BOOK CLUB: The Secrets We Keep

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Author: Shirley Patton
ISBN: 9781489246783
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Harlequin – HQ Fiction
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Secrets We Keep is another debut novel by an Australian author and I must say that I find it very exciting to feature debut authors because regardless of the hype they are still very much an unknown quantity.

Shirley Patton has penned a tale of political corruption, family betrayal and dark pasts.

Aimee is a social worker who moves to Kalgoorlie for a fresh start. Her colleagues seem friendly and one of her cases draws her in.

There is a dark secret in Aimee’s past and it soon becomes apparent that her secret connects her with the town and its residents.

I look forward to sinking my teeth into this one and at just on 300 pages I think it will be a pretty quick read, when I finally get to it.

Aimee builds her life in the local community and is left questioning earlier decisions because revealing a secret that isn’t yours alone can have unforeseen fallout.

Shirley Patton can be contacted on Facebook and

The Secrets We Keep is published by HQ Fiction and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HQ Fiction 20 of our Beauty and Lace Members are already reading The Secrets We Keep and you can read what they thought in the comments below. Please be aware there may be spoilers.

17 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Secrets We Keep

  1. The Secrets We Keep by Shirley Patton is an extremely enjoyable read.

    Set in the mid 1980’s when many were beginning to take environmental protection seriously and when racial discrimination against aboriginal people was an issue.

    This story is set in Kalgoorlie an Australian mining town and depicts many issues, environmental, social and cultural.

    Aimee has arrived in Kalgoorlie to work as a social worker. It appears she is running away from something and this tight knit community embrace her and she makes strong friendships with those she works with like Lori who invites her into her large Italian family.

    There is a great mix of characters in this story such as Paddy, Agnes, Jack and as she becomes close to all of them you feel you are right there alongside of her.

    Aimee also becomes close to one of her cases – The Steele family who need a lot of support in the coming months and Aimee is there to help.

    Then Aimee who has a dark secret realises that her past maybe connected to this tiny town.

    This novel is truly a compelling read.

    I congratulate Shirley Patton and await her next novel.

    Thanks to Harlequin and Beauty and Lace

  2. Thankyou to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Enterprises for the opportunity to read The Secrets We Keep.
    Aimee chose a career as a social worker after being helped by a social worker to come to terms with a traumatic event in her past. She moves to Kalgoorlie to make a fresh start. Aimee has buried her own secrets, but they start to surface again as she works in this community. Can she keep her secrets hidden when her new friends read tea leaves!

    The book is set mid 1980’s. As a social worker Aimee is dealing with ” isolated rural community issues”, the treatment of Aboriginal people. Problems within the mining industry and the WA Government.

    The characters surrounding Aimee are interesting and all have their own secrets!

    I recommend this book, it is an enjoyable read.

  3. The Secrets We Keep is a story featuring Aimee who is a social worker starting a new job in Kalgoorlie. As well as settling into the job and making new friends, she is hiding her own secrets. I felt at times the story did not develop as well as it could, the characters were believable but to me the story was a bit flat.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace, and Harlequin books for the opportunity to read this book

  4. This is the story of Aimee a social worker who leaves Perth to start over in Kalgoorlie. She is running away from things that she has buried deep inside.

    In this country town she builds relationships both personal and professional and starts to live her life again. This is a novel of new friends, loyalties,trust and understanding. It is about overcoming obstacles, learning to let go and healing ( for Aimee and the people who welcome her with open arms ). All this is set in the harsh environment of a mining town.

    I loved this book. It was so relatable to real life situations and written in such a way to draw the reader in and about decisions that can make you happy, but can also be morally difficult and bittersweet. I can’t wait for for the next novel by Shirley Patton

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin books for giving me the opportunity to read this novel.

  5. Thanks to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read ‘The Secrets we keep’ by Shirley Patton.

    The story is set in the 1980’s and follows Aimee McCartney’s decision to leave her home in Perth for the mining town of Kalgoorlie. Aimee has secrets and issues from her past and moving to the country is a way of running away. As a social worker Aimee’s new job feels right for her.

    Her work-mates Kerry, Agnes were friendly and welcoming, especially Lori who becomes close to Aimee. She also becomes close to clients Paul and Kerry Steele who are facing challenges of their own.

    She witnesses many of the social injustices of particularly the relocation of the local Indigenous people and impacts of mining company on the community. But there are secrets that are inter-related….

    There are many characters in The Secrets we Keep but It makes for an interesting read! The 1980’s was an interesting tome for social welfare issues in Australia.

  6. Thankyou Beauty And Lace for the opportunity to read Shirley Patton’s debut novel, The Secrets We Keep.

    This story is about main character Aimee, who is escaping from her past and hoping to start fresh in Kalgoorlie.

    In the new town she makes friends with Lori and one of her clients Kerry. She discovers that maybe she hasn’t fully espcaped her past as she gets closer to them..

    The secrets we keep was an easy read which I somewhat enjoyed, but did feel it was lacking a bit in the storyline, I felt that more should have been explained about Aimee’s dark past.

    I really liked Lori and Kerry as well, the rally with Kerry was one of my favourite parts of the book.

    Overall I found this book to be good for anyone who likes an easy read.

    I absolutely love the cover! It is one of my favourite covers of 2018, the colours are just gorgeous.

  7. Firstly I do have to comment on the beautiful cover of the book. With this cover, I was able to visualise the scenery as I was reading along.

    The story mostly follows Aimee McCartney a social worker who leaves her home in W.A. to work out at the Mining town of Kalgoorlie in the 1980s. Clients then become friends as she tried to help people in the community.

    I found when I first started reading, that I did get lost in the amount of characters being thrown at me in the book. Once I separated them and put them in groups, I was able to follow along. There are parts in the book that sort of lost my interest but then there were chapters that I just wanted to keep turning the pages.

    The characters of Paul and Kerry Steel and their gorgeous 12 year old daughter Amber were easy to follow and of course sad in parts.

    The story revolves around lots of secrets but also the injustice relocations of the local indigenous people and also the adoption of children back then.

    Aimee becomes great friends with Lori but there will lots of other characters that she will bond with also.

    A lot of twists and turns in this book to keep you captivated. One of the women in the book comes out as a quiet, weak person and eventually becomes powerful and strong. It amazes me when someone that has had heartache can pull themselves up to great heights.

    In reading this book though, I did find it a bit of a page turner as I wanted to know more about Lee who is not talked much about throughout the book. What was his connection to Aimee?

    I got a surprise towards the end of the book as I did not guess it throughout the book that this would happen.

    All in all it is a good book to read and thank you to Beauty & Lace for another interesting read and of course Harlequin Books.

    I was also interested to read about Maralinga because my dad did a lot of work behind the scenes in helping widows get compensation there but I never knew or took much interest about what it was all about. Thank you Shirley Patton.

  8. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Australia for the opportunity to read The Secrets We Keep by Shirley Patton.

    This book was set in the 1980’s in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. It is somewhere I’ve never been and I was struck by the harshness of the setting, but warmed by the caring of the people.

    Aimee travels to Kalgoorlie to take up a social worker position and seems to be running from her past with a complicated family dynamic. She meets Lori at work and they become friends and she also forms relationships of sorts with some of her clients including Kerry and her daughter Amber who are going through a hard time.

    We get stories on all these ladies and have secondary characters such as Aggie who is helping Lori with read tea leaves and expand into auras and other areas. This was interesting for a different point of view. Jack is a neighbour of Aggie’s who I felt for. There were some other interesting characters from work, Lori’s Italian family and their past.

    I got more involved as the book went on wanting to know more of the stories – the flow went well and was quite true to life on the whole.

    An enjoyable Australian read.

  9. Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to review The Secrets We Keep by Shirley Patton.

    The story is set in the 1980’s in the mining town of Kalgoorlie. Aimee McCartney is the main character, Aimee is a social worker, she became a social worker after a social worker helped her out in the past.

    She comes to Kalgoorlie to make a new start. She fits into the community easily and makes friends but is close to Lori.

    Aimee has to deal with many things in her new community. Including how Aboriginal people are treated and the mining industry.

    I enjoyed the book, it had many interesting characters. It is always great to read an Australian novel. I would recommend it to other readers as you won’t be disappointed.

  10. This was a lovely read. I did have to take my time and concentrate as there were a few key characters to follow. I felt at times I got lost – so not a book I could read with my kids around, haha.
    I enjoyed how each character had thier own life issue going on.
    My favourite character was Kerry, watching her grow during the course of this book was my highlight.
    The tea leaf reading was so interesting too!
    Thanks for the fab read 🙂

  11. Shirley Patton has written a beautiful and confronting story.

    The main characters intertwine to create a beautiful and compelling personal journeys while based in the tough town of Kalgoorlie.

    Aimee, Kathy, Amber, Lori and Paddy provide such a challenging and diverse range of experiences. These people open them selves up to a range of situations and new experiences.

    Stepping outside of the boundaries and comforts of what they have built for themselves to allow them to stay outside of the dramas and confrontations which come from the moments in our pasts which define our futures and the way we deal with the life we have created for ourselves.

    The blossoming of romance between two of the characters creates such a stunning challenge provided by different family backgrounds which meld into such a lovely and welcoming bundle of love, respect and connection.

    Aimee has demons to face. Her move to Kalgoorlie brings these to the surface in more ways than one and ensures that she creates a new future for herself as her past unravels around her. She is a beautifully complex character and her past challenges have created a developing story line which allows you to feel both emotionally involved but also invested in her future and how you see her life panning out.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. Thanks for the chance Beauty and Lace

  12. The Secrets We Keep by Shirley Patton is set in 1980’s Kalgoorie, an Australian country town. It depicted the story of Aimee a social worker, a career she had chosen as a result of a social worker who had assisted her through issues in her past.

    I enjoyed reading this novel, as it addressed social issues from the 1980’s time period in a captivating manner. The book uncovered secrets from Aimee’s past during a tea leaf reading.

    The characters in the book interested me, as they had diverse backgrounds and I was intrigued to find out how their relationships would develop throughout.

    Thank you to Harlequin Publishers and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this compelling novel.

  13. ‘The Secrets We Keep’ is a great Aussie drama, set in WA mining town of Kalgoorlie. It centres around the caring, but sometimes hard to grasp, Aimee who has moved to the small town from the big smoke.

    It took me a little while to get my bearings with this book & to realise it was set in another era, before computers, mobiles & social media.

    I gather the authour Shirley Patton has worked in social services in the past as she seems to have an intimate knowledge of department workings and the clientele they must assist.

    The Steele family (Aimee’s clients) tore at my heartstrings, with young Dad Paul facing certain death with miner’s cancer.

    I loved the way this book was written. It was like a familiar warm blanket, reminiscent of shows like ‘A Country Practice’.

    The Secrets We Keep is a great read & I’ll be looking out for more of Shirley Patton’s work.

  14. Thankyou Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Australia for the opportunity to read this book.
    I Chose this book because the beautiful cover was very captivating.
    The Secrets we Keep was a good easy read with many interesting characters along with their own set of problems and secrets…
    Aimee, the main character and a social worker has moved to an outback mining town set in the 1980’s hopefully to escape her own demons.
    There are many issues ranging from work related health problems to aboriginal degradation along with Aimee having to face up to her own problems…
    Found this book hard to put down.

  15. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book. It was admittedly a slow start for me but I’m happy I stuck with it until the end. I enjoyed the characters lives unfolding and issues being resolved throughout the book. Kerry was one of my favourite characters and her story unfurling and her character grow throughout the book. I also very much liked the tea leaf reading. The book addressed social and family issues amongst a few others. It was lovely to read about a mining family especially having a background in Mining myself. I look forward to reading more books from this author in the future,

  16. The Secrets We Keep written by Australian author Shirley Patton is set in the 80s. Aimee the lead is a social worker who relocated to Kalgoorlie to start over, she became a social worker after one helped her through her own traumatic past but as she begins her life in Kalgoorlie her secrets begin to surface. A novel filled with more than just Aimee’s secrets that are surfacing the storyline is written brilliantly.

  17. The secrets we keep was a very enjoyable read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed the 80’s theme and as the book progressed I enjoyed it more, it is very well written and I would recommend it!

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