The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham (Psychological Thriller, 2017).
On the surface, Meghan has a pretty wonderful life. She’s married to a handsome and successful sportscaster. She has two lovely kids and is pregnant with a third. Plus she’s beautiful, elegant and well-educated, and she writes one of the most popular ‘Mummy’ blogs in all of England. But beyond the surface, things aren’t so grand.
And then there’s Agatha: a lowly supermarket worker in what she’s convinced herself is a relationship with a Royal Navy sailor she had a brief fling with and who’s now on sea duty far away. Burdened with a seriously messed up personal history that the author only very gradually unveils for the reader, she totally idealizes yet also deeply envies Meghan’s ‘perfect’ life.
Without utterly spoiling things, I will also note that Agatha is desperate and delusional to the point of outright insanity. She’s clever enough to hide her pathology while worming into the fringes of Meghan’s existence. But soon enough her mental illness is going to manifest itself, bringing new and worse pain to Meghan and those around her.
And while Agatha certainly has more than her share of dark (even horrific) secrets, Meghan’s marriage has some serious problems and she has shameful secrets of her own to protect.
These two women’s lives become dangerously entangled, resulting in an effective and affecting psychological crime story.
A former investigative journalist, Robotham has won a series of awards for his psychological thrillers and this one may very well earn him more acclaim. In this case, he expertly alternates chapters between the viewpoints of the two women. This results in a disturbing, yet intriguing novel that never fails to hold the reader’s interest and builds to a powerful climax.