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.