I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak
Series: Fairham Island #2
Published by Mira on July 26, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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The rich and powerful Josephine Lazarow, matriarch of Fairham Island, is dead. The police say it's suicide, but Keith, her estranged son, doesn't believe it.
Keith bears scars--both physical and emotional--from his childhood, but he's worked hard to overcome the past. After walking away from his mother and her controlling ways five years ago, he's built a new life in LA. He's also accumulated a fortune of his own. But as soon as he learns of his mother's death, he returns to Fairham. He feels he owes it to his grandfather to put the family empire together again--and he's determined to find his mother's killer.
Problem is...coming home to Fairham puts him back in contact with Nancy Dellinger, the woman he hurt so badly when he left before. And digging that deep into his mother's final days and hours entails a very real risk.
Because the person who killed her could be someone he loves...
It’s been five years since the last story and Keith Lazarow has accomplished the seemingly impossible. He’s been drug free and has become extremely successful as a commercial real estate investor in California. Leaving Fairham Island and his controlling, cruel mother has everything to do with him staying clean. However, when Keith’s informed of her death, ruled a suicide, he has to go back to the place that represents lots of personal pain and failure. And, he doesn’t buy Josephine killed herself. He’s also looking forward to reconnecting with the woman who was his lifeline in those very dark days, Nancy Dellinger.
I thought Josephine’s “redemption” at the end of the last book was questionable and a lot is discovered here that confirmed my suspicions. However, she’s still a very complicated character and her actions made this an interesting mystery. Even in death she continues to overshadow her children.
I liked Keith’s growth and how it was illustrated, not presenting him as cured but a continuing work in progress. His relationship, however, was disappointing as I never sensed the empathy I would have expected. But, I think he was authentically portrayed. Nancy’s weakness in not being able to resist him was also realistic, even though I wanted her to have a stronger spine. Her behavior was just that of a normal woman, trying to get over a man she’s in love with who doesn’t return her feelings.
I enjoyed the mystery and while I figured out the answer, I flip flopped through the end:) There was one plot hole, though, that I’m still puzzled about. The romance was tough given Keith’s disconnection but it was real. Otherwise, I liked the story and look forward to the next in the series, especially after the epilogue.