“Little Secrets” by Jennifer Hillier

Genre:  Mystery & ThrillerLittle Secrets
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
Pub. Date:  April 21, 2020


The story is a decent read regarding a young child’s abduction. It could have been a very good read. It is written as a mystery. This makes sense because when the child is kidnapped and there is no ransom note what else can it be other than a mystery? But, the story is written basically as a thriller with all sorts of twists. (I guess I should have looked at the cover). This is where the author lost me. Other ARC reviewers seem to love this book. I guess I should have paid more attention to the genre. I thought I was reading a family tragedy story, not a twisty tale. Still, the author did a good job regarding the heartbroken parents, especially the mother’s overwhelming pain and guilt. The missing-child support group scenes are very well written. You can feel just how brutal it must be to not know if your child is dead or alive.  It is these scenes that I found fascinating, not the mixing of genres. But if you want a Jillian Flynn read then this is the book for you.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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“Claiming Noah” by Amanda Ortlepp

Publication Date:  July 5, 2016

Publisher:  FaithWords

A couple begins an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF ) program.  After three miscarriages the wife has a successful pregnancy and gives birth to a beautiful baby boy.  The parents are ecstatic.   They decide to donate their last unused embryo.   Another couple is on a waiting list to receive an embryo.  They are overjoyed when they receive the first couple’s donation and are able to adopt the embryo.  This mother also gives birth to a beautiful baby boy.

Now what can go wrong with this scenario?  The book touches on so many themes that it hurts the story, which is supposed to be about a court custody case questioning who the real parents are, the biological or the legal ones?  We read about; religious restrictions, class differences, unhappy marriages, new romances, a child kidnapping as well as a fascinating and extremely disturbing postpartum mood disorder that can turn into a psychosis. (I do not suggest reading this book if you are expecting but if you must the author makes it clear that this is not the usual “baby blues” that most new moms can experience.)

I felt the book would have read better if it focused solely on the controversial child custody battle about the two biological brothers.  In that matter this tale isn’t all that different from the book “Losing Isaiah” by Seth Margolis, in other words, a real tear jerker.  Your heart will break for both mothers as they both feel in their hearts’ that they are the “real” mom.