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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Secret She Kept

ISBN: 9781837560684

Publisher: Inkubator Books

Publication Date: 12/13/2022

Format: e-book

My Rating: 3.5 Stars (ARC)

(rounded to 4 stars)

There are some things you just don’t see coming. Like Nadia.

Ruth feels like she’s living the dream. She is happily married to the love of her life, Cameron, and she is deeply fulfilled in her work - running the wellness center that grew out of their shared vision.

But something feels off to Ruth about a new client, Nadia. She asks so many probing and personal questions about Ruth’s life. It feels intrusive to the point where Ruth asks the young woman to leave.

But Nadia isn’t going anywhere.

Because she knows far more about Ruth than she let on. In fact, she knows everything about Ruth’s past, including the dark secret Ruth thought was locked forever inside her own heart.

Now, Nadia is blackmailing Ruth, putting her under unbearable stress. Ruth can’t get rid of Nadia – who has inserted herself into the family home - but she has no way to get the money Nadia is demanding without Cameron finding out. And if Cameron discovers what happened all those years ago, she knows she’ll lose him forever.

Ruth feels utterly trapped, on the brink of losing everything that matters to her. And she begins to wonder just what she is willing to do to protect… the secret she kept.

The Secret She Kept - the gripping psychological thriller from the best-selling author of The Other Couple and The Guest.

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My Review

"Dark secrets, blackmail, obsession, and revenge. Spine-tingling—an addictive tale of domestic suspense."

Cathryn Grant's latest twisty psychological thriller, THE SECRET SHE KEPT features a woman with a massive secret (yes, it is a big one) from when she was fifteen years old. Now her worst nightmare has come true.

How far will Ruth go to protect the secret she kept?

Set in California, we meet Ruth, married to Cameron (for twelve years), and the Second Chance Wellness Center owners. They have a beautiful home, and life is grand. Ruth's mother lives in the idyllic cottage behind their house and grounds.

Until the day Nadia Fairchild walks into the center. She is not as she appears. From this day one, she has interjected herself in every facet of Ruth's life. Her friends, family, business, and her home.

She will not leave. She knows what happened when Ruth was 15 years old. (22 years ago). Ruth cannot confide in Cameron. It would destroy them. Nadia has demanded $50K in blackmail. However, if she gets the money, will she leave?

What comes next is a multi-layered dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. Is Nadia a murderer? Has she killed before for revenge?

We hear from POVs Ruth and Nadia, past and present.

Readers will despise Nadia and her manipulation and childish behavior. Also, Micah (Cameron's Dad) and his wife, Deanne, were selfish, privileged, and disgusting. Even Ruth's mom was in denial. You feel for Nadia, her past, and her lack of support from her mom. (even though she makes poor choices, but finally gets a backbone by the end).

The author pulls out one shocking twist after another in this multi-layered labyrinth of dark secrets and lies.

Grant weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

My first book by this author, and even though I was glued to the pages, a few things bothered me, which kept me from giving this one a higher rating.

~Too much drama and emphasis with Justine/Kellyn. This made the book drag. I would have preferred to leave this part out of the story. It did not add to the story. I skipped over these parts.

~Not a lot of likable characters, except for Ruth. Cameron was rather spineless, as well.

~The word "motel" was used throughout the book when it should have been "hotel" instead. Motels are more a mom-and-pop low-end affordable accommodation, not 5-star luxury accommodation.

~Too much emphasis on Cameron not wanting children but never addressed why

~Nadia's stalking was over the top beyond believability.

~Also, why would Nadia cut her arm and put blood on the door knob of Micah and Deanne's hotel? This served no purpose

~The worst was the ending. After reading a book for eight hours and up until 3 am and this unsatisfactory conclusion fell flat for me. I had something else totally in mind.

Even with the cons, this was still 3.5 Stars. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to #InkubatorBooks and #NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 3.5 Stars (rounded to 4 Stars)

Pub Date: Dec 13, 2022

About the Author

Cathryn is the bestselling author of fifteen psychological thrillers, including THE FAVORITE CHILD, ALWAYS REMEMBER, and THE OTHER COUPLE. She is also the author of the ALEXANDRA MALLORY series, featuring a sociopath you can’t help but love.

View the complete list at her website:

Cathryn Grant’s fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines, The Shroud Quarterly Journal, and been anthologized in The Best of Every Day Fiction and You, Me & A Bit of We. Her short story, “I Was Young Once”, received an honorable mention in the 2007 Zoetrope All-story Short Fiction contest.

Her psychological suspense fiction reveals the motives and desires that lead to suburban crime. She’s obsessed with the “why” behind human behavior. In real crime, too many times, the why is left unanswered. Cathryn’s fiction tells the stories of ordinary people driven to commit murder.

Cathryn also writes ghost stories—The Haunted Ship Trilogy and the Madison Keith series of novellas.

When she’s not writing, she’s usually reading fiction, walking on the beach, or playing golf, trying desperately to avoid hitting her ball in the sand or the water. She lives on the Central California Coast with her husband and her cat, Cleopatra.

Sign up for Cathryn's mailing list to find out when new books are released and receive a free short story about Alexandra Mallory, or contact Cathryn directly at

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