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TOP SUMMER 2020 BEACH READ PICK--Time, Woman's World, and Parade.  The author of Dancing on the Edge of the Roof, now a Netflix film starring Alfre Woodard, returns with a riveting, emotionally rich, novel that explores the complex relationship between mothers and daughters in a fresh, vibrant way—a stunning page-turner for fans of Terry McMillan, Tayari Jones, and Kimberla TOP SUMMER 2020 BEACH READ PICK--Time, Woman's World, and Parade.  The author of Dancing on the Edge of the Roof, now a Netflix film starring Alfre Woodard, returns with a riveting, emotionally rich, novel that explores the complex relationship between mothers and daughters in a fresh, vibrant way—a stunning page-turner for fans of Terry McMillan, Tayari Jones, and Kimberla Lawson Roby. Elise Armstrong, Carmen Bradshaw, and DeeDee Davis meet in a yoga class. Though vastly different, these women discover they all have one thing in common: their mothers have recently passed away. Becoming fast friends, the trio make a pact to help each other sort through the belongings their mothers’ left behind. But when they find old letters and diaries, Elise, Carmen, and DeeDee are astonished to learn that each of their mothers hid secrets—secrets that will transform their own lives. Meeting each month over margaritas, the trio share laughter, advice, and support. As they help each other overcome challenges and celebrate successes, Elise, Carmen, and DeeDee gain not only a better understanding of the women their mothers were, but of themselves. They also come to realize they have what their mothers needed most but did not have during difficult times—other women they could trust. Filled with poignant life lessons, The Secret Women pays tribute to the power of friendship and family and the bonds that tie us together. Beautiful, full of spirit and heart, it is a thoughtful and ultimately uplifting story of unconditional love.


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TOP SUMMER 2020 BEACH READ PICK--Time, Woman's World, and Parade.  The author of Dancing on the Edge of the Roof, now a Netflix film starring Alfre Woodard, returns with a riveting, emotionally rich, novel that explores the complex relationship between mothers and daughters in a fresh, vibrant way—a stunning page-turner for fans of Terry McMillan, Tayari Jones, and Kimberla TOP SUMMER 2020 BEACH READ PICK--Time, Woman's World, and Parade.  The author of Dancing on the Edge of the Roof, now a Netflix film starring Alfre Woodard, returns with a riveting, emotionally rich, novel that explores the complex relationship between mothers and daughters in a fresh, vibrant way—a stunning page-turner for fans of Terry McMillan, Tayari Jones, and Kimberla Lawson Roby. Elise Armstrong, Carmen Bradshaw, and DeeDee Davis meet in a yoga class. Though vastly different, these women discover they all have one thing in common: their mothers have recently passed away. Becoming fast friends, the trio make a pact to help each other sort through the belongings their mothers’ left behind. But when they find old letters and diaries, Elise, Carmen, and DeeDee are astonished to learn that each of their mothers hid secrets—secrets that will transform their own lives. Meeting each month over margaritas, the trio share laughter, advice, and support. As they help each other overcome challenges and celebrate successes, Elise, Carmen, and DeeDee gain not only a better understanding of the women their mothers were, but of themselves. They also come to realize they have what their mothers needed most but did not have during difficult times—other women they could trust. Filled with poignant life lessons, The Secret Women pays tribute to the power of friendship and family and the bonds that tie us together. Beautiful, full of spirit and heart, it is a thoughtful and ultimately uplifting story of unconditional love.

30 review for The Secret Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fareya

    The Secret Womenby Sheila Williams examines life and its many mysteries, but mostly it explores motherhood and the complex relationship between mothers and daughters. Three women, Elise, Carmen and DeeDee meet in a yoga class and gradually become friends over after-yoga tacos and margaritas. They discover that despite their differences, there is one thing they have in common - their mothers have recently passed away and neither has had the courage to sort through their mother's belongings. They The Secret Womenby Sheila Williams examines life and its many mysteries, but mostly it explores motherhood and the complex relationship between mothers and daughters. Three women, Elise, Carmen and DeeDee meet in a yoga class and gradually become friends over after-yoga tacos and margaritas. They discover that despite their differences, there is one thing they have in common - their mothers have recently passed away and neither has had the courage to sort through their mother's belongings. They decide to help each other out and while going through old photos, letters and diaries each woman discovers life altering, staggering secrets. As the story unfolds, we see all three women, dealing with their own grief while supporting their new friends. This is a poignant and emotional story, uplifting, heartwarming and also full of life lessons. It starts a bit slow and ends abruptly, but otherwise it's a pretty decent read, and I plan on checking the author's other works too. "A free finished copy was provided by Booksparks as part of their Summer Reading Challenge #SRC2020. All opinions are my own."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Sligh

    Elise Armstrong, Carmen Bradshaw, and DeeDee Davis meet in a yoga class. Though vastly different, these women discover they all have one thing in common: their mothers have recently passed away. Becoming fast friends, the trio make a pact to help each other sort through the belongings their mothers' left behind. But when they find old letters and diaries, Elise, Carmen, and DeeDee are astonished to learn that each of their mothers hid secrets--secrets that will transform their own lives. Y’all th Elise Armstrong, Carmen Bradshaw, and DeeDee Davis meet in a yoga class. Though vastly different, these women discover they all have one thing in common: their mothers have recently passed away. Becoming fast friends, the trio make a pact to help each other sort through the belongings their mothers' left behind. But when they find old letters and diaries, Elise, Carmen, and DeeDee are astonished to learn that each of their mothers hid secrets--secrets that will transform their own lives. Y’all these are my kind of women. They do margaritas and queso each month, they swear and laugh in yoga poses, they giggle Elise’s mother, Marie had so many sets of china... these are my people. This book was amazing. Hands down. I cannot recommend this enough. Go. Get. This. Book. Joan, Carmen’s mother, was my favorite storyline. Not because it was happy (it wasn’t) but because I know the south and I know a few Joans. Without spoiling the book, I will just say this was very important, especially in today’s society with racism. Joan was a strong, educated woman that moved to New York, but still had her deep southern roots. She was quick witted and outspoken at her school, which could be taken as negative. I saw a passionate woman, and I 100% know Joans and truly cherish the wisdom they have bestowed upon me. DeeDee’s mother broke me. Laura suffered from mental illness, and they found her diary entries. They found her highs and her lows. The entries showed when she was taking medication, and when she wasn’t and the drastic change. DeeDee digs deeper to understand her mother because she believes her daughter Francis may have the same illness. I cried, and I mean CRIED. “Mommy rationalized that if she didn’t speak, then it couldn’t either” (speaking of her illness). Her journal entries made me cried so much. I listened to the ALC provided by Booksparks, Libro.fm, & Harper Audio. The narrator, Zakiya Young’s voice is so amazing. I could listen to her talk ALL DAY. If she does any more audiobooks, I want to know because I want to buy them all. 😂 I loved that each chapter is a different perspective of each woman, including the mothers. It helped me get the stories straight. This comes out June 9th and believe it should be on everyone’s shelf.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I really reallllly wanted to love this book, I thought the concept of women building a friendship based on helping each other sort through their late mothers belongings and through this learning more about their mothers and themselves was genius. The writing style was too fluffy for me- a lot of time was spent on frivolous details that didn't matter to the bigger picture. The start was really slow and full of frivolous details that didn't really matter when looking a the bigger picture. The endi I really reallllly wanted to love this book, I thought the concept of women building a friendship based on helping each other sort through their late mothers belongings and through this learning more about their mothers and themselves was genius. The writing style was too fluffy for me- a lot of time was spent on frivolous details that didn't matter to the bigger picture. The start was really slow and full of frivolous details that didn't really matter when looking a the bigger picture. The ending was abrupt. I wish more time was spent developing the mother's stories.

  4. 4 out of 5

    nadia | notabookshelf

    a perfectly decent read. would've been a 4-star if not for the unnecessarily long, detailed descriptions of the clutter in the characters' houses and such. bittersweet in its exploration of grief for one's mother – more specifically a woman's grief for her mother, in three different cases, and at least one of them i thought was done really, really well. overall this was fast and pleasant, and i enjoyed my evening with this book. a perfectly decent read. would've been a 4-star if not for the unnecessarily long, detailed descriptions of the clutter in the characters' houses and such. bittersweet in its exploration of grief for one's mother – more specifically a woman's grief for her mother, in three different cases, and at least one of them i thought was done really, really well. overall this was fast and pleasant, and i enjoyed my evening with this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mahoghani 23

    I don't see how the title related to this book. We all have mothers & we don't know everything about them. The best secret was from Carmen's mom, Joann. I would prefer to give this book a 2.5 because the only interesting section was Carmen's. I don't see how the title related to this book. We all have mothers & we don't know everything about them. The best secret was from Carmen's mom, Joann. I would prefer to give this book a 2.5 because the only interesting section was Carmen's.

  6. 4 out of 5

    The CurvyJones

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really enjoyed this, specifically in audio. Part 1 was a lil slow for me but the story started to pick up in part 2 and the last two parts, I was carrying around the bluetooth speaker everywhere because I didn't want to turn it off. Vivid descriptive writing, dialog that snaps, and a friendship between three women that is warm and enviable. This is a book that I'm going to want to re-read when I get some time. Dee Dee's story line in particular is so poignant. Would love to hear the author spe I really enjoyed this, specifically in audio. Part 1 was a lil slow for me but the story started to pick up in part 2 and the last two parts, I was carrying around the bluetooth speaker everywhere because I didn't want to turn it off. Vivid descriptive writing, dialog that snaps, and a friendship between three women that is warm and enviable. This is a book that I'm going to want to re-read when I get some time. Dee Dee's story line in particular is so poignant. Would love to hear the author speak about writing this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I really enjoyed this one. Three very different women - Elise, Carmen and DeeDee- become friends after meeting in yoga class. They learn they share something in common - they’ve all lost their mothers recently. As they each work through their grief and take care of their mothers’ belongings they discover secrets that their mothers have been holding onto. This book is written from the perspective of each woman, then also dips into the voices of their mothers and the reader learns about those secr I really enjoyed this one. Three very different women - Elise, Carmen and DeeDee- become friends after meeting in yoga class. They learn they share something in common - they’ve all lost their mothers recently. As they each work through their grief and take care of their mothers’ belongings they discover secrets that their mothers have been holding onto. This book is written from the perspective of each woman, then also dips into the voices of their mothers and the reader learns about those secrets. This is a beautiful story about family and the love of mothers. I loved seeing the friendship between the three women and how they supported each other and pushed each other to address the secrets they’ve learned. This is a great heartwarming family drama.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I really enjoyed this one. Three very different women - Elise, Carmen and DeeDee- become friends after meeting in yoga class. They learn they share something in common - they’ve all lost their mothers recently. As they each work through their grief and take care of their mothers’ belongings they discover secrets that their mothers have been holding onto. This book is written from the perspective of each woman, then also dips into the voices of their mothers and the reader learns about those secr I really enjoyed this one. Three very different women - Elise, Carmen and DeeDee- become friends after meeting in yoga class. They learn they share something in common - they’ve all lost their mothers recently. As they each work through their grief and take care of their mothers’ belongings they discover secrets that their mothers have been holding onto. This book is written from the perspective of each woman, then also dips into the voices of their mothers and the reader learns about those secrets. This is a beautiful story about family and the love of mothers. I loved seeing the friendship between the three women and how they supported each other and pushed each other to address the secrets they’ve learned. This is a great heartwarming family drama.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pam Cowperthwaite

    I really wanted to love this book (it was the featured book in a book box my daughter gave me for my birthday), but it felt very disjointed. The contemporary story of three women coming together to support one another as they unpack the things their late mothers left behind, is just not very convincing. However, the stories that are unearthed about their mothers were much more interesting and engaging. I would have preferred a book with just those stories.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality I picked this up because the story was wrapped around family secrets that three women discover in the process of grieving for their mothers’ deaths. This was also the central theme of another book that I read recently, the excellent but completely different Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish by Tori Whitaker. Although the stories share something besides their theme, as both are set in my own hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m attracted to stories like these because I Originally published at Reading Reality I picked this up because the story was wrapped around family secrets that three women discover in the process of grieving for their mothers’ deaths. This was also the central theme of another book that I read recently, the excellent but completely different Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish by Tori Whitaker. Although the stories share something besides their theme, as both are set in my own hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m attracted to stories like these because I lost my own mother three years ago this December. Everyone’s grief process is different, although stories like this certainly all live up to that old saying about all happy families being alike while misery seems to have a thousand mothers – and fathers. But stories like this one have resonance for me, especially this time of year, and especially when the women are somewhere in mid-life or thereabouts, as Elise, Carmen and DeeDee certainly are. All three women are somewhere in mid-life, all are black, and all are having difficulties dealing with the deaths of their mothers – however recently or not. And all of them are stuck wading through the detritus left behind, both in the sense of physical material and emotional baggage. Elise in particular has an entire apartment full of stuff to go through and make decisions about. Her mother was a ruthlessly organized woman, which is the only thing that kept her from being featured as a hoarder. Her condo and its storage area are full to the brim with her many, many collections, starting with, but definitely not ending with, 15 complete sets of dishes. Not 15 place settings of dishes, 15 sets of 12 or so place settings each. Along with similar amounts of clothing, jewelry, collectibles, knick-knacks and whatnots. Lots of whatnots. So these women bond, a bit over their yoga class and their snarky comments about their rigid drill instructor of an instructor, somewhat over the losses they haven’t managed to process, and definitely over a shared need to make peace with the women their mothers’ were by dealing with the secrets they left behind. And the boxes. Boxes of jewelry, boxes of letters and especially boxes of secrets that bring home the realization that none of them really knew their mothers, not the secret women that their mothers really were. Escape Rating A: Elise, Carmen and DeeDee have reached this point from three very different journeys, and the secrets that they uncover, both about their mothers and about themselves, are all equally different. They cover a spectrum of mother-daughter relationships and women’s lives that will have a lot of resonance for any woman. Elise is the one with the most regret, DeeDee is the one who has the most to remember, and Carmen is the one who uncovers the biggest revelation. There, that was cryptic. Elise has both the hardest journey, because her loss is the most recent, but also the simplest. She has to empty her mother’s condo and she has to forgive herself for not accepting her mother’s new romantic relationship. Her mother moved on from her father’s death, while Elise mostly didn’t. But there are relatively simple ways for Elise to still find closure and forgiveness, and she eventually does. Her issues aren’t easy – none of this is easy, but they are simple. DeeDee, whose mother has been gone the longest, has to reach back into her own memory to reset what she thinks and feels about her mother, and how those memories have affected her relationships with her sister and her own daughters. Bipolar disorder runs through DeeDee’s family, and her mother suffered from both that disorder and severe postpartum depression, which most likely exacerbated each other. The traumatic childhoods of both DeeDee and her sister – who inherited the disorder – still haunts her. In finally opening the boxes her mother left behind, DeeDee is finally able to remember the good as well as the bad, and to begin to let her own daughters know the artistic genius their grandmother was. The secrets that Carmen uncovers change her perception of who she herself is and her place in the world, as the boxes her mother left behind reveal her life as a young woman, before she married Carmen’s father and became a preacher’s wife. A time when she traveled the world. A time when she married Carmen’s natural father. When she became a very young widow, and when her young husband’s mother erased both Carmen and her mother from her dead son’s life. Because his mother never accepted her son’s black, gentile wife and their mixed race child. Carmen’s mother believed that her first mother-in-law’s rejection and erasure was solely because she was black. It’s possible that at least some of that attitude was religiously motivated, as it was not unheard of for Jewish parents at that time to consider a child who married outside the religion to be dead and to perform funeral rites over them, to sit shiva and say kaddish. Whatever the motivation, it was despicable treatment that sent Carmen’s mother back home to her family, to her childhood best friend, to the man who Carmen knew as her father for her entire life. Until she opened those boxes and discovered her mother’s past. But all three women find a marvelously supportive friendship with each other. A burden shared is, after all, a burden halved. Or in this particular case, thirded. They all find some much-needed closure, they all make a bit of peace, and they all move forward. For this reader, the story was tremendously cathartic, especially as I found touchstones to my own journey among theirs. I really wish I could take that yoga class with them – although I’m not too sure about maintaining the headstand pose. But friendship like theirs would definitely be worth the effort!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joani

    I love this author and I loved the idea of the book; however, the story felt off balance to me. The friendship aspect is wonderful and dealing with the losses and secrets of their mothers was interesting and relatable. I would have liked more character development and more particularly about Dee Dee’s mother, rather than just a few chapters crammed at the end before the abrupt ending. A quick and good read, just not my favorite.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I liked this one OK. I almost felt like with the three stories, that the book felt diluted. In particular, Dee Dee's story is a whopper and I felt like stuffing it into a few chapters toward the end didn't really do it (or the complex subject matter) any justice. I guess I maybe liked the IDEA of this story more than the execution. I liked this one OK. I almost felt like with the three stories, that the book felt diluted. In particular, Dee Dee's story is a whopper and I felt like stuffing it into a few chapters toward the end didn't really do it (or the complex subject matter) any justice. I guess I maybe liked the IDEA of this story more than the execution.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wrenn

    Thank you @2bookaddicts Shakila and Shonda for another great buddy read! This story about women friends and their mothers really touched my heart. Elise, Carmen and DeeDee meet in yoga class and begin to bond. When they go for drinks afterward, they realize they all lost their mothers and are still grieving them. Their friendships strengthen and they decide to help each other process their loss and go through the belongings left to them. Slowly we learn more about their lives, and the secrets of thei Thank you @2bookaddicts Shakila and Shonda for another great buddy read! This story about women friends and their mothers really touched my heart. Elise, Carmen and DeeDee meet in yoga class and begin to bond. When they go for drinks afterward, they realize they all lost their mothers and are still grieving them. Their friendships strengthen and they decide to help each other process their loss and go through the belongings left to them. Slowly we learn more about their lives, and the secrets of their mother's lives. A beautiful, poignant look at friendship, motherhood and coming to terms with loss. This one made me laugh and cry a little, certainly a book you should read too.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    4.5 stars. Three women have been in the same yoga class for months before realizing they are tied together by similar experiences-- all of them have lost their mothers, and are still coming to terms with their grief, whether it's been 10 months or 15 years. These maternal relationships were complicated; most of the time, family is never simple. Elise, Carmen, and DeeDee help each heal and tie up loose ends, and in the process, they each have something huge to discover about their mothers that th 4.5 stars. Three women have been in the same yoga class for months before realizing they are tied together by similar experiences-- all of them have lost their mothers, and are still coming to terms with their grief, whether it's been 10 months or 15 years. These maternal relationships were complicated; most of the time, family is never simple. Elise, Carmen, and DeeDee help each heal and tie up loose ends, and in the process, they each have something huge to discover about their mothers that they didn't know before. I was completely swept away in Williams' bittersweet, interwoven friendships of love and support.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    I love reading books about friendships, life lessons, and uplifting stories about families and unconditional love! The Secret Women surely had it all! The narration is perfect - Zakiya Young really brought the fun in this amazing Chick Lit!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Kosiek

    I definitely related to Dee Dee and all about her Mother and what Dee Dee lived with. Not to mention what each of the girls went thru with having one of their parents remarry or have another significant other, like Elise. It’s hard.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nandi Crawford

    I enjoyed it though it started a bit slow. About a trio of women who meet just happened to have mother's that just passed or had things of their moms that needed sorting. Once I got it, it kept me. I enjoyed it though it started a bit slow. About a trio of women who meet just happened to have mother's that just passed or had things of their moms that needed sorting. Once I got it, it kept me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Never Without a Book

    Meh

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lulu

    Descent story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brenda McGrath

    Summary: Elise, DeeDee, and Carmen all meet in a yoga class, joined together by laughter and the frustration of trying to master their headstand poses. When they get together after class, they discover that they have all lost their mothers and are still grieving. The three become fast friends, and they agree to help each other process their losses and sort through their mothers' leftover belongings. As each woman tackles their mothers' things, they learn more about who their mothers really were, Summary: Elise, DeeDee, and Carmen all meet in a yoga class, joined together by laughter and the frustration of trying to master their headstand poses. When they get together after class, they discover that they have all lost their mothers and are still grieving. The three become fast friends, and they agree to help each other process their losses and sort through their mothers' leftover belongings. As each woman tackles their mothers' things, they learn more about who their mothers really were, and they are each faced with challenging decisions about how to move forward with their lives. The Secret Women is an emotional tale about friendship and the bonds between mothers and daughters. Review: What a beautiful and relatable story this is. In The Secret Women, Sheila Williams captures all aspects of life - the good and the bad, the pain, the laughter. From the very first page, these characters are likable. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to a yoga class and have wanted to swear out loud as I'm sweating and trying not to fall out of my pose. This is exactly what Elise does, and the laughter that ensues by Carmen and DeeDee brings these women together into a deep and beautiful friendship. As much as this book made me laugh, it equally brought me close to tears on several occasions. As a young woman with a complicated relationship with my own mother, reading this story made me face head-on what it will be like to someday lose her. The complexity of these women's emotions is portrayed so well - the guilt over what was left unsaid, the anger watching everyone else in the family seemingly move on, and the hard realizations that mothers have their own pasts, their own secrets, their own lives outside of being somebody's mom. Where this novel lost me was in the division of perspectives. It didn't feel to me that each woman was given an equal part of the story, with Carmen's mother being focused on for several chapters and Elise's mother hardly at all. DeeDee's story with her mother was arguably the most complicated, and I don't feel there was enough space given to it, with it being the last section of the book. Furthermore, while Elise, Carmen, and DeeDee were all very likable characters, they didn't feel particularly well-rounded, especially not compared to the rich descriptions and backstories we were given of their mothers. Overall, The Secret Women is an emotional and relatable book that is perfect for fans of Tayari Jones and Barbara O'Neal.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bree

    This story was heartwarming and devastating at the same time. It was a perfect blend of how complex relationships with our moms can be and validated that even if your mom isn’t here your relationship can still grow. I think each of these women have something we can all relate to and learn from. Elisa struggles with her final moments with her mom, Carmen struggles with realizing she never got to know who her mom was before she was her mom, and Dee Dee struggles with guilt. These women were easy t This story was heartwarming and devastating at the same time. It was a perfect blend of how complex relationships with our moms can be and validated that even if your mom isn’t here your relationship can still grow. I think each of these women have something we can all relate to and learn from. Elisa struggles with her final moments with her mom, Carmen struggles with realizing she never got to know who her mom was before she was her mom, and Dee Dee struggles with guilt. These women were easy to relate to for me, I’ve been all 3 of them before. Dee Dee though, she broke me. I could’ve written her part myself. ⠀ ⠀ Laura, Dee Dee’s mom had bipolar and was manic. You could’ve put my mom’s name in this instead and it would’ve read the same way to me. She reflects on past arguments with Laura, the constant fear that her, her sister, or her daughter will get these genetics, and the fact that she will never be able to make anything right with her mom. I feel all of that. Dee Dee and I didn’t understand our moms until it was too late. I wish I could go back and tell her how brave she was, how strong she was for fighting a battle in her mind every damn day, but I can’t. Laura and my mom died the exact same way - “And when the fight was over, it was hard to know who’d won, Laura or “It.” Losing your mom unexpectedly is unfair to say the least. But not being able to tell them how sorry you are is the worst. ⠀ ⠀ I really can’t find the words for how this book made me feel, but I am so glad I read this. ⠀

  22. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    Relationships between mothers and daughters have been written about and studied since the beginning of time. The Secret Women is the story of three women who met in a yoga class who are all dealing with the loss of their mothers. I read it for my book club and I am sure we will have much to discuss. Dede, Elise and Carmen formed a friendship and supported each other in coming to terms with their losses. The ladies decide to help each other go through their mothers' things together. Honestly, the Relationships between mothers and daughters have been written about and studied since the beginning of time. The Secret Women is the story of three women who met in a yoga class who are all dealing with the loss of their mothers. I read it for my book club and I am sure we will have much to discuss. Dede, Elise and Carmen formed a friendship and supported each other in coming to terms with their losses. The ladies decide to help each other go through their mothers' things together. Honestly, the book could have been only about Carmen and her mother Joan. They had the most interesting story. It is hard sometimes for us to view our parents as human beings. I listened to the audio version and I was not a fan of the narrator. The story moved too slowly for me and it picked up once Carmen learned of her mother's secret. I was ready to throw my phone away because the narrator did nothing for this story. Dede had a mother who suffered from mental illness and was terrified her oldest daughter would suffer the same fate. Elise had major guilt over how she treated her mother when she began dating. She was devasted that she was unable to apologize to her mother before she died. Overall, it was just okay for me. It could have been a two-hour Lifetime movie.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alisha Carderella

    3.25 ⭐️ Three unlikely friends bond over post yoga margaritas and their mutual devastation of the losses of their mothers. The women share stories and help each other navigate the secrets they come to discover their mothers held on to. This was an interesting book that addresses loss, friendship, secrets, and the way we relate to our mother’s. Dee Dee, Elise, and Carmen are each in different stages of grief over their losses when we meet them. The book jumps around a bit and we get each women’s P 3.25 ⭐️ Three unlikely friends bond over post yoga margaritas and their mutual devastation of the losses of their mothers. The women share stories and help each other navigate the secrets they come to discover their mothers held on to. This was an interesting book that addresses loss, friendship, secrets, and the way we relate to our mother’s. Dee Dee, Elise, and Carmen are each in different stages of grief over their losses when we meet them. The book jumps around a bit and we get each women’s POV as well as their mothers POV to tell their own stories. Sometimes the books feels disjointed and rushed because of this. We lose some of the depth of the women’s friendship after the beginning as the book turns to focusing on each women’s life and their respective mothers story. I would have liked to see more of their friendship as their camaraderie was fun. Overall this was an enjoyable quick and easy read that makes you look at your mother in a different light. I’ll be asking my mom a lot of questions about her past now! *Thank you to Booksparks for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bernita

    If you are looking for a book that will pull at your heartstrings and still fill you with happiness then I highly recommend The Secret Women by Sheila Williams. I finished this book within a week last week that how phenomenal it was. Three women become fast friends after a yoga class and margaritas at a local restaurant. I was initially drawn to the cover of this book because it is so pretty, but once I started reading I was drawn to all three women. I love how they became such a great support s If you are looking for a book that will pull at your heartstrings and still fill you with happiness then I highly recommend The Secret Women by Sheila Williams. I finished this book within a week last week that how phenomenal it was. Three women become fast friends after a yoga class and margaritas at a local restaurant. I was initially drawn to the cover of this book because it is so pretty, but once I started reading I was drawn to all three women. I love how they became such a great support system for each other when they live completely different lives and didn't formally know each other outside of their weekly yoga class. I found myself aww-ing at certain parts of this story that how invested I became in these characters. They each couldn't handle what was troubling them alone and with the help of the others, they battled and conquered their fears. Two things you can take away from this book are how women are great at uplifting each other when handling things alone just won't cut it. everyone needs a great set of friends to help them with life struggles and to help them navigate how to be able to move on and succeed in life. The second is that sometimes you don't have to have similar backgrounds with someone for them to be a friend. I liked this book so much I will be going to pick up a hard copy it was published last week! Truly great read

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jane

    The concept of the three main characters needing to go through their mother’s things, deciding whether to read personal items like diaries. The actual story doesn’t quite live up to its possibilities. What these three women learn as they look back, disturbs them. Help with living through some unexpected revelations is more than welcomed from good friends who can be quite endearing. In this book, it just seemed to me that the characters tales were told, but we readers never do get to feel they ar The concept of the three main characters needing to go through their mother’s things, deciding whether to read personal items like diaries. The actual story doesn’t quite live up to its possibilities. What these three women learn as they look back, disturbs them. Help with living through some unexpected revelations is more than welcomed from good friends who can be quite endearing. In this book, it just seemed to me that the characters tales were told, but we readers never do get to feel they are “real”. There are supposed to be emotional reactions, but I didn’t feel them. Lots of possibilities with this author, but I didn’t feel this was a great example of what she might have done with the plot and characters. Frequently, pop fiction hits me this way. The books are stretched on a framework, perhaps dictated by the publisher, that is nearly the same from book to book. I fail to care about any of the characters and the plots often feel contrived. Read it if you wish, but I doubt it’s the kind of book you’re going to love, or even remember, long after you close the cover.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Arianna Mclaughlin (arianna.reads)

    🌸 Book Review: The Secret Women by Sheila Williams 🌸 ⁣ ⁣ Pub date: June 9, 2020 ⁣ ⁣ I went into The Secret Women completely blind (I think I thought it was a thriller) and was so pleasantly surprised! ⁣ ⁣ Elise, Carmen and Dee Dee meet at a yoga class and bond over the fact that they have all lost their mothers and are struggling to come to terms with their grief and go through their respective mother’s personal effects. ⁣ ⁣ We then spend time with each woman and her mother, learning about each of their 🌸 Book Review: The Secret Women by Sheila Williams 🌸 ⁣ ⁣ Pub date: June 9, 2020 ⁣ ⁣ I went into The Secret Women completely blind (I think I thought it was a thriller) and was so pleasantly surprised! ⁣ ⁣ Elise, Carmen and Dee Dee meet at a yoga class and bond over the fact that they have all lost their mothers and are struggling to come to terms with their grief and go through their respective mother’s personal effects. ⁣ ⁣ We then spend time with each woman and her mother, learning about each of their pasts and how this has shaped. each daughter’s present life. Williams does a wonderful job creating relationship between women. The bond between the new friends feels real and the emotions of each woman as she learns more about her mother is touching without being overly sappy. And don’t get me started on Carmen’s and Joan’s story... my favourite of the three! ⁣ ⁣ These are women that I would love to have in my corner and go grab a margarita with! ⁣ ⁣ I recommend this one to readers looking for a realistic story about friends and families with some laughs on the side. ⁣ ⁣ Shelia Williams is a new author for me and I look forward to reading more of her work. ⁣ ⁣ Thank you to @harpercollinsca , Edelweiss and Sheila Williams for an eARC in exchange for my honest thoughts. ⁣ ⁣

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tara (Spinatale Reviews)

    The Secret Women was intriguing and I enjoyed seeing how each of the three main characters grow throughout the course of the novel. However, it was a difficult for me to connect with the main characters because of how the story was divided. Much of the focus of The Secret Women was on their mothers, the challenges they faced, and the other aspects of their lives that their daughters didn’t know about. I mostly found myself wanting to know more about each character since we primarily got snapshot The Secret Women was intriguing and I enjoyed seeing how each of the three main characters grow throughout the course of the novel. However, it was a difficult for me to connect with the main characters because of how the story was divided. Much of the focus of The Secret Women was on their mothers, the challenges they faced, and the other aspects of their lives that their daughters didn’t know about. I mostly found myself wanting to know more about each character since we primarily got snapshots of their stories. However, I did like the broad range of issues that Sheila Williams tackled and how she addressed how loss can change you. I think The Secret Women would make an interesting book club book. There’s definitely a lot here to fuel discussions! *Disclaimer: I received an advance digital copy of this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sheila L.

    I really enjoyed reading The Secret Women by Sheila Williams. I’m a person who love family, togetherness but haven’t really experienced it until I became a mother and a wife. In this book it was about 3 female ladies who came to be great friends through attending a yoga’s class. Each of the ladies meet with each other after yoga to get to know one another. Once they got to know each other each of the ladies had their own little secrets that they had face but they decided to face them together. Th I really enjoyed reading The Secret Women by Sheila Williams. I’m a person who love family, togetherness but haven’t really experienced it until I became a mother and a wife. In this book it was about 3 female ladies who came to be great friends through attending a yoga’s class. Each of the ladies meet with each other after yoga to get to know one another. Once they got to know each other each of the ladies had their own little secrets that they had face but they decided to face them together. They all had each other’s back and that showed me that we all need someone on our team no matter what we have to face in life. We have the friends that are with you when everything is good but do we have those friends when things aren’t so good. I loved the book because of the togetherness of 3 perfect strangers that became sisters and supported one another during the times they had to face their secrets.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeannine

    Three African-American women meet in yoga class and discover though they seem to have little else in common, they each lost their mothers recently and they make a pact to help each other deal with her mother's belongings so they can move on in life. But each one discovers the secret woman her mother was, finding secrets and loves and strengths she was never aware of. Together the three women help each other accept the changes in their understanding of their mothers and grow stronger because of i Three African-American women meet in yoga class and discover though they seem to have little else in common, they each lost their mothers recently and they make a pact to help each other deal with her mother's belongings so they can move on in life. But each one discovers the secret woman her mother was, finding secrets and loves and strengths she was never aware of. Together the three women help each other accept the changes in their understanding of their mothers and grow stronger because of it and because of their newfound friendship. A very enjoyable read, interesting characters, though I would have liked more variety in the voices of the three women, they sounded rather alike. Their mothers were fascinating women with interesting reveals. Highly recommended. My copy was an ARC from NetGalley.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alexis Y.

    *I received a digital ARC from Netgalley and publisher in exchange for an honest review.* The Secret Women by Sheila Williams tells the story of three women who become friends while attending a yoga class together. The women, Carmen, Elise, and Dee Dee, are all over the age of 40. They are all dealing with the loss of their mothers and decide to tackle their grief together by sorting through their mothers' belongings. It isn't long until secrets are exposed that will forever change how the women *I received a digital ARC from Netgalley and publisher in exchange for an honest review.* The Secret Women by Sheila Williams tells the story of three women who become friends while attending a yoga class together. The women, Carmen, Elise, and Dee Dee, are all over the age of 40. They are all dealing with the loss of their mothers and decide to tackle their grief together by sorting through their mothers' belongings. It isn't long until secrets are exposed that will forever change how the women viewed their mothers and their lives all together. After reading this novel, you may want to spend more time with your mom (if she's still living) and get to know her better. The Secret Women show how friends, no matter how new, can provide much needed support to push you through the toughest times in life.

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