Literature

Suspenseful, Entertaining Domestic Mystery | “The Secret Keeper’s Daughter” by Samantha King (2021) Book Review

Wow! This is what I felt as I finished reading “The Secret Keeper’s Daughter” by Samantha King. This book cannot completely be classified as a mystery-thriller per se; it’s more of a domestic mystery and suspense.

The story is about Holly Mayhew as she struggles to understand what has suddenly become wrong with her daughter, Marley. Holly feels like her daughter has suddenly become very withdrawn and not at all her usual self. She has given birth to a son very recently and it was both a difficult pregnancy and birth for her. Both she and her son almost didn’t survive it. This makes her think it might be a case of sibling jealousy, but there are no explicit signs from her daughter that points toward it.

She also has been at home taking care of her kids and unable to go back to her job as elementary teacher at her daughter’s school. Her health still hasn’t recovered from her pregnancy and all these have led to a gap in the relationship between her husband, Jordan, and herself. Due to her health issues, her husband doesn’t take it seriously when she conveys her doubts and fears about their daughter, and thinks she’s just overwhelmed by her workload. Her attempts to help Marley open up are also not been fruitful, and she tries to help her by asking her to use a worry box. Her distance from her husband also leads her to think he might be in an affair with her friend Amy who had grown up in her house and with whom she has a sometimes contentious and sometimes amiable relationship.

All these struggles combined together come to a head and force her to confront many of her childhood hang-ups and baggage. Her daughter’s messages in the worry box also raises more questions about people closest to her rather than answer her concerns. Her efforts to find the answers finally lead to a lot of secrets that had long been buried to come out.

The story actually carried a dark tone throughout and the author has a rather descriptive, terse prose which manages to pull the reader into the lives of the main characters. The characters had been given enough depth for us to see them as real people, faults and all. The author has managed to weave a clever story around the limited, literal take a child can have about the happenings around her. There are so many twists in the story, some of which you can never see coming. The story was so interesting that I read through the book in one go without putting it down. This is excellent writing by Samantha King and I would definitely be sure to check out all her future works as well.

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