Thirty years later, Emma's world is rocked when she is approached by a journalist Mike Bond with an extraordinary revelation: that Fliss was seen in America after she was presumed drowned.
As Emma delves into her mother's past, she begins to unravel of deep, abiding love, loyal friendship, and a disastrous misunderstanding. And the rest of her family are thrown into turmoil. For Fliss is not the only one with secrets long-concealed...
For Felicity Penrose, Fliss to her friends, sailing was her whole life and her life ambition was to sail around the world alongside her best friend Jo. But that dream died the day that she disappeared whilst out sailing, presumed drowned, leaving behind husband Martin and baby daughter Emma.
Years later, Emma is completely shocked when a journalist, Mike, turns up announcing that her mother may not be dead after all as she was reportedly seen alive in America many years ago. Her initial reaction is to discount this as rubbish as it cannot be true, surely her mother wouldn't leave her, but could there be some truth to this rumour that Fliss faked her own death after all?
So she finally decides to call Mike back to try and find out more from him as to why he thinks Fliss may not be dead after all, and soon they're both off to America to do a little digging.
The story swings back and forward between the past and present, between the events that followed that fateful day when Fliss disappeared, and the current day following Emma and Mike's investigations into what really happened. But soon the secrets start tumbling out and it's soon apparent that more people were involved than she initially thought, some closer than she could have possibly imagined...
Once she realises that her mother might be alive after all, Emma hopes to finally meet her although she's worried the impact this will have on her dad and Auntie Maggie as she realises this would have a major impact on their lives. Maggie had always been in love with Martin herself but had had to ignore her own feelings when he married her sister, but after Fliss was declared legally dead, they finally were in a position to marry and she'd brought up Emma as if she were her own child.
I have to confess I didn't warm to Fliss at all, I thought she was selfish thinking only of herself, and not really thinking about the impact her disappearance will have on those she left behind. I know that it was her emotions, particularly depression, that played their part but what mother could leave behind her baby, even if it wasn't her intention for it to be forever, and just disappear.
Overall this was an enjoyable book to read but that being said I have to say that I did find some of the scenarios a little too far-fetched, and more than likely improbable, but I know that this is simply a work of fiction so creative license has been used.
I'd like to thank Headline for sending me a copy of The Secret She Kept to review.