Those Secrets We Keep by Emily Leibert
Published by NAL
Review copy provided by the publisher
Sloane loves her life – her husband adores her, she gets to stay at home with her young daughter, and their family has enough money that she doesn’t worry about much. But she can’t shake the nagging feeling that something is missing, so she takes the opportunity her aunt gives her to stay at a beautiful cabin in Lake George, New York for three weeks in the summer.
Sloane’s friend Hillary joins her for the trip. Hillary is carrying a big secret about why she can’t conceive a child with the husband who so desperately wants to be a father, and this trip just might give her the courage to be honest about it. At the last minute, Sloane’s old friend, Georgina, invites herself along for the trip, too. Georgina has always been wild, a spur-of-the-moment kind of person, but this time she’s escaping something very specific, something she is terrified to reveal to Sloane.
This novel had a lot of promise for me. I enjoy books about friendships, books sent in fun settings, and books with tough subjects and potential conflicts that arise from these tough subjects. Those Secrets We Keep had all of those elements. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this one much. I really didn’t like any of the characters and overall, the book just never came together for me. It could very well just be me, but here’s my opinion of what exactly didn’t work in the book.
The three women in the book really did nothing for me in terms of personality. They were catty and mean to one another, and jumped to conclusions about the motivations for each others’ behavior and choices. It was clear that there was a lot of pain behind the interactions between Sloane and Georgina, but there was so little effort towards a reconciliation that it was laughable. Why would they choose to spend this time together if they were just going to fight the whole time? It made zero sense to me. Hillary was a little better, constantly trying to be a peacemaker between the other two, acting as a voice of reason when all other reason was out the window, but eventually that kind of got old and I wanted her to have a personality of her own, something unique and special about her that I could latch onto in order to connect with her character. It never happened for me.
I also had a difficult time with the juxtaposition of the seriousness of the issues being discussed and the lighthearted manner the women displayed in dealing with the issues. We’re talking infertility, cancer, a death in the family, and more. And while this stuff was discussed, in fact it was in some cases a central part of the book, it was done in a strange way that treated these issues as secondary to the fights the women were having. I am not sure if I’m explaining it properly, but it just didn’t work for me.
While Those Secrets We Keep was disappointing for me, perhaps you’d enjoy it more. Stories about female friendships are important to me, and I like what Leibert tried to do here, it just wasn’t a novel that lived up to my expectations. If the description sounds interesting to you, though, by all means give it a try!