Secrets Mothers Keep

Secrets Mothers Keep

4.7 8
by Linda J Bettenay
A brutal murder occurs on an isolated farm in the 1920's in Western Australia and the victim's wife and children are violently abused, scandalizing the whole country. The killer has no apparent motivation but admits his guilt and the abused wife has to rebuild her shattered life.
Secrets Mothers Keep traces how three lives are entwined. A young English boy with


A brutal murder occurs on an isolated farm in the 1920's in Western Australia and the victim's wife and children are violently abused, scandalizing the whole country. The killer has no apparent motivation but admits his guilt and the abused wife has to rebuild her shattered life.
Secrets Mothers Keep traces how three lives are entwined. A young English boy with learning difficulties and the precursors of mental illness, learns to cope with his 'black moods' and poor social skills. He faces numerous challenges and finds support and strategies that enable him to survive. Finally an event makes him crack.
Lilly is a feminist with a strong social conscience; the novel follows her life and her loves until she marries her eminently capable partner Harold. Harold is murdered and Lilly and her children are subject to rape and horrific abuse. The resultant infamy of the case threatens her reputation and her core values. Her strong convictions lead her to respond in a most unlikely manner. The interplay of characters, combine to create a story reflecting the values of their time in history but with themes which still resonate today.

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Roleystone Courier
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Secrets Mothers Keep 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this well written and well researched book! Historically it was extremely interesting, encompassing the history of Australian troops on their way to Gallipoli and the slaughter they encountered once they arrived. In addition, the history of Perth and Fremantle at the beginning of the 20th Century was fascinating as were the country descriptions of the hard farming life in rural Western Australia and the life of the unsung heroine who is on centre stage in Secrets Mothers Keep.  The author weaves a skillful tale with an intriguing plot which is well paced and holds one’s attention very compellingly. This is the type of book that one cannot put down and when the end is reached it is done so with a sense of regret. One has lost an old friend! I would recommend Secrets Mothers Keep to anyone who enjoys a historical novel which moves at a fast pace.  Jean Henrickson Roleystone, Western Australia
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Secrets Mothers Keep, by Linda J Bettenay, is a long way from my usual sci-fi/adventure genre and initially I was hesitant to read it for this very reason but eventually my curiosity got the better of me.  I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised.  The book is based on events which actually occurred and much of it takes place in suburbs around Perth, which are familiar to me. Despite knowing from the beginning that terrible events will take place, I was not only drawn into the lives of the characters but found myself relating to them and, regardless of their flaws, I found them very likeable. What I loved most about this book was that the tale did not end in the way I had expected. Yes, murder, rape and brutal abuse occurred, as was clearly described at the book’s beginning, but it was the aftermath that really held my attention.  While reading this book I had to keep reminding myself that there would not be a happy ending because you just can’t change history (unless it’s a sci-fi novel) but the suspense really builds up in the last part of the book. The reader really doesn’t know how it will end. When I finished, I was left with swirling thoughts but I was entirely satisfied with the conclusion. I would highly recommend this book to all in my age group, particularly 25-30 year olds or really anyone wanting to break away from their preferred genres -  try out this great example of historical fiction. I can’t wait for the next one! Rebecca Broadbent,  Thornlie, WA.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Secrets Mothers Keep is a fascinating chronicle of events in the early 1900's. It was very interesting and thought provoking. I have learnt more about Australia whilst reading this book than I have in the last 50 years since arriving in WA from the UK. The author's meticulous research into the authenticity of this story is without doubt a work of real dedication. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read. This book is definitely on par with Judy Nunn and Di Morrissey. I found I couldn't put it down and I read it over 24 hours! I hope Linda J Bettenay has another one in the pipeline. I'll be buying it for sure! Wendy K Bishop-McCulloch, Roleystone 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
'Secrets Mothers Keep' is a fabulous book, written by Linda Bettenay. The story is a fascinating study of the complexities of human nature. The author begins with an insight into the early years in the life of each character, creating a real sense of empathy and connection for the reader. We are then treated to the journey of their lives including: loves won and lost, friendships formed in war torn times, family ties and struggles. The book also studies the effects of society's views on women at that time and sadly on the lack of knowledge and available treatment for those afflicted with serious mental illness. Sufferers were often hidden or, in this case, sent away by their families. It continues through their lives with wonderful descriptions of life in a small Australian town and the trust which grows with years of friendship. We are taken on a gripping roller coaster of emotions as the story builds to a violent crescendo. A truly amazing, thought provoking read! Pam Hunter Roleystone
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite Secrets Mothers Keep by Linda J. Bettenay takes us to Western Australia in the 1920s where a brutal murder has happened. The killer had no motivation and feels some remorse - not for what he did, but for the fact that the wife and children must start again. This novel explores how lives that seem unrelated intertwine through events that happen, from a young English boy who has learning disabilities and signs of mental illness to Lilly who is a wife to a murdered husband, and a mother. This book is not a happy read; it will tear at your heart and leave you crying. Murder, rape and general violence make it very emotional and at times hard to swallow. With that said, however, it is those exact emotional ties that make the book so interesting. Knowing that this is historical fiction based on fact only serves to tug at your heart even more. Linda J. Bettenay has done a fantastic job of weaving a perfect tapestry of interest and emotion. It can be hard to get into this book at first, but I recommend to anyone who starts it to stay with it. The story is worthwhile and has such a beautiful ebb and flow to it that you would truly be missing out. Lilly is a character who will now forever be held in my heart because of what she lived through. The themes in this book are just as pertinent today as they were when the events took place. Two thumbs way up for this book.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite Secrets Mothers Keep by Linda J Bettenay is the novel of two lives coming together in a most brutal way. Clifford Hulme of England has suffered from dark episodes his entire life. His family desperately tries to cover up his actions, as he would be committed. Conscripted into the army during World War One, Clifford is unofficially diagnosed by an army doctor. He returns home, only to face more demons. One of these unintentional actions sparks an escape to Australia where he, by chance, meets Harold Smith. Harold keeps Clifford’s confidence and even tries to help him, but it backfires horribly, leaving his wife, Lillian, and children in a very vulnerable situation. Lillian is left battered and must overcome re-victimization by the press and society in order to regain what she has lost. Miss Bettenay paints a compelling picture of life in Australia during the 1920s. She writes in such a way that the reader feels drawn into the lives of the characters. I admit, I found the style a bit chaotic at first. There were transitions between past and present tense that were a bit confusing. I felt the ending was a bit rushed and the story felt too convenient at times. There are graphic descriptions of rape, child abuse, and murder. It was a daring chance taken by the author to describe such vicious acts. I admired Lillian for her fortitude in transitioning from a victim to a survivor though. I found myself angry at the newspaper for allowing such a blatant disclosure of details. It saddens me because such things still happen today. Secrets Mothers Keep is not for the faint of heart, but it will impact the reader long after the story is finished.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Raanan Geberer for Readers' Favorite Secrets Mothers Keep by Linda J. Bettenay is a well-written, fascinating fictionalization of a real-life murder in rural West Australia in the late 1920s. The plot brings together two people who couldn’t have had less in common. One is Harold Smith, landowner, businessman, devoted husband and father. The second is Smith’s farm hand Clifford Hulme, who suffers from mental illness, grew up in a dysfunctional family and has been made a scapegoat more than once. Smith administers Hulme’s mood-stabilizing “tablets” – actually heroin – but after they’re declared illegal, Hulme’s “black moods” return, and the voices in his head make him kill Smith, rape his wife and brutally assault his children. A sensational trial will determine whether Hulme lives or dies. Secrets Mothers Keep is written in a somewhat unusual style in that it traces the history of Hulme, Smith and their respective families and friends at length before the two of them ever meet. Indeed, it isn’t until halfway through the book that “The Day the World Ended” – Linda J. Bettenay’s name for the brutal murder – is described. However, Bettenay’s skill as a writer is so good that this technique works. The book also depicts its characters very well – you’ll cringe when reading about Hulme’s Dickensian childhood in Leeds, England. For those who want to read a good, literate crime novel, or those who are interested in the history of Australia, Secrets Mothers Keep is a must. The fact that Bettenay’s husband is the grandson of Harold Smith makes the book even more real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have just finished "Secrets Mothers Keep" by Linda J Bettenay. This was a far different genre to most books I read - it was a gift to me from my own mother. I absolutely loved the book and commend the author for the wonderful word pictures she has developed. It was a real page turner.  As an avid reader and keen student of history, I have read quite a few historical novels and this story ranks right up there with the best of them. It is amazing to have such a tragic yet well told and ultimately uplifting story set in this beautiful part of the world.  I look forward to reading more of Linda J Bettenay's  books in the future. Mike M