Category Archives: Harlequin Australia

Review: The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns

Title: The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns
Currently Available in Australia
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Imprint: MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 450 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Little secrets grow up to be big lies…

They’ve been best friends since their sons started high school together, and Felicity, Emma and Neve share everything … or so they thought.

But Flick’s seemingly perfect marriage hides a shocking secret which, with one word, threatens to destroy her and her family’s happiness. Emma is in denial about a potential custody battle, her financial constraints, the exhaustion she can’t seem to shake off and the inappropriate feelings she has for her boss. And single mum Neve is harbouring a secret of her own; a secret that might forever damage her close-knit relationship with her son.

When the tight hold they have each kept on their secrets for years begins to slip, they must face the truth. Even if that truth has the power to hurt the ones they love, and each other.

Perhaps some secrets weren’t made to be kept.


The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns is a delightful novel that explores the bonds of friendship between three best friends.

Emma McLouglin is a divorced mom of three, Caleb and twin daughters Laura and Louise, who has been financially struggling ever since her marriage ended.  Still hurt and bitter over her ex-husband leaving her for a woman half her age, she is exhausted from trying to juggling a full-time job with the demands of single parenthood.  Moody and short-tempered, are Emma’s sudden health issues stress-induced or are they a symptom of something much more serious?

Single mum Genevieve “Neve” Taylor is extremely close to her seventeen year old son, Will, but she is not expecting his sudden questions about his (never in the picture) father. She is dismayed to discover he has been already begun searching for him and she panics when she realizes he is not going to be dissuaded from finding him.  Suddenly questioning a long ago decision, Neve is terrified how Will is going to react once she confesses the truth about a long held, closely-guarded secret about his dad.

Felicity “Flick” Bell’s seemingly perfect marriage is the envy of her friends and her husband Seb is well liked by both Neve and Emma.  More than just husband and wife, she and Seb are best friends who share everything with each other. However, cracks begin to appear in their marriage when Seb makes a shocking announcement that could shatter their happy family.  Betrayed and hurt, Flick is uncertain about whether or not she can live with Seb’s sudden decision and she is forced to rethink everything she knows about the man she loves.

With the chapters alternating between each of the women’s perspectives, readers are privy to their innermost thoughts as they try to worth through their individual problems. Although quite close, they have not confessed their darkest secrets to each other but when they are forced to confront these issues, they naturally turn to one another for support.  Neve’s disclosure is quite shocking and while Flick is understanding, Emma’s reactions surprises her friends.  Flick’s revelation is explosive and although both Neve and Emma are absolutely stunned, they are supportive but they also express concern over their friend’s decision.  While Emma has tried to keep an issue with her health to herself, both Flick and Neve have been concerned about her for quite some time and when they make an impromptu trip to New York, they are even more worried.  With each of the women facing life-altering issues, their rock-solid friendship is occasionally tested yet ultimately strengthened as they help one another through unexpected crises.

An engaging story with a realistic plot, multi-layered characters and compelling secrets, The Art of Keeping Secrets is an emotional novel that is quite captivating.  While mostly focusing on Neve, Emma and Flick’s secrets, there is also the tiniest hint of a romantic element that is quite understated.  This latest release from Rachael Johns is a beautiful story of friendship that is sure to resonate with readers of contemporary women’s fiction.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin Australia, Mira, Rachael Johns, Rated B+, Review, The Art of Keeping Secrets, Women's Fiction

Jilted by Rachael Johns

Title: Jilted by Rachael Johns
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Imprint: Mira
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 349 pages
Book Rating: B

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher


After more than ten years away, Australian soap star Ellie Hughes returns to the small country town of Hope Junction, determined to remain anonymous while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda.

But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn’t long before the people of Hope are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie’s visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago.

Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together again, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. For Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter.

When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?

The Review:

Rachael Johns’ Jilted is an emotional story about love and forgiveness. Ten years ago, Ellie Hughes left Flynn Quartermaine at the altar and fled the small town of Hope Junction. Returning to Hope to nurse her godmother Matilda, Ellie comes face to face with the man whose heart she broke all those years ago.

Ellie Hughes is a flawed yet very sympathetic character. Abandoned by her parents, Ellie’s childhood was painful, but with Matilda and Flynn’s love, she found a measure of peace and acceptance. Until a tragic event drove her to flee from Hope Junction and Flynn. Her return to Hope is complicated by the derision of the townspeople and her former friends, but her love and loyalty to Matilda keep her firmly by Matilda’s side as she recovers from a broken ankle.

Flynn Quartermaine was absolutely devastated when Ellie jilted him on their wedding day. Mired in heartache, it took an unexpected loss to bring him out of his self-imposed exile. He shares a close relationship with his mother and sister. Although he is bitter and resentful of Ellie for her abandonment of him, he is a kind and compassionate man who finds it easy to forgive Ellie. It is his friendship that calms the town’s anger towards Ellie.

Ellie’s godmother Matilda is a delightfully eccentric but lovable character. Her relationship with Ellie is quite touching and her love for Ellie is unconditional. Her storyline is emotional and integral to the novel’s plot.

Told in third person from both Ellie and Flynn’s perspectives, the reader is well aware of the emotions they are both experiencing. But the secrets of Ellie’s past are slowly revealed and the outcome of her future with Flynn is far from certain. They share an uneasy friendship with their relationship slowly evolving over the course of the novel.

Jilted by Rachael Johns is magnificently written with engaging characters and a realistic storyline. Readers of contemporary romances will love this heartwarming and sometimes tear inducing novel.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin Australia, Jilted, Mira, Rachael Johns, Rated B, Romance