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The Secret

The Secret
Kerry O’Brien has a hot new boyfriend! Yay!

His name is Tommy. He’s a biker and he’s gorgeous. He seems to like me too. He makes me feel good about myself and it’s been a long time since anyone has paid me that much attention. I also have a monster for a stepfather.

But I’m scared. I'm scared Bill will find out about Tommy and scared Tommy will find out about Bill. Tommy has a temper and he’s very protective of me. If he ever found out my secret, I think he would kill Bill.

He started again last night. Jodie and I hid under the bed. I don’t want him to ever touch her. Secrets like mine are only whispered about. But the bruises are getting harder to cover and I know once Tommy finds out the truth, I'll lose him. I just can’t let that happen.
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Best Book Bit:

In the afternoon, Mum, Jodie and I went to the park for a while and Jodie played on the swings. Mum covered her face with powder so the bruise could hardly be seen now.

We were going to the shops, which were closed on a Sunday, but Mum’s friend, Mrs Kirby, lived in the flat above Seymour Meads, our local grocery shop. She was going to get some potatoes and chicken for tea. It would be really nice to have a proper meal, although I was suspicious of Bill handing over money like that.

“I’m really grateful, Bea,” Mum said, as Jodie and I looked behind the counter, a place we never normally got to see.

“Y’know I don’t mind, but keep it to yourself as I don’t want Mr Horsefall knowing that I come down when the shop is shut.”

“Oh no, I wouldn’t tell anyone. You hear that girls? It’s a secret.”

“Good, don’t want everyone knowing our business,” she said, as me and Jodie nodded. Who would we tell anyway?

“Can I have some sweets?” Jodie asked as Mum rooted around in her bag for her purse.

“We’ll see.” That was Mum’s stock answer for everything. I was looking at the till rolls under the counter and the little tin box with bits of paper in it, and a pen lying next to it on the shelf. There were a couple of pennies, too. I suddenly realised everything had gone quiet and I looked up.

The colour had drained from Mum’s face as she stared into her purse. She looked like she was about to cry.

Oh God, he’d done it again! Bea looked sympathetic and alarmed at the same time.

I dug into my pocket and produced the fiver that was going to see me through next week and thrust it at her.

“I’ll pay you back, I promise,” she said looking so grateful. I wanted to cry, too.

We walked home in silence with the full shopping bag. Jodie skipped ahead oblivious to the way we were feeling. I was really angry but tried not to show it. It wasn’t Mum’s fault. Being gullible wasn’t a fault, was it?

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Ribbon Reviews for The Secret:
(These are similar to our Bookworm reviews, but they are
not submitted by our in-house reviewers. Each Ribbon Review corresponds to the matching color of our Bookworm reviews.)


I was given a complimentary copy of this book, and I am giving my honest review of this title. The Secret by author Karen Mossman is spectacular in it’s simplicity. I was instantly surprised at how this book captured me. I was pulled into the story. Kerry is an ordinary girl with a boring life, and a tool for a boyfriend.

The story starts out in turmoil and quickly develops into a full fledged drama of Kerry’s life. She has a mother that seems to be blind to everything, a young sister who she loves and protects, and a stepfather, Bill who together with his slimy friend make Kerry’s life miserable. Keeping the truth from everyone in her life about her home life, both past and present was an inner turmoil that Kerry had to face. Combine the home life with the want and need for true love, something she has never experienced until Tommy walks through the door, and you have every element for a great story.

I believe that in true life situations most “victims” would keep these things to themselves as Kerry did. Most victims find themselves alone and scared, not knowing what “they” did to deserve such things to happen to them.

I felt for Kerry instantly, the descriptions and characterizations are wonderfully done. Karen Mossman took a difficult subject and delicately wove the story together beautifully. I read this book in one sitting. Yes it is a story of under 150 pages but it is the way it is written that takes you away. I have read many books, short and long. Some I wanted to throw out after the first 10 pages, and some were torturous to get through at all. This book was a pleasure to read. I would give it a 5+ review!

I would recommend this title to 16 and up. Yes, there are some touchy areas within the book but I personally feel that these “touchy” areas should be openly discussed at a young age with young men and woman.









Submitted by Margaret Daly


I don’t think I’m going to be able to find the words to say how much I enjoyed this book. Not sure what to expect, as it was recommended to me by a friend, from the very first page, I was hooked. For a start, it’s based in the UK, which is a nice change from the US or an alternative, dystopian world, and furthermore was set in the seventies, an era I have rosy, childhood memories of, so the whole tone, language and music which featured throughout felt nostalgically familiar.

This book is by an independent author, and I’m always a little concerned as to what the quality of the writing is going to be, to say nothing of the spelling, punctuation, grammar and even formatting. Having suffered through books that should have been written in crayon, they were so full of childish spelling mistakes, to books where the author clearly didn’t have the first clue about how to format, I really have seen it all. I needn’t have worried. The formatting was exactly as it should be, the punctuation was all present and correct, and there wasn’t a single spelling mistake to be found.

So, technically it’s perfect, but what about the writing itself? I’m happy to report that this too was top rate. Using a crisp and pacy style, the writer is clearly one very talented lady, and her skill shines through each and every word. Her characters are instantly believable and three dimensional, and you really suffer along with her main character, Kerry. Guessing what her terrible Secret is fairly early on in the book, you’d have to have a heart made of stone, not to sympathise with her predicament.

I became so caught up in the story, I found myself becoming angry with the mother character, talking out loud and even slamming down my kindle in exasperated fury at one point – this is always a sign of a truly gripping book with me.

Overall, a gripping and extremely well-written novel which I thoroughly recommend, and I will certainly be looking to read some more from this author.

Julia Drake


What a truly great read this was, I was drawn in from the very first page. I loved getting to know the main character of Kerry who was very well portrayed. In fact all of the characters were brilliantly written.

I also couldn't help but fall in love with Tommy, he sounded like a great guy and I certainly wouldn't have minded riding on the back of his motorbike that's for sure.

The whole book was brilliantly written and thought out. The story dealt with some very difficult situations of a sensitive nature which I thought the author weaved into the story perfectly.

This is my second book I've read of this author and I'm already looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.

This book is listed as a romantic suspense novel, but to me it is a tender coming-of-age story about a young Irish lass named Kerry. Not only is it a coming-of-age story, it is now one of my favorite books in this genre.

Coming of age stories tell the transition of a child into an adult. While we meet Kerry when she is the age of a young adult, her sweet, earnest ways make her seem like a younger person. “I remembered that life was innocent and simple. It was just the people who soured it.”

It is the 1970’s and Kerry lives with her mother, step-sister, and step-father in Manchester, England. Kerry and her Mom were originally from Ireland, but came to live with Bill after Kerry’s father died. At the beginning of the book, it seems as if Kerry has an ordinary life with a job and boring boyfriend. But the reader will soon become aware that Kerry has a secret.

At least, Kerry thinks it’s her secret. I’m sure that most readers and all those around her, including her friends, her new love Tommy and his family have a good idea of what is troubling her. Her attempts to seem “normal” make her even more young, fragile and appealing. Kerry tries so hard to be brave. “No one could know what went on in my house. It was my secret.”

The author give us some meaningful word pictures of Kerry. For example, Tommy sees her as his Snow White, which is also what Kerry’s father had called her. Giving her this fairy-tale quality highlights her as sweet and young. Kerry enjoys running, which can be seen symbolically as her running from her problems. Throughout her story, I was rooting for her to overcome her demons.

“Kerry, you are beautiful, both inside and outside. That’s how you are. That’s how I see you.

Author Mossman writes with an engaging, readable style and has created many other memorable characters including Kerry’s family and Tommy and his friends and family. The story moves forward with lovely scenes that will draw readers in to Kerry’s poignant world. This book is expressive, and moving; even with the seriousness of Kerry’s problem, it is a positive, affirming and tender story.

I highly recommend this book and I would say that this is one of the best books I have read recently. Well-done Ms. Mossman. I‘m so happy that the author has written other books and I look forward to reading them!

I hope the author will forgive me one suggestion- the book cover, while alluring, does not convey the book’s sweet power and charm. If it is possible, I would change the cover, so that readers will know they will be reading a lyrical and moving tale.

The Secret was an interesting story. I didn't know it had sensitive contents in it, but I still read the whole book.

Tommy was my favorite character. He is charming, sweet as hell, and cares deeply for Kerry. She's never told her secret to anyone ... until it happens again and she can't go on living that way anymore and has to tell that secret.

What Kerry went through was horrible and I'm glad Tommy & his Dad "took care of it."

Overall, I did enjoy the story and it had a wonderful ending!

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