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The Secrets She Keeps
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Archives > July 2018-Final Thoughts-**Spoilers Allowed**- The Secrets she Keeps

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message 1: by Phrynne, Series Queen! (new) - rated it 4 stars

Phrynne | 12269 comments Mod
Final thoughts (and reviews if you like) on The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham


message 2: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brenda | 72218 comments Mod
He writes a good story, Mr Robotham :)


message 3: by Li'l Owl (last edited Jul 04, 2018 12:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

 Li'l Owl | 2504 comments Just finished this one on audiobook! I enjoyed it very much! https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

There are a few things that troubled me, though.
When the police were at Agatha's house, they didn't ask to see the baby? It's the biggest missing baby case? Wasn't baby Ben's photo on the TV? So how did Hadan not see that Rory is Ben right from the beginning and especially when he started to ask questions?
How is it that no one recognizes that baby Rory is baby Ben when they're at the candle light vigil. The press have Hadan hold the baby up for a photo, still no one recognizes him? Even Meghan, who looked at him enough to say he was beautiful but didn't recognize her own missing son??

Did this seem odd to anyone else?

It also seemed way, way too easy for Agatha to take him from the hospital. I don't know about the UK but here in the US, every newborn has an electronic box connected to thier umbilical cord that sets of alarms and locks doors and elevators if an infant get even close to them on the floor. This has been standard way back the early to mid 2000's, at least in all the newborn nurseries and mother baby floors I worked in. There are also strict instructions given to parents of newborns about not allowing anyone with the proper ID badges specifically given to only employees who work directly with the babies.
Anyway, all that aside, as it is fiction, I pushed it out of my mind and just enjoyed the story.
It was a very exciting and tension filled book and I loved it!


Caroline Duncan | 13 comments I have never heard of the electrical box thing. I’ve had two babies in a major Melbourne maternity hospital in the mid 00s and another one in a private regional hospital in 2012. Never offered it there either. It might be a US thing.


message 5: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brenda | 72218 comments Mod
Michael Robotham is an Australian author Caroline :)


 Li'l Owl | 2504 comments Caroline wrote: "I have never heard of the electrical box thing. I’ve had two babies in a major Melbourne maternity hospital in the mid 00s and another one in a private regional hospital in 2012. Never offered it t..."

That's interesting, Caroline. When babies are brought to mom or taken to the nursery, the ID bands that match baby and mom have to be verified by the person who's moving baby each time and if the parent isn't comfortable with the person taking the baby they can refuse to let them take him/her. Did they have that?
Did you get specific instructions on what ID the nurses have or that no one can carry an infant in thier arms, including parents? Here, the babies can only be moved in their little beds. What safety measures did the hospitals have where you were?
Do you think attempts for kidnapping infants from hospitals is more common in the US?


message 7: by Caroline (last edited Jul 05, 2018 09:57PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Caroline Duncan | 13 comments Brenda wrote: "Michael Robotham is an Australian author Caroline :)"

Yes but the book was set in the UK, where he appears to have lived for quite a while, and Li'l Owl was comparing what happens in the US to what happened in the book.


Li'l Owl wrote: " When babies are brought to mom or taken to the nursery, the ID bands that match baby and mom have to be verified by the person who's moving baby each time and if the parent isn't comfortable with the person taking the baby they can refuse to let them take him/her. Did they have that?
Did you get specific instructions on what ID the nurses have or that no one can carry an infant in thier arms, including parents?"


Yes we had the ID bracelet system. Also the little clear cribs that you wheel them about in. I had three c-sections and found wheeling those things to be easier than carrying the baby. I don't specifically recall there being a ban on physically carrying the infants. I have a feeling that my husband, who was walking much better than me, was able to walk around with the babies to soothe/settle them. That bit is foggy though!

I had an issue with a woman following me to appointments at the hospital while I was pregnant with my first baby (I wish I was joking) We found out she was following me after she had tried to tell my husband she had called up the hospital pretending to be me and had access to my medical records. I naturally freaked out. Long story short, I kicked up a huge stink, there was an investigation, and when I went in to have the baby there were instructions left with staff that she was to be banned from the ward if she tried to "visit". To the best of my knowledge that didn't happen. She wasn't quite an Agatha though, just a toxic person.


 Li'l Owl | 2504 comments Yikes!! That's very scary, Caroline! I'm glad nothing happened!

I seem to remember that we had a similar situation where a woman had stolen some hospital scrubs and was been seen multiple times trying to do what Agatha did by telling the parents that the baby needed tests, or something. Apparently she had had a still birth and wasn't coping. We had her picture posted everywhere so that all staff and parents knew what she looked like. I'm sure this was long before many of the security measures were implemented in hospitals, late 1980's early 1990's.
I didn't explain the clear crib rule very well. Yes, the family can carry the baby around in the room only and not in the halls, that way if someone is seen walking away with a bany their arms it's more obvious and hopefully they would be stopped. When their released to go home, Mom's with new babies have to be escorted all the way to the car by a nurse. There have been instances where a mom or dad gets attacked in the lobby or the parking lot! I always stayed with the parents and baby until the baby was strapped in and they were all ready to drive away. It's terribly sad that we need to do this but there it is.
Thanks for sharing your experience with me!


Valerie (nicehotcupoftea) | 766 comments I did enjoy this book, and although I didn't like the characters at the start, I found that I was empathising with both of the women. The scene where Agatha looked at her naked body in the mirror and I learned that she wasn't pregnant, was particularly sad.
No idea of security procedures in UK hospitals, so I can't comment on whether an abduction would be possible, but Agatha's method was intriguing to read.
I did find it a bit surprising that the baby wasn't recognised at the vigil, but this didn't bother me too much.


 Li'l Owl | 2504 comments Valerie wrote: "I did enjoy this book, and although I didn't like the characters at the start, I found that I was empathising with both of the women. The scene where Agatha looked at her naked body in the mirror a..."

I was surprised that Meghan didn't recognize him at the vigil, too, Valerie But I really enjoyed the book!


message 11: by Gail (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gail (gailtc) | 2 comments This book did remind me of the girl on the train- as mentioned by others. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the challenges of modern lives. The consequences of child abuse, including the inability of our society to help people, and the continuing consequences and impact on those affected peoples is concerning. Some other issues that emerge include: mental heath issues, infertility, issues in marital relationship, the changing roles and expectations of family members in modern life. The book tries to tackle a lot, and compassion is at the fore.


Steve Maxwell (goodreadscomstevem) A great story, a thrilling page turner and one of those books you have trouble putting down. The story was simple and the characters complex and likeable. Very hard to find fault with this one.


message 13: by PattyMacDotComma (last edited Jul 13, 2018 04:19AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

PattyMacDotComma | 2508 comments I enjoyed it very much. Both women had plenty of balls to juggle, thinking their lives would be destroyed if they dropped one.

I did think the fake pregnancy went on for too long. As soon as she started mining information from Meghan and hankering after her life, I was pretty sure she was faking it.

I found it hard to believe Hayden would become so loving and loyal to Agatha by the end of the book, though. I could understand his being besotted with a baby while he thought it was his, but after lie upon lie upon lie from Agatha, who, exactly, did he think he was in love with?

As for the baby-snatching, Agatha did have it pretty well planned. She was wearing the right uniform and only Jack was there when she picked up the baby. She hid him under her arm as soon as she left the room, so nobody suspected she had a baby until they were investigating later.

At the church, we're told the baby's face was mostly hidden in the folds of Hayden's shirt because he was carrying Rory/Ben in a sling on his chest. I think "admiring" the baby was just something said by rote, not because anyone could see him.

The Simon story and the switching of the DNA swabs was a good diversion, and it's always fun to leave some doubt.

I have no idea what restrictions are in place these days in any country. What a pretty pass things have come to, eh? It's either alarms and electronics or home water births, it seems!

I did write a review. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Heather | 361 comments I enjoyed this immensely such a clever author. This is the second book I have read of his. This one the "typical" (successful ) modern English thriller. The other one I read was the "typical" American action thriller.


message 15: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob | 344 comments As I say in my review " After reading The Secrets She Keeps I am so glad that my life is so boringly mediocre". Five minutes in either of these girls shoes and I would have been certifiable.
There is no getting away from it Michael Robotham knows how to spin a tale.


message 16: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brenda | 72218 comments Mod
He certainly does Rob :)


PattyMacDotComma | 2508 comments Rob wrote: "As I say in my review " After reading The Secrets She Keeps I am so glad that my life is so boringly mediocre". Five minutes in either of these girls shoes and I would have been cer..."

I agree, Michael. I just watched a recent interview with him where he said he doesn’t plot his books. He just starts and sees where the characters take him. As he said, you remember the characters long after you’ve forgotten the plot. But I reckon how he gets them into a pickle and then finds a way to extricate them takes a lot of talent!


message 18: by Lee at ReadWriteWish (last edited Jul 19, 2018 03:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee at ReadWriteWish (leeatreadwritewish) | 262 comments On people's comments re the hospital security: There's certainly not much security in Queensland hospitals! My first born's wristband fell off because she was too little. LOL. I had my babies in my room with me the whole time. Any tests carried out would be carried out in front of the parents, I'd say, so Jack was gullible in this respect. I believe there's still nurseries in the US (I don't know of any hospitals with nurseries in them around here), so perhaps you'd need some sort of security for these areas. (Even though my 'babies' are now 15 and 12, I unfortunately ended up in hospital about 2 weeks ago and there was no real security still. Pretty casual up here!)

I adored the reveal that Agatha wasn't pregnant at all. It was somewhat unexpected. Oh, I realised something wasn't particularly right with Agatha, so it all made sense, but it was still written very well. I can't believe they make silicone baby bumps!!!! Who knew?! WTF??!!!

I agree with other comments about Hayden's undying love near the end as being very odd. In the beginning of the book he is trying to get away from Agatha. That is, she was very much acting like a stalker and he was forced into 'facing his responsibilities' by his parents. Then, suddenly, he's in love? It had only been a few days and I couldn't think of one endearing loveable trait she'd been displaying. She'd obviously lied, been an absolute bitch to his sister and turned into an Annie Wilkes swearer in front of his childhood doctor and mother. Yet he was besotted? Weird.

I didn't think anyone would instantly recognise baby Ben at the vigil. However, I did find it odd that no one Agatha or Hayden interacted with commented on who the baby looked like at any time during the book. When you have a baby that's the first thing everyone talks about. "Oh, he has your eyes/ears/chin/etc.'' I kept waiting for Hayden's parents or someone/anyone to bring up who Rory looked like and it never happened.

I was disappointed in the ending, actually. I thought Robotham built the tension wonderfully, especially when Nicky was killed, but then it all fell a little flat. I thought there would be more action towards the end. The DNA scene was a nice twist though.


Lee at ReadWriteWish (leeatreadwritewish) | 262 comments Interesting - I just read the book is based on the real life kidnap of a baby named Alex Griffiths. Her kidnapper sounds even more troubled than Agatha! http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/11...


PattyMacDotComma | 2508 comments Lee wrote: "Interesting - I just read the book is based on the real life kidnap of a baby named Alex Griffiths. Her kidnapper sounds even more troubled than Agatha! http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/11......."

That's interesting, Lee! I just found some good book club ideas on Simon and Schuster's website where they mention the kidnap inspiration also. http://www.simonandschuster.com/books...


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