Book Club: Secrets Between Friends

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Author: Fiona Palmer
ISBN: 9780733636998
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Fiona Palmer is another talented Western Australian author spreading her typing fingers into a new genre. She is the author of eight rural novels, of which I have read not enough, and a four book young adult series and her latest release is a contemporary women’s fiction.

Regardless of genre Palmer writes a captivating story with engaging characters you can’t help but invest yourself in. Secrets Between Friends sees high school friends Ricki, Abbie and Jess decide to take a short cruise together. It’s a mini high school reunion to Albany, the scene of a school excursion. What was supposed to be a mini girls getaway never quite makes it off the ground when they are joined by Peter, the final member of their friendship quartet.

The four friends are now in their late-twenties and though they are still close they don’t see one another as often as they would like. Their friendship is built on a long history of sharing their lives and their thoughts, and keeping no secrets. But in the end, can any of us say we keep no secrets?

Secrets Between Friends is told in a tri-perspective style that keeps you flipping chapters long past bedtime because you need to find out what happens next for each of the characters.

The story is about secrets so I don’t want to be the one to spill them, or they wouldn’t be secrets anymore. The problem with secrets is that they don’t usually stay secrets… and even if you are keeping them for the noblest of reasons they will come back to bite someone. As readers we are let in on most of the secrets right from the beginning, but the biggest secret… that one is kept even from us.

Ricki, Abbie and Jess have all left school and established their lives and their careers, they seem to have it all and should be happy.

Jess is a primary school teacher and single mother living in a small town with her son. She has moved away from her family and friends for a fresh start, and much as she misses them she’s happy and settling in.

Early on we learn that there is a lot more to Jess than she has ever shared with the world. Her childhood was rough and it taught her to keep a lot of things close to her chest. Her friends know a little, but not everything, and that’s the way she likes it.

Abbie loves her job in real estate but she has a mutually grating relationship with her new boss. She thought she had it all but before she even boards the ship she is left feeling lost at sea.

Ricki is a dedicated nurse who has always been a nurturer, her dreams have always involved exploring that nurturing side but when life takes a different path do you reassess your dreams or end up stagnating in a routine you never had planned.

One of the biggest issues Ricki faced was that she wasn’t sure where to turn for an objective ear. Who do you talk to about your relationship when your boyfriend is the last member of your friendship quartet and as close to your best friends as you are?

Secrets Between Friends is a touching, and heart breaking, story of love, loyalty, chasing your dreams and the bonds of friendship that bend but never break. It’s about the sacrifices we sometimes make for the happiness of those we love.

Secrets Between Friends was the third emotionally challenging book I picked up in a row. It was a story that had me by the heart strings from early on, not necessarily because it was sad but due to the bonds between this group of friends. These friends who mean the world to each other, who always thought they could share anything… are all feeling extremely alone with the biggest issues they are facing. They know they have each other, they are there for each other, they share so much of themselves with each other…. yet they feel they are alone, or they choose to be alone, in the biggest challenges they face.

Palmer writes strong, relatable and empathetic characters. We are drawn into their lives, and their issues, and regardless of what was going on I felt for all of them. I wanted to be that shoulder they felt they needed to help them process what was going on.

Secrets Between Friends deals with love, loss, friendship, friends to lovers, betrayal, adultery, drugs and family violence; there is also sun, sand and cocktails. The strongest theme is friendship, the ones that are there through the years and are strong enough to withstand the toughest tests.

This is a book I would unreservedly recommend and one that cements Fiona Palmer further into my favourites list, and reminds me I need to go and chase up the ones I’ve missed. I look forward to more contemporary works and a further spreading of her typing fingers.

Thanks Fiona, and may we all find friendships like the one shared by Abbie, Ricki, Jess and Peter. Often in novels there are couples that have us wishing for a partner like the hero, or a romance like the lead couple. Fiona Palmer will leave readers hoping for a friendship like these friends share.

Secrets Between Friends is book #36 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.

You can find Fiona on Facebook, Twitter, her Website and Goodreads.

Secrets Between Friends is published by Hachette Australia and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Hachette Australia 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Secrets Between Friends so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below. I can’t wait to read what they thought.

20 thoughts on “Book Club: Secrets Between Friends

  1. Thank You Beauty and Lace and Hachette for the opportunity to read and review Fiona Palmers latest Book called Secrets between Friends.
    Wow I love this book I could relate to the characters and their secrets that they have hidden from each other in fear of hurting their friendships and ruining their holiday together. A lot of laughter and tears throughout this book but enjoyed it immensely could not put it down. I would highly recommend it to everyone.

  2. Secret between friends by Fiona Palmer was a very easy and enjoyable read. The novel was based on 4 friends who have grown up together and decided to take a cruise together. What starts off as a simple cruise ends up complicating or changing each and every one of them. I cried and laughed with this story and I highly recommend it.

  3. Thankyou to beauty and Lace, Fiona Palmer and Hachette for the chance of reading this book early. It is a book I was so excited to read from one of my all time favourite authors and it did not disappoint!
    Secrets between friends had me captivated from the very start! I literally couldn’t put it down and ended up reading the whole book in two sittings!
    I loved the idea of the cruise for the friends. All so similar but going through their own different battles.
    I felt connected to Abbie, Rikki and Jess from the start.
    Rikki was trying very hard to live a life she didn’t want to live for the sake of doing the “right thing” Although I disagreed with some of her choices, I warmed to her character and felt sorry for her.
    Jess- probably my fave character, so strong in everything she was doing/had done regardless of the outcome of her choices. I did get a huge surprise to find who her sons father was!
    The part with her brother was a real heartstopper, I couldn’t read fast enough to see what happened next! It was interesting to see the party of her brother the ice addict, as its such a part of society in our lives now, but not often written about.
    Abbie- I never expected that ending. I thought Abbie would be ok and take off with the doctor happily ever after. Although very surprised I liked the ending.
    I loved this book. So different to Fiona’a other books, but as usual so perfectly written! I hope Fiona thinks about writing more contemporary woman’s fiction like this book. I loved it, and it’s in my top 5 reads for 2017!
    Thankyou again for the opportunity to read this book!

  4. Fiona Palmer is one of my favorite authors so of course I loved this book. Such a wonderful story. I couldn’t put it down!

  5. ‘Secrets Between Friends’ by Fiona Palmer, is a beautiful story of friendship and love.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and literally couldn’t put it down . I wanted to know what would happen next.
    It is a story of three best friends, Jess, Abbie and Ricki who decide to go on a cruise to celebrate their ten year reunion. The girls friend and Ricki’s partner Peter also tags along.
    It is during this cruise that the ‘Secret’ that each one has been keeping from the other comes out.
    I loved how each chapter was an alternating perspective of each character, giving us a closer insight into their thoughts, feelings and perception of things.
    ‘Secrets Between Friends’ is an amazing book and an emotional read.
    Thank you Fiona Palmer, Beauty and Lace and Hatchette Australia for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

  6. Thank you to Beauty and Lace, Fiona Palmer and Hachette for the chance of reading this book, especially before it was released, felt very privileged!
    I hadn’t read a Fiona Palmer book before so wasn’t sure what to expect but what can I say other than, I loved it! I really struggled to put it down each night and was disappointed when I finished it I was enjoying it so much!
    I really enjoyed the storyline of 3 best friends (plus a boyfriend whom is also integral to the story) embarking on a cruise to recreate a trip they took 10 years previously. The girls were all really interesting characters that were described well so were easy to relate too and I found I liked all of them. I was really interested to read about their secrets and how these secrets can build up and potentially destroy friendships and lives.
    This book had me smiling, sympathising and crying. A terrific read that had me guessing to the end. 5 stars!

  7. Thank you to the Beauty and Lace Book club for giving me the opportunity to read and review the fantastic book Secret Between Friends by Fiona Palmer.

    This is the story of 3 young women who have been best friends since school. They all have very different lives and have some secrets that they have kept from each other to keep their friendship alive. There are some very happy moments and sad ones to in the book which I thoroughly enjoyed. I found it to be a page turner and very easy to read.

    I am so happy to have now discovered a fantastic Australian author in Fiona Palmer and will be reading some of her other books in the future.

  8. I really enjoyed Secrets Between Friends. It was the first of Fiona Palmer’s books that I have read but it won’t be the last!

    I must admit I thought this would be a light hearted chick lit type read and whilst it was that at times, there were definitely deeper, darker undertones and threads. These were characters who weren’t just dealing with who to date or what shoes went with their outfit.

    And in a slight spoiler, not everyone got their happy ever after with all their troubles wrapped up like a sitcom!

    My thanks to Beauty and Lace and to Hachette for the chance to read and review this book.

  9. I really enjoyed reading this book.. Fiona Palmer has written it well and I enjoyed the lightness of it. Definitely refreshing for a read. The cruise itself makes you feel like you are there as it is written! Would definitely recommend this book to other after something great to read!

  10. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read another enjoyable read. This time it was Secrets Between Friends by Fiona Palmer.
    A gorgeous, easy to read book about 4 friends who take a cruise together. It’s the perfect mix of chic lit romance and gentle mystery.
    I actually read this whilst on a cruise myself and it was the perfect holiday read. Highly recommended by me and also by my Mum and sister in law who also devoured it on our trip!

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