Book Review: The Secret-Keeper’s Daughter

Some secrets are best left buried…

Samantha King ~ The Secret Keeper’s Daughter


Holly Mayhew has the perfect family set-up. But when her seven-year-old daughter, Marley, begins to act strangely, refusing to speak and rushing off to hide in her room, she knows something isn’t right.

Desperate to understand why Marley has become so withdrawn, Holly creates a worry box, where Marley posts her thoughts each day. At first, the messages seem innocent. But when Holly finds a note saying secrets make me sad, she begins to question everyone entrusted with her care… Including her family.

Holly’s past is shrouded in a mystery of its own, and Marley’s notes trigger memories of her own childhood – full of muted conversations and locked doors. To help her daughter, Holly must first confront her fears. But with a whole life built on lies, the secrets threaten everything she thought she knew. 


A lot of books these days claim to have big reveals and shock twists, yet they’re always disappointing. But The Secret-Keeper’s Daughter by Samantha King kept me guessing (and second guessing).

It plays out in a way that seems really dark and twisted, but I refused to believe my suspicions were true. I assumed the author wanted me to suspect certain people of certain things, so felt smug that I wasn’t falling for it. But as the story continued, I doubted myself. Again. And again. I kept changing my mind about which characters I trusted, which were hiding things and which were telling the truth. This is what I want in a book! I was hooked and read it in one sitting, way past my bedtime.

Characters are well-written and engaging, forcing you to change your view of them continuously. Are they evil, good, or just misunderstood? But maybe they are evil… or just mischievous? Ultimately none of them (except Holly maybe) were at all what I thought. I did guess one of the twists, but it didn’t detract from the story because there were so many I did not expect.

Holly is a loveable and pitiable character, torn between family and friends and trying to make sense of her own childhood, as well as daughter Marley’s. Marley’s perception of events is staggering and yet so believable, it really made the story. While we see the world through Holly’s eyes, we forget what it is to be a child and how things seem very different to how they really are.

A few readers have said the book confused them but I disagree and found it very easy to follow. This book is unique and engaging, with strong characters and plenty of twists, turns and shocks. It’s one that really surprised me, and I look forward to reading more of King’s books.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I was provided with an advanced copy by NetGalley. All opinions my own.

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