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The Art of Keeping Secrets

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Little secrets grow up to be big lies… They’ve been best friends since their sons started high school together, and Felicity, Emma and Neve share everything … or so they thought. But Flick’s seemingly perfect marriage hides a shocking secret which, with one word, threatens to destroy her and her family’s happiness. Emma is in denial about a potential custody battle, her fina Little secrets grow up to be big lies… They’ve been best friends since their sons started high school together, and Felicity, Emma and Neve share everything … or so they thought. But Flick’s seemingly perfect marriage hides a shocking secret which, with one word, threatens to destroy her and her family’s happiness. Emma is in denial about a potential custody battle, her financial constraints, the exhaustion she can’t seem to shake off and the inappropriate feelings she has for her boss. And single mum Neve is harbouring a secret of her own; a secret that might forever damage her close-knit relationship with her son. When the tight hold they have each kept on their secrets for years begins to slip, they must face the truth. Even if that truth has the power to hurt the ones they love, and each other. Perhaps some secrets weren’t made to be kept.


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Little secrets grow up to be big lies… They’ve been best friends since their sons started high school together, and Felicity, Emma and Neve share everything … or so they thought. But Flick’s seemingly perfect marriage hides a shocking secret which, with one word, threatens to destroy her and her family’s happiness. Emma is in denial about a potential custody battle, her fina Little secrets grow up to be big lies… They’ve been best friends since their sons started high school together, and Felicity, Emma and Neve share everything … or so they thought. But Flick’s seemingly perfect marriage hides a shocking secret which, with one word, threatens to destroy her and her family’s happiness. Emma is in denial about a potential custody battle, her financial constraints, the exhaustion she can’t seem to shake off and the inappropriate feelings she has for her boss. And single mum Neve is harbouring a secret of her own; a secret that might forever damage her close-knit relationship with her son. When the tight hold they have each kept on their secrets for years begins to slip, they must face the truth. Even if that truth has the power to hurt the ones they love, and each other. Perhaps some secrets weren’t made to be kept.

30 review for The Art of Keeping Secrets

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This was my first book by Rachael Johns and it will certainly not be my last! It's a great story about three life long friends who think they know each other so well and then find they each have one huge secret they have not shared. This was a book that was really hard to put down. The chapters rotated between the POVs of the three main characters, which had the effect of keeping things moving really fast. In the end it was Flick who had the most insoluble of the three issues. There could be no f This was my first book by Rachael Johns and it will certainly not be my last! It's a great story about three life long friends who think they know each other so well and then find they each have one huge secret they have not shared. This was a book that was really hard to put down. The chapters rotated between the POVs of the three main characters, which had the effect of keeping things moving really fast. In the end it was Flick who had the most insoluble of the three issues. There could be no fairy tale ending for a situation like hers. I enjoyed all of the characters, both the main ones and the lesser ones of some of the children and the ex partners. The author wrote them well and, although there was a lot of drama, held back from going over the top. Towards the end I reached for the tissues. There were happy tears and sad ones too and an honest ending. I liked it very much and will be looking out for more of her books.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    For the past five years Flick, Emma and Neve had been best friends; meeting to chat about their reading once a month had been the beginning then gradually their friendship settled into a comfortable and well-oiled knowledge of each other. There was rarely a day go by when they didn’t speak or text one another – they knew each other’s families, dramas and foibles inside out. Emma was a single mother after Max had left her for a younger woman; her son Caleb was friends with Neve’s son Will and Flic For the past five years Flick, Emma and Neve had been best friends; meeting to chat about their reading once a month had been the beginning then gradually their friendship settled into a comfortable and well-oiled knowledge of each other. There was rarely a day go by when they didn’t speak or text one another – they knew each other’s families, dramas and foibles inside out. Emma was a single mother after Max had left her for a younger woman; her son Caleb was friends with Neve’s son Will and Flick’s son Troy. Her twin daughters Sarah and Laura were almost fifteen, while Flick’s daughter Zoe was twenty and preparing for her marriage to Beau. Neve had been a single mother since Will’s birth; the two of them were extremely close. And Flick’s friends were envious of her relationship with her husband Seb – he was always kind and attentive to them and idolised Flick. So why was it that suddenly cracks began to appear in the relationships surrounding the three friends? Will’s innocent request of his mother started a chain of events which could damage their closeness, while Emma’s bitterness and financial distress were a constant strain. And Flick’s surface calm was threatening to explode – what were the torturous, dark secrets that Flick, Emma and Neve held, which none of them were aware of? Aussie author Rachael Johns has done it again with The Art of Keeping Secrets! A moving, emotional rendition of the lives of three families; their interactions, secrets and lies; as well as courage, hope, love and laughter – all tied together with a deep and enduring bond of friendship. I did feel the end was a little rushed; a little unresolved - but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 5 star rating from me! I thoroughly enjoy this author’s work, and The Art of Keeping Secrets was no exception. Highly recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this copy to read in exchange for my honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    The Art of Keeping Secrets is about three friends Felicity, Emma and Genevieve who were keeping secrets from their friends and family. However, the secrets were wearing the three friends down and affect everyone around them. Readers of The Art of Keeping Secrets will follow how Felicity, Emma and Genevieve's secrets were revealed and how they cope with the consequences. For me, The Art of Keeping Secrets is not one of my favourite Rachael Johns books. I not sure why but I did not get involved wi The Art of Keeping Secrets is about three friends Felicity, Emma and Genevieve who were keeping secrets from their friends and family. However, the secrets were wearing the three friends down and affect everyone around them. Readers of The Art of Keeping Secrets will follow how Felicity, Emma and Genevieve's secrets were revealed and how they cope with the consequences. For me, The Art of Keeping Secrets is not one of my favourite Rachael Johns books. I not sure why but I did not get involved with the plot of The Art Of Keeping Secrets. I did like the way Rachael Johns structured The Art of Keeping Secrets by dedicated a chapter to each of them. I enjoyed the way Rachael Johns portrayed and entwine her characters in The Art of Keeping Secrets. Rachael Johns did a great job describing the problems that people go through when they go through gender transition. Readers of The Art of Keeping Secrets will learn the consequences of keeping secrets for everyone involved. The Art of Keeping Secrets highlights the importance of friendships for everyone. Readers of The Art of Keeping Secrets will learn that not all brain tumours are cancerous. I recommend this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bianca

    The Art of Keeping Secrets was my first Rachael Johns novel. As the title and the blurb indicate, this novel is about three women friends, all in their early forties. They're all busy, working mums. Felicity, aka Flick, is a taxidermist, married to a lovely man, and has two kids. From the outside, their life is perfect. But there is one big secret that's been driving Felicity crazy. Emma is divorced and the mother of three teenagers. She's struggling and is constantly exhausted. Genevive, aka Neve The Art of Keeping Secrets was my first Rachael Johns novel. As the title and the blurb indicate, this novel is about three women friends, all in their early forties. They're all busy, working mums. Felicity, aka Flick, is a taxidermist, married to a lovely man, and has two kids. From the outside, their life is perfect. But there is one big secret that's been driving Felicity crazy. Emma is divorced and the mother of three teenagers. She's struggling and is constantly exhausted. Genevive, aka Neve, is a make-up and hair artist and a single mum to Will. She's been lying to her son and parents for a long time. When Neve decides to go to New York to right the huge mistake she made eighteen years earlier, Flick and Emma accompany her. Lots of things happen while they're in New York. I can't say too much more because it will spoil it for you. I will just say that the characters' struggles are relatable. The power of female friendship is at the centre of this novel. I enjoyed reading a novel set mostly in Perth. The writing is accessible, without many flourishes. Each friend is given relatively equal air time, so we get to become very familiar with their inner thoughts. This has been an enjoyable novel, filled with emotional moments, without being melodramatic or saccharine-y. I've received this novel via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publishers, Harlequin, for the opportunity to read and review this novel. :Cover: 4.5 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    MarciaB - Book Muster Down Under

    What price do we pay when we deceive those we love? In this latest by Rachael Johns, she attempts to answer that question by delving into the lives of three very different women who, while united by friendship, are all keeping secrets. Flick has a picture-perfect marriage and family envied by most but she harbours a shocking secret that has become her life because, if it ever comes out, her little family may just be shattered; Neve’s been a single mother all of Toby’s life and it’s her own secret What price do we pay when we deceive those we love? In this latest by Rachael Johns, she attempts to answer that question by delving into the lives of three very different women who, while united by friendship, are all keeping secrets. Flick has a picture-perfect marriage and family envied by most but she harbours a shocking secret that has become her life because, if it ever comes out, her little family may just be shattered; Neve’s been a single mother all of Toby’s life and it’s her own secret (and guilt) that’s going to catch up with her when Toby becomes more persistent in his questioning; and Emma, a divorcee and mother of three finds herself with growing feelings towards her boss but is then suddenly faced with some life-changing health issues. Told from the perspectives of all three women, there is something here for everyone in a story about the damage we suffer when we hide the truth and the consequences that secrets can have on the ones we love. Flick’s story is the most compelling with its shock factor, while Neve’s will keep the reader holding their breath and Emma’s offers us hope. Rachael Johns never disappoints and I’m really enjoying the deviation that her writing seems to have taken. In her previous novel, The Patterson Girls, Rachael explored sisterhood, sibling rivalry and the unbreakable bonds called family ties along with real-life issues such as bereavement, infidelity and fertility issues. In this latest, she drills a little deeper, going into the lives of three friends and their families whose existence will be forever altered as they are forced to deal with not only their own secrets but those they have become privy to and all the crises they bring – and there are no holds barred here as she puts these characters through the wringer, adeptly advancing them to their breaking points! With all the messiness of real life, the intricacies and limits of marriage and the depth of love and friendship, The Art of Keeping Secrets is a complex and tumultuous story with moments of tear-jerking catharsis, for both the reader and the characters, as emotions and years of hidden feelings bubble to the surface. Touching on motherhood, friendship, relationships, secrets, lies, betrayal and the love that binds all of these together, Rachael’s ability to capture the emotional realities of life is to be much-admired in this toast to the power of women’s friendships. Highly recommended. As an aside, this is one story that I believe would be FABULOUS on the big-screen so I thought I'd create my own little playlist. Who knows, should it make it, hopefully some of these songs would be featured: Crash (Usher), Secrets (One Republic), Demons (Imagine Dragons), Sweet Disposition (The Temper Trap), Love the Way You Lie (Rihanna), New York, New York (Frank Sinatra), Fight Song (Rachel Platten), Skyscraper (Demi Lovato), Say Something (A Great Big World/Christina Aguielera), Fix You (Coldplay), Firework (Katy Perry), I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Cash), I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston), Use Somebody (Kings of Leon), Haven’t Met You Yet (Michael Buble), Don’t Speak (No Doubt), Carry on (Fun), Brave (Sara Bareilles), New York (Snow Patrol), True Colours (Cyndi Lauper) and Goodbye My Lover (James Blunt).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    Rachael Johns enthrals her readers yet again with her second foray into the contemporary life literature genre with the release of her newest book, The Art Of Keeping Secrets. I am so glad Rachael Johns has decided to take this direction in her writing, as I really do believe that she has the knack for conveying issues close to women’s hearts. At the core of The Art Of Keeping Secrets are three very close knit female friends, Emma, Flick and Neve. Their friendship is rock solid, having developed Rachael Johns enthrals her readers yet again with her second foray into the contemporary life literature genre with the release of her newest book, The Art Of Keeping Secrets. I am so glad Rachael Johns has decided to take this direction in her writing, as I really do believe that she has the knack for conveying issues close to women’s hearts. At the core of The Art Of Keeping Secrets are three very close knit female friends, Emma, Flick and Neve. Their friendship is rock solid, having developed when their children entered high school together. It is obvious as soon as the story opens, that the three women share a special bond. It seems from the outset that these women know each other’s ins, outs and unique quirks. However, what they don’t know is each of them is harbouring a pretty big secret, that will rock the very foundations of their current lives. Neve gets the ball rolling on the secret front when she drops a big bombshell regarding the identity to the father of her child. This leads the trio on a whirlwind trip from Australia to New York, where more secrets are confessed. Rachael Johns never fails to wow me with her novels and The Art Of Keeping Secrets is certainly no exception. The Art Of Keeping Secrets is Johns second offering in the life literature genre and it clearly highlights Johns strength as a writer. Johns tackles some contemporary and very relatable subjects in this novel from love, marriage, affairs, separation, divorce and single parenting, to career choices. These are balanced with the overarching theme of the novel which is based on airing out long held secrets. The secrets, when they come, are pretty explosive. One secret in particular had me drawing my breath in from complete disbelief. I even re-read the passages, as it was a shock that I definitely didn’t see coming. Johns manages to tantalise her readers this way for the majority of the novel, gradually revealing pieces to a bigger puzzle surrounding the secrets these women hold. It was a big drawcard for me, as it wiled me to turn the pages as fast as I could and also prevented me from putting the book down. Readers will find the combination of natural and relatable dialogue, along with characters that are realistically drawn, but with flaws any person can sympathise with, greatly appealing. Although The Art Of Keeping Secrets does not have a rural feel, I would have to say I enjoyed this novel just as much as the rural romances Johns is famous for. The movement in setting from Australia to the States was covered well by Johns. I loved the feel of being a sidekick on the trio’s big trip to New York, it was most enjoyable reading experience. Fans new and old will also appreciate Johns flair for romance which was a captivating feature of the novel. There is no doubt Johns can spin a fantastic yarn around the bonds of female friendship and the knocks life deals out for the everyday woman. The Art Of Keeping Secrets is another very successful and memorable addition to the Rachael Johns collection. *Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty and Lace. To read the original review on the Beauty and Lace website view it here: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/boo...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sally906

    I have to say that I have never, ever, read a bad Rachael Johns book. Each time I finish reading one I think wow she can’t get any better – but then I pick up the next one – and she does. THE ART OF KEEPING SECRETS is so fabulous that I read until the wee small hours to finish it, and my husband had to heat us up leftovers for dinner for two nights as I wanted to read rather than cook!!! See more of my review here I have to say that I have never, ever, read a bad Rachael Johns book. Each time I finish reading one I think wow she can’t get any better – but then I pick up the next one – and she does. THE ART OF KEEPING SECRETS is so fabulous that I read until the wee small hours to finish it, and my husband had to heat us up leftovers for dinner for two nights as I wanted to read rather than cook!!! See more of my review here

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Racheal Johns has written an engaging and thought provoking book about three friends and the secrets they have unshared. They are really very involved in each others lives, yet they don't know everything that is going on for each of them - yet. Three women - Felicity married to Seb, with two children, Zoe about to be married and a seventeen year old son. Seb is a loving attentive husband, the other two women Emma and Neve somewhat envy the happy married life. But what they don't know is that som Racheal Johns has written an engaging and thought provoking book about three friends and the secrets they have unshared. They are really very involved in each others lives, yet they don't know everything that is going on for each of them - yet. Three women - Felicity married to Seb, with two children, Zoe about to be married and a seventeen year old son. Seb is a loving attentive husband, the other two women Emma and Neve somewhat envy the happy married life. But what they don't know is that something is going down to change the relationship Felicity and Seb have. In spite of the love between them, it may not be enough. Emma is a divorced women coping with three teenage children and an ex husband and his young wife that has replaced her. Max gives the children everything, and Emma struggles to work and pay the way of herself and the children with little support from the ex. And what is worse the stress is getting to her and headaches are plaguing every step she takes. Neve, has one son - Will. She has brought Will up alone, and now he wants to know who is father is. The trouble is she has told Will his father did not want him, however now she is faced with having to face up to the man she has never told that he has a son. She is at risk of losing her son when he discovers the truth. In turn the story focuses on each woman and the struggles she faces. However they are all very much there for each other, in spite of some differences of opinions. And eventually secrets will out. And when it is tough going they are there for each other. The theme of friendship is strong. Each woman must find her way forward for her, while friends are there for you, in the end each must take those brave steps on their own. While I don't want to give the plot away, other than to say its very on point, I'll just say that I was so delighted to see Felicity finally take the heartbreaking step that would ensure she stay true to herself. Kudos to Rachael Johns for this book, exploring a topic that has only recently come to the fore a lot more. Not telling what though, that would be to spoil the finding out.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Johns' latest release, The Art of Keeping Secrets, has been receiving praise from a lot of readers and book bloggers; and, as it sounded like it focused less on the happily-ever-after I decided to dive in. And thank god I did. I knew I'd love Johns' writing. There was no question of that. I tend to assume most people's writing is a reflection of who they are and from stuff I've read (interviews and social media updates) I knew Johns' style was warm and funny. Which came across in the novel. Her w Johns' latest release, The Art of Keeping Secrets, has been receiving praise from a lot of readers and book bloggers; and, as it sounded like it focused less on the happily-ever-after I decided to dive in. And thank god I did. I knew I'd love Johns' writing. There was no question of that. I tend to assume most people's writing is a reflection of who they are and from stuff I've read (interviews and social media updates) I knew Johns' style was warm and funny. Which came across in the novel. Her writing is very relatable and accessible. And by that I don't mean ordinary, as not many writers can manage that easy conversational tone without it sounding forced or if they're trying to be informal. Neve, Emma and Felicity met five years earlier and - via their sons - have become best friends. In many ways their boys are all they have in common, but they've bonded and 'think' they've shared their secrets and know each other well. But of course that's never the case. All three lead characters are complex and interesting - with very different personalities and very different problems. They're independent and strong characters but - like so many women and mothers - struggling to believe they're doing as well as others and worrying about failing their children. They'll be very relatable for readers, as even this childless, single reader could relate to some of the dating and confidence issues experienced. And then there's that sense of regret.... which I could metaphorically taste. This is an enjoyable novel, it's not always cheery and my own tears were a surprise; but ultimately it's empowering and uplifting. Readers shouldn't necessarily expect their happily-ever-afters however, because Johns gives us something a bit more real than that. Read the full review on my blog: http://www.debbish.com/books-literatu... 4.5 stars

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Wow! This is fast becoming my favourite Rachael Johns book. Edgy and different this is brand new territory for Rach and I LOVE IT AMAZING read, but I would like another chapter or two to see what happens next

  11. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    4.5 Stars - http://greatreadsandtealeaves.blogspo... ‘Is it a secret?’ He leant forward a little and whispered, ‘I promise I’m good at keeping secrets.’ The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns is my first book by her and I was eager to finally sample her writing, especially considering, many claim this to be one of her best books so far. I was not disappointed. In a nutshell, this is the story of three women who are the best of friends and the secrets that they have kept not only from each oth 4.5 Stars - http://greatreadsandtealeaves.blogspo... ‘Is it a secret?’ He leant forward a little and whispered, ‘I promise I’m good at keeping secrets.’ The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns is my first book by her and I was eager to finally sample her writing, especially considering, many claim this to be one of her best books so far. I was not disappointed. In a nutshell, this is the story of three women who are the best of friends and the secrets that they have kept not only from each other but from their families as well. One of the best things about this book, is that you don't have to wait until the closing stages for any big reveals. As their secrets slowly start to unfurl, the absolute heartache is so real you will find it difficult to put down. ‘Please, say something,’ she pleaded, her whole body trembling from the knowledge she’d finally revealed her biggest, darkest secret.' Each of the lives of these three very different women is told from their perspective in alternating chapters. There really is something here for everyone as not only do you find yourself immersed in a highly engaging story but, just below that surface, Johns is examining the fallout of kept secrets: What happens when the truth is hidden to all of those involved? United by friendship they may be, but is it a strong enough foundation to see them through some testing times and differences of opinion? What will be the eventual and heartbreaking consequences when all is revealed? Each of the women bring their own unique thoughts and perspectives when faced with the cards life has dealt them and how they choose to then act upon that. Flick is solid and stoic and faced with a terrible decision; Neve has a hidden past that could really damage her future; and, Emma goes through a truly traumatic experience. It's a little difficult to reveal more because I mean, after all, it is a book about secrets. So without giving any spoilers away, suffice to say it's a highly engaging read that kept me up past my bedtime and would I would recommend to readers across a range of genres. 'The time for secrets and lies was over.' This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen ⊰✿

    This book follows the lives of three friends as they share some huge secrets that have made an impact on their lives. I really enjoyed the characterisations and I thought they were all likeable and believable. It was also a story with a few surprises, tears and laughs. On the flip side, I found the prose and the dialogue a little superfluous and a proper edit would have taken this from a good book to a great one that could sit along side other fabulous contemporary Australian authors such as Liane This book follows the lives of three friends as they share some huge secrets that have made an impact on their lives. I really enjoyed the characterisations and I thought they were all likeable and believable. It was also a story with a few surprises, tears and laughs. On the flip side, I found the prose and the dialogue a little superfluous and a proper edit would have taken this from a good book to a great one that could sit along side other fabulous contemporary Australian authors such as Liane Moriarty. For example, a character drives to a church and we are told "when they arrived...(she) slipped the car keys into her clutch bag and walked over to join Zoe, Seb...." The keys going into her bag and her walking over to these characters adds nothing to the story. I probably wouldn't notice this once or twice, but it was continual through the book that we are given step-by-step and it just isn't needed. Also, some of the dialogue "your daughters will be happy to have you closer to come again too, especially Hannah who will also be here". or "Would you like me to run you a bath and pour you a glass of wine" That just isn't how someone would actually speak in a casual setting. This may seem like I'm being picky, but it did bug me through the book as I think there is so much potential here. Having said all of that, I did enjoy it and would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bobbie

    This is my first book that I've read by Johns, but I will definitely be reading more. It's about the relationship between three women who have been friends since high school. Their lives have changed over time. The years have improved some of their lives, but one of the friend's lives has not been so good. Stiil, she has had her friends there to support, and then there are other secrets. It's a great read. I recommend to the reading community. This is my first book that I've read by Johns, but I will definitely be reading more. It's about the relationship between three women who have been friends since high school. Their lives have changed over time. The years have improved some of their lives, but one of the friend's lives has not been so good. Stiil, she has had her friends there to support, and then there are other secrets. It's a great read. I recommend to the reading community.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    The Art of Keeping Secrets has now overtaken The Patterson Girls as my new favourite Rachael Johns book. This fabulous contemporary fiction novel follows the lives of three women, who have been friends for years but are each keeping secrets. I giggled, I teared up, I kept turning the pages. The only reason I didn't finish it sooner was that I put all my books down for a few days so that I could flit around the Romance Writer's of Australia conference, soaking up the love, and get to meet Rachael The Art of Keeping Secrets has now overtaken The Patterson Girls as my new favourite Rachael Johns book. This fabulous contemporary fiction novel follows the lives of three women, who have been friends for years but are each keeping secrets. I giggled, I teared up, I kept turning the pages. The only reason I didn't finish it sooner was that I put all my books down for a few days so that I could flit around the Romance Writer's of Australia conference, soaking up the love, and get to meet Rachael Johns in person (*waves* hi, Rach). I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Interesting cross section of themes, builds on her range from The Patterson Girls. Love the characters and the dynamics of each relationship. Who wouldn't fall for Patrick? Seb/Sofia slightly harder to stomach as you really felt for Flick. A good read and author I will keep coming back to. Interesting cross section of themes, builds on her range from The Patterson Girls. Love the characters and the dynamics of each relationship. Who wouldn't fall for Patrick? Seb/Sofia slightly harder to stomach as you really felt for Flick. A good read and author I will keep coming back to.

  16. 5 out of 5

    ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰

    ARC received via Netgalley for an honest review Oh what a tangled web we weave! Secrets, little white lies, they all come back to haunt us eventually. Felicity (Flick), Emma and Genevieve (Neve), best friends, and they tell each other everything.. right? That is until their secrets start to emerge, and they each have to deal with the consequences. Will they tear their friendships apart, or will it bring them closer, that is the question. As I turned each and every page, I was anxious to know what wou ARC received via Netgalley for an honest review Oh what a tangled web we weave! Secrets, little white lies, they all come back to haunt us eventually. Felicity (Flick), Emma and Genevieve (Neve), best friends, and they tell each other everything.. right? That is until their secrets start to emerge, and they each have to deal with the consequences. Will they tear their friendships apart, or will it bring them closer, that is the question. As I turned each and every page, I was anxious to know what would happen to each of the lovely ladies, their families, their friends. I felt their anger, their pain, their sorrow. I felt their happiness, their hope, their dreams coming to fruition. I laughed, I cried, I got angry and sad. And I had hope in my heart that each and every one of them would get the outcome that they wanted. There is one of these that I feel that their story is not completed yet? And I hope that we get more of it sometime in the future. Ms Johns took me on a journey of hope, fun, laughter and discovery from one side of the world to the other. I became completely engrossed in the tale she was telling, and I can't wait to see what she brings us next.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Natalie S

    Rachael Johns knows how to tell a good story. The author has written numerous romance novels and chick lit books. Her latest novel, The Art of Keeping Secrets is a well-crafted and emotional piece of fiction. It’s also a story that is a testament to the power of female friendship. To read the rest of this review please visit: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/boo... Rachael Johns knows how to tell a good story. The author has written numerous romance novels and chick lit books. Her latest novel, The Art of Keeping Secrets is a well-crafted and emotional piece of fiction. It’s also a story that is a testament to the power of female friendship. To read the rest of this review please visit: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/boo...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah T

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the kind of book that you'd buy at an airport; it's not very well written and it doesn't have a compelling story or likable characters, but it's marginally better than staring out the window for several hours. Unfortunately, Johns doesn't seem to realize this, and indeed believes she's written a compelling, intriguing story. The three main characters of the story (whose personalities and behaviors are nearly indistinguishable) do nothing to endear themselves to the reader, and indeed spe This is the kind of book that you'd buy at an airport; it's not very well written and it doesn't have a compelling story or likable characters, but it's marginally better than staring out the window for several hours. Unfortunately, Johns doesn't seem to realize this, and indeed believes she's written a compelling, intriguing story. The three main characters of the story (whose personalities and behaviors are nearly indistinguishable) do nothing to endear themselves to the reader, and indeed spend the whole book whining and blowing their problems out of proportion. The three women are brought together by their sons, and seem to take a moral high ground because they're so much different than the other moms. It doesn't matter that they spend the book wining and gossiping about their husbands, customers, and even each other, Johns wants you to realize that no, they're special, they have it hard, they get a free pass to be miserable and judgmental just because she tells you they've earned it. There's a way to write a book with obvious drama, a way to make readers genuinely excited for or surprised by the sheer volume of unrealistic situations the characters get dropped into. Johns, unfortunately, doesn't seem to fully understand how to do this, and when the plot slows down, throws in drama just so the book has substance, and it just feels forced as a result. Furthermore, she uses the tragedy of other characters to further the three women; when one character discovers her husband is transgender, she 'tries to make it work' but really spends the whole book making snide comments about how he'd like to be wearing a dress and whining that her perfect marriage is a lie, when he's more accommodating than anyone really deserves. At the end of the book, Johns has one of the sons these women claim to love so dearly get in a car accident, just so the mother can play the victim and doesn't get blamed for lying to his father for eighteen years. For a group of women that pride themselves on being 'different', their stories are some of the most predictable, miserable, and boring you'll ever read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lana

    The Art of Keeping Secrets is the second Rachael Johns has written in the newly coined ‘Life lit’ category. Her first in this genre, The Patterson Girls, won the ABIA Award for Best Book in 2016. The book centres around three women and their families. Each woman gets a chapter from her point of view and as the book progresses, you learn more about their secrets, hopes, and dreams. Felicity or Flick is a taxidermist and a mother whose husband has a habit of secretly dressing in woman’s clothes. Ge The Art of Keeping Secrets is the second Rachael Johns has written in the newly coined ‘Life lit’ category. Her first in this genre, The Patterson Girls, won the ABIA Award for Best Book in 2016. The book centres around three women and their families. Each woman gets a chapter from her point of view and as the book progresses, you learn more about their secrets, hopes, and dreams. Felicity or Flick is a taxidermist and a mother whose husband has a habit of secretly dressing in woman’s clothes. Genevieve or Neve is a makeup artist and single mother raising a teenage son. She has to finally admit to him that she lied about his father and why he’s absent from their lives. Then you have Emma, who’s dealing with a divorce from a husband who ditched her for a younger woman. Emma is dealing with health problems and the possibility that she’s going to lose custody of her children. I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but there’s many secrets in the book, and I love how you don’t have to wait until the end to find out what they are. When I started this book, I was blown away by how familiar Rachael Johns writes. And by that, I mean, I can almost hear the voices of my friends speaking when the characters are speaking to each other. Rachael’s got the Australian vernacular down pat! Despite having some unusual characters with unusual problems that initially jarred me, the easy going writing soon smoothed out my unease and it wasn’t long before I found myself pages deep in the book. I almost missed my train stop at a certain climax, and because she’s written such relatable characters, I found myself in tears in others. It deals with controversial social issues but helps you swallow them with a spoonful of Rachael Johns’ good ol’ Aussie sugar. I definitely recommend this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This story had me riveted from start to finish three best friends Felicity (Flick), Emma and Genevieve (Neve) who met when their boys started high school 6 years before now share a special bond and will do anything for each other but all have their own secrets that they have kept but are now starting to unravel and this is where their friendship steps up and they take a trip to New York together and lives will change there will be tears there will be smiles but the love of these girls never fade This story had me riveted from start to finish three best friends Felicity (Flick), Emma and Genevieve (Neve) who met when their boys started high school 6 years before now share a special bond and will do anything for each other but all have their own secrets that they have kept but are now starting to unravel and this is where their friendship steps up and they take a trip to New York together and lives will change there will be tears there will be smiles but the love of these girls never fades. Flick happily married (or is she) to Seb Emma divorced and struggling financially and being constantly tired and single mum Neve who has kept a secret from her son that starts them on the journey to New York. I felt very close to all three girls their characters are lovable and the emotions that they feel are so true they all come to life on the pages as they all open up with their secrets and help each other as true friends do everyone needs friends and these three are the best. The Art of Keeping Secrets is an emotional moving story one that will stay with me for a long time MS Johns has written another keeper one that brings out so many emotions and highlights the need for friends true friends that will have your back always through thick and thin, I loved this one it had me crying and there are so many happy times. I highly recommend this one sit back once you start you will not want to be disturbed while reading believe you me as you get to know Flick, Emma and Neve and their families and the secrets that in the end will bring them even closer, awesome story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    The Art of Keeping Secrets was a roller coaster of emotions wrapped up in a rock solid story as three friends journeyed together through life, love, and a multitude of family issues. ‘Even if their lives *were* falling apart, at least they had each other to laugh and cry with.’ Rachael Johns has a way of writing stories that are thoughtful, character-driven, and have a realistic feel to them. The Art of Keeping Secrets bumped that up a notch for me, as she also added in thought-provoking twists t The Art of Keeping Secrets was a roller coaster of emotions wrapped up in a rock solid story as three friends journeyed together through life, love, and a multitude of family issues. ‘Even if their lives *were* falling apart, at least they had each other to laugh and cry with.’ Rachael Johns has a way of writing stories that are thoughtful, character-driven, and have a realistic feel to them. The Art of Keeping Secrets bumped that up a notch for me, as she also added in thought-provoking twists to relationships and some non-traditional issues we face in the world today. It was interesting to see how Neve, Emma and Flick, while presented as everyday women with struggles most parents face, were also dealing with secrets they hadn’t told each other. And that’s where the drama and the real depth of the story began. Read More

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anne Peachey

    The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns is undeniably her best book so far. It follows the story of three close women friends and the secrets they have kept from family and friends. When their secrets begin to unravel, the disruption and heartache that impacts their family and friends is so believable. A true page turner you will not want to put down. I highly recommend this book and know it will appeal to readers of other genres not just Romance Readers.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nigelle-ann

    It is interesting that when you have friends and read this book you suddenly realise how little you may know about them. This book certainly bring it to light, and we really don't know what goes on behind closed doors. I loved this book. Rach has uses such sensitivity to deal with subject matters. This book made me cry and not many books have done that to me. We all know women like this, and so it is much closer to home. Another winner. It is interesting that when you have friends and read this book you suddenly realise how little you may know about them. This book certainly bring it to light, and we really don't know what goes on behind closed doors. I loved this book. Rach has uses such sensitivity to deal with subject matters. This book made me cry and not many books have done that to me. We all know women like this, and so it is much closer to home. Another winner.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Not a bad read,in some spots I was unable to put it down. I hope there is a sequel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rae Hawkins

    Loved every page of this beauty

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bree T

    Popular rural romance author Rachael Johns takes a couple more very brave steps outside of her familiar comfort zone with her second ‘life lit’ offering, The Art of Keeping Secrets. Focusing on a trio of women brought together by their sons starting a prestigious high school together some 5-6 years ago, Flick, Emma and Neve have developed a tight knit friendship where they probably thought they knew all of each others secrets. But as their sons get ready to graduate, each woman faces the possibi Popular rural romance author Rachael Johns takes a couple more very brave steps outside of her familiar comfort zone with her second ‘life lit’ offering, The Art of Keeping Secrets. Focusing on a trio of women brought together by their sons starting a prestigious high school together some 5-6 years ago, Flick, Emma and Neve have developed a tight knit friendship where they probably thought they knew all of each others secrets. But as their sons get ready to graduate, each woman faces the possibility of secrets that they’ve kept from each other and perhaps even themselves coming out and their lives as they know it drastically changing. Flick has two children, a daughter about to be married and the son about to graduate. Both Emma and Neve are single mothers – Emma for only a short amount of time and Neve has raised her son entirely on her own. Both are envious of Flick’s seemingly perfect marriage to the wonderful Seb but if only they knew….. Although Seb is a fantastic husband and father, their marriage hides a secret that Flick has been prepared to cope with for the past twenty years. When she discovers (is blindsided) by the fact that Seb wants to take this secret much further, Flick is thrown savagely into a cesspit of horror, uncertainty and confusion. She knows she needs to make a decision about what she wants to do with her marriage and it’s not going to be easy. She fluctuates, because she loves Seb but she’s not sure she can get on board with what he needs to do. Flick’s through processes are brutally honest in the book – it’s confronting and ugly and uncomfortable but quite realistic as well. She has had her status quo rocked and her mind goes to some pretty dark places, even if it’s only briefly. Neve’s son has expressed a desire to meet his father, who has never been in his life. Although Neve expected this day to come at some stage, for Neve it means admitting to her son that she lied to him. The two of them have always been close as it’s been just the two of them and Neve fears that what she has to confess will destroy their relationship, perhaps irreparably. Not only does Neve have to confess something to her son but she also needs to track down the former love of her life and admit something to him too, the thought of which makes her feel ill. Neve’s journey takes her to New York, with Flick and Emma tagging along for moral support and the chance to escape from their own situations. Emma is now a struggling single mother of three as her former husband left her for a much younger woman and has somehow managed to manipulate the financial situation so that Emma is left without much support. He then lavishes expensive holidays and gifts on their children that Emma cannot compete with, leaving her fearing that the children will eventually prefer to live with their father in his McMansion. She’s also harbouring some crush-type feelings on her lovely, handsome boss that everyone thinks might possibly be gay as well as experiencing some crushing headaches that just don’t seem to go away. Emma is also reevaluating her friendship with Neve after some of Neve’s secrets were spilled and although Neve is trying to make things right, Emma’s situation means that it takes some time for her to be able to to accept that. These three women are written with such honestly. I had a range of emotions whilst reading this book from cheering for them, wanting them to be my friends to disbelief, irritation and even horror at some of their thoughts and actions. It was impressively real and made their secrets all the more believable because their reactions to theirs and to their friends were so realistic. They had ugly moments, beautiful moments, strong moments, weak moments. All throughout however, that strong friendship was underpinning everything, holding the three of them together both individually and as a group, even when there was some discord. The friendship is written as the core of the book, the secrets are in a way, what serves to strengthen and showcase that friendship as each of them face something in their lives and move through it with the help, support and understanding of their friends. Even though there are some times where things don’t always go smoothly, the three women are always able to move on and be almost better for it. This is why I love Rachael Johns’ books so much, be they her rurals or her women’s/life lit because she captures emotion and human nature so well. I enjoyed the fact that at times I viewed their actions or thoughts negatively because it was brutally honest and reflected the sort of thoughts or reactions I myself might have had in the same situation……they were things that it would be hard to react positively or thoughtfully to straight off the bat and it’s human nature at times to react first and think later. I think we also all harbour those secret thoughts, ones that we might not admit to or be ashamed to admit to but they’re there nonetheless and so I can find them quite understandable given the situations! This is the sort of book that I think it’s best to set aside a couple of hours/a whole afternoon or evening before you start it because once you do start, it’s hard to find a break in the story to put it down. Don’t start it late at night or you could end up being up all night! It’s not just a compelling story, it’s several compelling stories woven together into one big one. I do have to admit, it did leave me with a few curiosities at the end of the story, things I was pondering over and wondering about. I’m annoyingly addicted to closure though and knowing everything, so sometimes my nosiness backfires on me when it comes to reading! Incredible writing and a great story. A must for old fans and should definitely attract some new ones.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Clayton

    I liked this book although I am a bit confused as the proof that I was sent had a different cover on it. I really liked my cover which has a lady sitting looking into the city and that is what the book is about. This is a really good book for when you have a weekend alone to read. Rachael hit the ball to the outfield with this book for a double!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I absolutely loved the characters. I laughed with them, cried with them, and gossiped with them. A wonderful book with some hard lessons in it. I received this book through the Goodreads giveaway program.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris Markley

    Neve, Emma, & Flick are at a cross roads, they became friends through their sons & now their sons are about to graduate. This time is full of emotion & they discover that the friends they thought they knew everything about have been keeping earth shattering secrets. Will they trust each other enough to reveal their secrets? And will their friendship survive if they do? A story of friendship & trust.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

    I must admit, I'm becoming quite the Rachel Johns fan. After reading her 2015 release, The Patterson Girls, I was one of the many eagerly awaiting her new novel The Art of Keeping Secrets. The Art of Keeping Secrets follows the lives of three best-friends. Felicity; happily married to every woman's dream husband Seb, with two equally wonderful children. There's Emma, who struggles to make ends meet for her and her three kids whilst dealing with her irritating ex-husband and his new trophy wife. A I must admit, I'm becoming quite the Rachel Johns fan. After reading her 2015 release, The Patterson Girls, I was one of the many eagerly awaiting her new novel The Art of Keeping Secrets. The Art of Keeping Secrets follows the lives of three best-friends. Felicity; happily married to every woman's dream husband Seb, with two equally wonderful children. There's Emma, who struggles to make ends meet for her and her three kids whilst dealing with her irritating ex-husband and his new trophy wife. And finally, single mum Neve, whose world is her son. The three have been friends since their sons began high school together, and who are now close to graduating. But, all three women harbour secrets which they have held onto for years, and each will be forced to face the truth, and the fall out of keeping secrets, whether they like it or not. At the core of this story is the theme of friendship. And how as much as you think you know someone, as much as you think you tell each other everything - we are all keeping our own secrets. Secrets that we don't know how to confront, secrets that we fear will tear friendships and relationships apart. And secrets that will grow into lies eventually too hard to contain. Characters are always the heart of these stories, and Rachel is a master at creating complex yet relatable characters. Characters in which we can often see a reflection of ourselves. That is what makes Rachel's writing so strong. The ability to allow the character to touch the reader, encourage them to ask questions, and compel them to connect with the story and invest in each character's journey. There wasn't a moment where I wasn't engaged in this story. From the very first chapter, I didn't want to put the book down. I felt like a fly on the wall overseeing the story and I needed to know what was going to happen. The narrative, the characters, the events, made me want to completely immerse myself into the book and not come out until I'd read the closing sentence. Ah, Rachel. How do you do it? How do you tell such human stories with such warmth, compassion and honesty? Really, I want to know as it's books like these that make my heart swell with emotions from end to end of the spectrum. The Art of Keeping Secrets has been one of my favourite books for the year. And if you're a fan of the likes of Liane Moriarty, I have no doubt you will love this book.

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