EXCERPT: In the light, the face is clear. The eyes bulge, the lips are blue and swollen.
There is a beat of silence, a moment in time when all sound is drowned out.
Callie makes a strange noise, an animal howl that pierces the night.
Mia screams. Her whole body trembling, she screams and screams and screams.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: My baby girl, I’ll never forget you – your smile, your laugh, the way your hair sparkles in the sun. I cannot comprehend this pain. I cannot breathe through it.
In the middle of the night, Claire wakes up to discover that her beloved daughter, Julia, is dead – and life, as she knows it, is over.
Searching for answers, Claire stumbles upon a pile of letters, hidden under Julia’s bed in an old, battered shoebox, and feels closer to her daughter than ever before. They tell her that Julia was happy, that she was thriving at university, that she was in love.
But as the letters go on, Claire starts to feel uneasy at something hidden between the lines. Even as she grieves, she must prepare to face a shocking discovery. Because Julia was hiding a terrible secret – and when it’s uncovered, it will devastate a family already torn apart by tragedy.
MY THOUGHTS: Right out, I have to say that this is probably my least favorite book by this author. After an explosive start, it merely whimpers along, losing impetus and my interest. I was not sidetracked by the red herrings Trope throws the readers way as Claire tries to discover who Julia’s lover was. I knew from the outset. To me, it was blindingly obvious. But then, perhaps I read too many of these books.
The letters to Julia that intersect the chapters are repetitive and, until close to the end, add little of value to the storyline. A few less of them, with a little more variety, would have improved the read.
BUT. . . I kept reading. Trope makes pertinent and truthful observations on dealing with grief, particularly following a suicide: the disbelief at the unreality of the situation that rapidly crystallizes into anger, self-blame, and guilt. Why wasn’t I a better mother/ father/ friend/ husband/ wife/ lover? Why didn’t she talk to me? Why didn’t I notice that something was wrong? Why? Why? Why? As the author so rightly says ‘Being human is such a messy business.’
I didn’t find this a particularly emotional read, in fact, at times it felt like I was reading a manual on surviving suicide. At other times, I found the writing over-emotive, e.g. ‘I’m her mother. I gave up the right to my own happiness when I had her.’
Just as in life, there are no clear answers in this book.
THE AUTHOR: Nicole Trope went to university to study Law but realised the error of her ways when she did very badly on her first law essay because-as her professor pointed out- ‘It’s not meant to be a story.’ She studied teaching instead and used her holidays to work on her writing career and complete a Masters’ degree in Children’s Literature. After the birth of her first child she stayed home full time to write and raise children, renovate houses and build a business with her husband.
The idea for her first published novel, The Boy under the Table, was so scary that it took a year for her to find the courage to write the emotional story. Her second novel, Three Hours Late, was voted one of Fifty Books you can’t put down in 2013 and her third novel, The Secrets in Silence, was The Australian Woman’s Weekly Book of the month for June 2014.
She lives in Sydney with her husband and three children
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of My Daughter’s Secret by Nicole Trope. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2721788596 . For a preview of this book please visit