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The Secrets We Share

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  531 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Emma Hannigan, much loved author of The Summer Guest, will delight fans of Patricia Scanlan and Cathy Kelly with her big-hearted novels of Ireland.

'A writer who understands exactly how women think' Cathy Kelly

Clara Conway is a woman with secrets.

But consequently Clara's family is in the process of falling apart. Her son Max emigrated to the US with his young family years
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 13th 2015 by Headline Review (first published April 9th 2015)
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Dale Harcombe
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Four and a half stars
If you like books about secrets and families then you should love this one. I was into this right from the prologue which starts with Clara writing a letter. Now an old woman, the Austrian born Clara living in Ireland, has decided it is time for the truth of her story to be told. But she is unsure how to proceed. Max is Clara’s son but she hasn’t seen him for twenty years. Meanwhile, in America Nathalie, only child of Max and Amber is preparing for her prom. But then and eve
Margaret Madden
Clara has not seen or heard from her son, Max, for almost twenty years. She has no idea where he is and feels the time has come to try and find him.. After some sleuthing, she discovers that he is living in LA, has a wife and a seventeen year old daughter. Clara writes to Nathalie in the hope that her granddaughter would like to connect.

Eva is still bitter about her brothers disappearance and has her own painful memories to deal with. Still single, she finds her habit of picking up strange men i
Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on Between My Lines

Green Giants is my feature where I share some of my favourite books by Irish Authors.   I’m passionate about Irish Authors, they supply us with a great and exciting mix of books, hopefully you will find something new to try.  Today it’s Emma Hannigan who is my latest Green Giant.  I've heard lots of positive praise for this author in the past and now I know why.

green giants

A book full of clandestine family secrets is a book that is always going to call o
Trish at Between My Lines
A book full of clandestine family secrets is a book that is always going to call out to me. So the secrets hooked me in but then the writing and the characters kept me enthralled from beginning to end.

First Line of The Secrets We Share by Emma Hanningan:

“Clara paused, laying down her pen on the soft cream paper for a moment, unsure of how to go on.”
My thoughts on The Secrets We Share by Emma Hanningan

I absolutely loved The Secrets We Share. It made me care about every single character and evoked
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Secrets We Share is the story of a family, and is led by Clara Conway. Clara is eighty, she's been a successful business woman, a devoted wife and a loving mother. Her family have had their problems over the years, and Clara decides that it's time to finally lay things to rest.

Clara's son Max left home over twenty years ago and has never returned. His sister Ava is a troubled, unhappy woman who exudes style and glamour on the outside, but inside she is battling with many demons. Ava was hurt
Karen Whittard
This book was easy to read. Full of mystery and wonderfully uplifting. Telling the tale of the bond between women, friendship, hope, joy, and love. It was fast paced and endearing. It tells the story of a young woman called Nathalie Conway who wake up in a hospital not knowing how she got there, but being told that her best friend has been killed in a car crash and that Nathalie barely escaped with her life. A moving chapter where Nathalie in shock doesn't believe anyone until she sees for herse ...more
Maria Meagher
Two stars because I'm feeling generous. The plot was okay, apart from some huge holes and a dodgy time-frame. The dialogue was incredibly annoying. Irish people calling Ireland "the Emerald Isle". 17 year olds talking like 40 year olds, and 50 year olds speaking in the same manner. Books in which all characters speak with the same voice are incredibly jarring. I was asked to read this book by a friend who thought it was dreadful. She was right. It's not my usual type of reading material, but tha ...more
Anne Mackle
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Clara's husband passes away she decides to hire a private investigator to find her son who left home twenty years ago after a family argument. She finds out that he is now living in America and has a seventeen year old daughter. From her home in Ireland Clara writes to her granddaughter Nathalie introducing herself and inviting her to visit.
Tragic circumstances find Nathalie's mother reading the letter first and arranging for her daughter to go and stay with her newly found grandmother or O
A fabulous book that had me in tears continuously.
Emma Crowley
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Inspired by her own grandmother's story Emma Hannigan is back with her tenth novel The Secrets We Share and what a story she has given us. I have followed Emma's work right from the beginning when she published Designer Genes and unquestionably this is her best novel yet. Her heart and soul was poured into every word of this story and it just radiates from the pages. With each book Emma's writing has matured and the incredible, heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting story showcases what a true t ...more
Sandra Preston
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous, loved it. Thank you
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was really disappointed by this book. It should have been a very powerful story but was let down for me by a very dodgy time frame. Clara is 80 years old and has decided to find her estranged son who left Ireland 20 years previously, however, as Clara got married in December 1954 and soon after she became pregnant with Ava, this means that Ava is about 60 years old and going into bars picking men up! I don't even like to go there! How old is Max? How come he was studying to be a doctor only 20 ...more
Rea Cobb
review tomorrow
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Good read very quick to get into the story.
Lynda Meyers
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first time Iv read a Emma Hannigan book and it wont be the last.I really enjoyed it.the complex relationships and secrets everyone had and loved the way everything worked out right in the end and realistically so.Im now going to read the summer guest.
Adeline Kam
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story of family love and redemption. Forgiveness after being apart for 20 years. This book is easy to read and soothing to the soul.

Thanks Emma for writing this book and may your soul rest in peace. It is so sad to know the world has lost a good author like you.
Mary O'Brien
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very moving read

Wonderful insight to what was a very strong woman. A real fairytale. I cried and laughed while reading thus book
Kerrie Paterson
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the story of this book but felt it was let down by unrealistic dialogue, repetitive and sometimes contradictory facts and a dodgy timeline. Overall a heartwarming story though.
3.5 ⭐ ...more
Lesley Halliday
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book had a lovely storyline with some history included would recommend
Aoife Mcgoldrick
Great read, a tear jerker but a great story and wonderful characters
Rachel Muumbo
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such an interesting story, I couldn't put the book down.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW!! What a powerful novel, a fascinating read of a story that ran across the generations and enduring love brought bang up to date.

There were some surprises but read the book and be startled!

Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely amazing story wonderful characters i was totally lost in it. The authors death is a sad loss
Claire Hill
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing

This is the first book I have read by this author, I'm so glad I requested this book to review and now look forward to reading more from this author .

In this story which has three stories running along side and the cross over many times throughout the book which is one of the things I loved most about the book. We meet Clara who is in her eighths and is going strong who's family is falling apart at the seems , Max her son walked out twenty years ago and has never looked back and moving to the U.
Rachel Gilbey
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Secrets We Share had me hooked from chapter 2, I was already hooked emotionally and throughout this book there has been elements of deep emotional connection with the characters.

This is also a book where there are a lot of secrets hidden within a singular family, however due to the fact that they are secrets, I am no t at liberty to divulge what they are, but would recommend diving into The Secrets We Share instead, to find them out yourself.

What I am willing to say is this is a beautiful
Amanda - Go Book Yourself
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: irish, contemporary
Review also posted on my blog:

A review copy was provided by Hachette is return for an honest review

Emma Hannigan has a real talent for sucking you in and really making you feel for the people she rights about. They don't feel like fictional characters. They feel like real people.

An event has torn the Conway family apart. An event so jarring that it sent her son half way across the world never to be heard from again.

Max has his own life now. He is a succe
Celeste Ní raois
Thanks to I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.....

Meet Clara Conway, an 80 year old lady who has been a very successful businesswoman, a loving wife and mother but in turn has a few secrets that she hopes can be kept that way. Her family is falling apart, her son Max emigrated to the US years ago where his abrupt disappearance left the Conway family heartbroken and she has yet to meet her teenage granddaughter Nathalie, because Max and his mother no longe
Sally Coles
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clara had been estranged from her son Max for 20 years after he left the family home in Ireland and went to the States after a row. Now 80 and a widow Clara decides that she must try and make amends before it is too late and so hires a private detective to track him down.

When she discovers that she has a 17 year old granddaughter Clara decides to write to her and invite her to stay. The letter is opened by Amber Max's wife and as Nathalie is going through a crisis and off the rails she decides
May 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-publisher
Originally posted on

I really don’t know how I feel about this book. It was an okay story, but a large part of the book is about a family who keep secrets from each other. However I couldn’t help but be frustrated by this. Why couldn’t this family just talk to each other rather than keep so many secrets, literally most of this book would not have happened if they had taken the time and used their words.

Not only that but the characters reactions to these secrets were so over t
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Emma Hannigan was an Irish author and blogger, best known for writing about her experience of suffering from cancer.

With a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, Hannigan's mother and maternal aunt tested positive for the responsible gene, BRCA1. She also received a 'positive' result in August 2005, which carries an 85% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. In 2