Gabbie packs her bags and heads off in the car with her two daughters. There is only one place she can go: her childhood home where her stepmother lives. The women have a strained relationship but Gabbie is desperate. As Gabbie reassesses her life, she begins to realise that Jill is not an enemy…
My Stepmother’s Secret is an emotional novel about family secrets and lies.
Gabbie has always resented her stepmother due to her loyalty to her mother. Now she is forced to confront her version of the past in order to face her present dilemma. Her husband has betrayed her and now she needs to beg for money from her stepmother. Meanwhile she is also trying to protect her daughters from the truth of the family’s situation.
The book is written in the third person throughout but in the past and present. Gabbie discovers a box of letters and some chapters use the letters followed by the detail of her childhood boarding school experience to contrast with her present day situation. I felt deperately sad for Gabbie and also complete empathy for her hideous experience of bullying. She has always felt lacking in some way and this has made her strive to please people so they don’t reject her.
I enjoyed a range of emotions as I read this book. There was intense anger and irritation at Gabbie’s husband, frustration with Gabbie’s elder daughter for being so unsupportive, sadness for the lost years caused by secrets. I also felt a sense of relief by the end of the book that the truth had been exposed and the layers of generational pain might finally be broken.
My Stepmother’s Secret is a powerful emotional novel.
It’s in that moment, I realise – I have nowhere to turn. If my precious daughters and I are going to have a roof over our heads, we have to return to my childhood home. The one I’ve not felt welcome in since my father died. The one where the woman who destroyed our family still lives…
Today marks the end of my life as I know it. I have absolutely nowhere to go, no-one to turn to. My husband’s lies have ruined our family and wrecked our marriage. And now he’s disappeared, leaving just a promise to make it all right.
My daughters, Olivia and Alice, need me like never before. I will do whatever it takes to stay strong, to keep them safe and loved. So I turn to the one place I hoped never to return to. When my dad died, he left me his house, with one proviso. His second wife, my stepmother, was to be allowed to live there for as long as she wanted. She hasn’t welcomed me there, or shown a single sign of leaving, since.
But I have no choice. I need to ask for her help.
Little do I know that everything I thought I knew about the woman who destroyed my life when I was a child is about to come crashing down. Living together now, the secrets that have kept us apart for all these years are finally revealing themselves. Will our fragile bond break completely, or could it be the only thing that saves me and my daughters…?
An emotional story about family secrets and lies, and the lengths a parent will go to, to protect their children. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jojo Moyes and Kate Hewitt.
Emma Robinson is the author of several women’s fiction novels. She also blogs about the funny side of parenting and has contributed to podcasts such as Funny Women. Whilst her early novels are humorous, her recent work focuses on emotional themes and these novels are both heart-breaking and life affirming. Emma enjoys writing stories which explore the power of family and friendship in the most challenging circumstances.
Emma currently lives in Essex with a husband, two children and a small black dog.