As I saw my new-born baby’s face for the first time I tried desperately to capture her face in my mind—to stamp it onto my eyelids. As she was taken from me I knew I might never see my daughter again.
38 years later…
‘You were adopted’. Three short words and Sabina’s life fractures. There would forever be a Beforethose words, and an After.
Pregnant with her own child, Sabina can’t understand how a mother could abandon her daughter, or why her parents have kept the past a secret.
Determined to find the woman who gave her away, what she discovers will change everything, not just for Sabina, but for the women who have loved her all these years.
From the bestselling author of Me Without You comes another touching, beautifully told story about the pain of separation and the enduring strength of love.
I knew when I accepted the offer to read this book that this would be a read that would require a box of tissue close at hand. I also knew that it would be one that I would identify closely with, as I have personally been in the lives of ladies who have had their babies taken at birth, as well as ladies who were adopted at birth and spent years wondering who their mother was. Yes, I knew the tentacles of emotion would run deep when I opened the first page and started the story.
But, I was totally unprepared for the shock blast of the emotional upheaval that I immediately was sucked into with the opening salvo as a joyous event of the announcement of a pregnancy by a young couple to her parents turned into an evening of parental breakdown and disjointed revelations that left Sabina, the young mother-to-be, rushing to the doctor for tests and answers. A second visit and confrontation with the parents a day or two later resulted in an even bigger revelation and a true life-shattering announcement that she was not theirs.
The story was a slow peeling of the layers of Sabina’s life and at the same time a flash-back to the time of the pregnancy of Sabina’s mother, Lilly, and her experience with the Maternity Home System in Australia. It is also the telling of the same story through the eyes of Sabina’s adoptive mother, Megan, who worked in the system.
While a well written story, in its own right, Kelly did a masterful job of providing a snapshot of the devastation that the Maternity Home System had on the lives of so many people, just in the telling of the story of how it affected the lives of these three families and the effects that dominated their lives for forty years because of the policies and conditions of the home.
Kelly took the time to not only tell a story that would showcase a cause, but she took the time to develop the characters within her story and breath life into them. You could feel the emotion of the mothers and, on several occasions, I had to set down the book to breath before picking it up to move one again. I was so caught up in the emotion of motherhood, of unborn children, of bonding, of the idea of losing a child at birth – never to see him/her again.
The supporting characters were there and played their parts well, but the central characters were almost three-dimensional on the page. You could feel yourself sitting down to tea with them or wanting to reach out and wrap your arms in comfort around them when there was little else you could do.
I strongly recommend the reading of this book. It is not an easy read, but it is one that is well worth the effort and time. I would give it a good FOUR STARS as a literary review, but a full FIVE STARS for the moving story effectiveness of content. I loved it. This book was provided to me by Net Galley to read and review.
Thank you for taking on such a hard story, Kelly. It was deeply appreciated by this reviewer.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING (from Amazon Synopsis)
Find out what readers are saying about The Secret Daughter
‘I adored this novel. Absolutely, 100% adored it. Kelly Rimmer is a beautiful writer … The Secret Daughter packed such an emotional, powerful punch, one that I don’t think I’ve felt before that I’ll always associate with her novels from now on.’ Becca’s Books
‘Kelly Rimmer did an amazing job of telling such a heartbreaking tale. This story had me laughing, crying and hugging my daughter a wee tighter. I loved this story!’ Steph and Chris Book Reviews
When my childhood friends grew out of make-believe games, I realized that I’d have to become a writer (or join the real world with them, but that seemed far too dull).
Several decades later, I live in rural Australia with my husband Daniel and our two young children, and when I’m not reading, writing, or daydreaming about reading and writing, I have one of those unfathomable IT jobs which no one outside of the industry really knows about.
You can find out more about Kelly Rimmer at KELLYRIMMER.COM