Huge thanks to Netgalley and Marybeth Mayhew Whalen for my copy of This Secret Thing.The Secret Thing is about a group of women who make hard choices for their families The book begins with Norah who is arrested for managing a prostitution ring Her mother, Polly, comes to visit to take care of Norah’s daughter, Violet Polly has her own set of problems dealing with her gold digger and cheater of a husband.Bess is a housewife raising her two daughters, Casey and Nicole Casey suddenly comes home from college dealing with her owns issues while Nicole is dealing with high school angst On top of this Bess’s husband is also cheating on her and she is developing feelings for the homeless guy she is helping.Then, add a detective and a high school boy with their own set of problems.This book with all the drama was a slow burn that I really enjoyed I kept wondering how all the pieces were going to fit together I was pleasantly surprised with how it all ended and the author even added another twist right at the end I will definitely be readingfrom this author. Wow! That's all that I can say about this book! I just finished this book at 3:45 in the morning and am still trying to process everything that happened! It took me a little bit to remember who the characters were and how they fit in the story but once I did, I was hooked! This book will leave you turning the pages in to the wee hours of the morning like me and then think It about the ending for days! Thanks so much to netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of the book! This Secret Thing is a powerful story of friendship and sisterhood, and I fell into Whalen’s vision of a tightknit Raleigh community willingly and easily I could see the houses with their shaded windows, feel the sense of people watching, wondering what their neighbors were really up to Sometimes it’s a big risk to start out a novel with the biggest secret revealed right up front, yet it very much works with This Secret Thing The world as we/the characters know it is exploded in a way that feels apocalyptic, then the pieces must be put back together The novel is a fascinating mix of both world rebuilding and the solving of a mystery I was especially moved by Casey’s storyline It felt unexpected and surprising, and I found myself cheering for her from the moment she came onstage Whalen has superior character building skills There isn’t one character in the novel that wasn’t utterly believable and compelling A terrific story with a satisfying sense of drama and mystery. Wow! That's all that I can say about this book! I just finished this book at 3:45 in the morning and am still trying to process everything that happened!It took me a little bit to remember who the characters were and how they fit in the story but once I did, I was hooked! This book will leave you turning the pages in to the wee hours of the morning like me and then think It about the ending for days!Thanks so much to netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of the book! I almost DNRed a dozen times I speedskimmed to the finish There are excellent synopses by other reviewers, so I’ll just get to the review This muddle of a book is set in a meh suburb of monied, mostly White Americans in Raleigh, NC This book’s weaknesses are the multitude of characters and too many POVs I prefer books that have characters that I can follow throughout the story That’s not easy to do when POVs keep switching, and I’m forced to constantly headhop Plus, the author created a veritable tsunami of problems—so every character, even tertiary ones, has a problem or three Take your pick: involvement in a prostitution ring; drugs and/or alcohol dependency; addiction to men; cheating husbands (plural); accusations of murder; etc Even the police detective investigating the prostitution ring has personal and domestic problems Although the multiple subplots eventually interweave, it takes most of the book to achieve coherence A stronger main storyline could have tied the multiple subplots together into something resembling a coherent whole My rating is low probably because I’m not a fan of melodramaladen women’s fiction If you enjoy this genre, please take my rating with a shaker of salt, because you may love this book. One great benefit of being a book reviewer is being introduced to a variety of new voices “This Secret Thing” was an unexpected surprise as I was unfamiliar with Marybeth Mayhew Whalen previously The focus of the novel is about women who make the best choices they can for those that they love The reader is first introduced to Norah She is arrested because she is accused of managing a prostitution ring Her mother, Polly, is tasks with caring for Norah’s daughter, Violet, though Norah and Polly had been previously estranged and Violet had not met her grandma until now As Violet tries to find a way to clear her mom, Polly struggles with her own issues such as being married to a twotimer who is after her money Additionally, we meet Norah’s friend, Bess, who houses her owns secrets as do her daughters Casey and Nicole, both who all face plenty of their own angst If you are thinking that is a lot of plot (and characters) you are correct, but I found the author quite skilled at building multiple stories as connections between the various characters become clear I admit the start of the book is slow, but if you persevere, I assure you that there will be a pay off I found Ms Whalen’s writing engaging, especially as I gotinto the story When the pieces of the puzzle begin to click into place, the novel becomes difficult to put down Three and a half stars Huge thanks to Netgalley and Marybeth Mayhew Whalen for my copy of This Secret Thing.#thissecretthing #marybethmayhewwhalen It's way past my bedtime as I'm writing this but let me say that I LOVED this small town crime/family fiction novel.I was a huge fan of this author's other title, The Things We Wish Were True, so I was thrilled to pick up her new book And it was amazing!This Secret Thing is filled to the brim with scandals, drama and mystery It tells the story of Norah Ramsey, a mother living her life in a North Carolina town until she gets accused to running a prostitution network Her only daughter will do her best to help her mom, butsecrets become revealed in the process as drama evolves To reveal muchwould be a big rude spoiler and nobody wants that, but the most important thing is: EVERYBODY HAS JUICY SECRETS The question is whether they'll be able to keep them.I'd highly recommend this book to fans of domestic drama, small town drama and reasonably light mysteries *Thank you to the Publisher for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Had Potential, But Too Much Going OnThis story looked like it had the family drama that I so often enjoy in novels—and with two different families Unfortunately, however, so many characters had so much going on all at once that it was hard to follow at times, and I couldn’t always see how these characters and plotlines were related, let alone supported or provided contrast, to the main storyline; a good subplot or character should either support or be a contrast to the predominant story The intersections and connections weren’t all made until the end, and by then, it was too late—at least for me Perhaps the author was overly ambitious or rolled the ideas for several books into one With so many people to follow, I didn't feel like I connected with any one character, which is something I need as a reader to truly engage with a story.I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review. Out of love Out of protection Out of fear Everyone has a reason to lieEveryone in Raleigh, North Carolina, is talking about Norah Ramsey, the single mother accused of being a suburban madam But Norah’s not the only one keeping secretsAfter her mother’s arrest, Norah’s teenage daughter, Violet, is devastated and alone She has no one to turn to until her grandmother Polly arrives Polly, long estranged from Norah, is running from her own troubles Down the street, Bess, once Norah’s best friend, desperately tries to hide secrets while Casey, Bess’s daughter, flees college after a traumatic event, only to find that home isn’t the safe haven she expected And Nico, the detective who has doggedly pursued Norah Ramsey in hopes that she will lead him to his missing brother, is drawn further into these women’s lives while facing his own domestic disturbanceScandal has brought each of them to a crossroads Now, as they delve into Norah’s secrets, they must come to terms with secrets of their own—ones that still have the power to hurt or to heal Could've finished this in one day had things not been so busy this month!Review and author interview coming soon!!