Herald, Australia
Praise for Sheila's novels:
'O'Flanagan is insightful, witty and full of fun ... this is touching, tense and clever writing that will sell in its droves. Drink it deep like a refreshing glass of sangria and book the next flight to Seville to find your own summer of love - Irish Independent
Make some space in your suitcase - Candis
Really enjoyable... Will keep you guessing right up until the end - Heat
A very warm and touching book ... deserves to be a bestseller - Woman's Way
Romantic and charming, this is a real must-read - Closer
O'Flanagan's lightness of touch and gentle characterisations have produced another fine read; an ideal addition to that summer holiday - Sunday Express
“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, more 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 the more appealing. The exception, perhaps, is Pascal: a more perfect 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.
Sheila O'Flanagan is the author of many bestselling novels including The Hideaway, What Happened That Night, The Missing Wife, My Mother's Secret, If You Were Me, and All For You (winner of the Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award). She lives in Dublin with her husband.