Rosalind Noonan's novel of dysfunctional families and relationships, Domestic Secrets, is a troubling story. Readers of Jodi Picoult's books may want to give this one a try.
Rachel Whalen and Ariel Alexander had been friends for years. Their children had grown up together. The women saw each other through widowhood and single motherhood. Despite their differences, they were united against the wealthier soccer moms of Timbergrove, Oregon. Rachel owned a hair salon, and Ariel taught voice lessons to all the high school students who wanted to sing. While Rachel obsessed over her two sons, one in college and one a high school senior, Ariel only obsessed over herself. Rachel's college-aged daughter, Cassie, was more of a mother to her siblings than her own mother. Ariel obsessed about her sex life and her faded career as a television star. But, it was the secrets shared by these families that destroyed them.
Noonan skillfully keeps her story's secrets, allowing them to develop at a gradual pace. Although most of the story unravels within just five months, the reader gets to know Rachel, Ariel, and Cassie. It's a tragedy of terrible proportions that destroys relationships, and reveals scandalous secrets that are straight from today's headlines.
Readers who appreciate character development may find this a fascinating novel. All three women are complex characters, coping with life, death, and scandal. And, although he has a small role in Domestic Secrets, the local sheriff is an interesting character.
Those of us who read mysteries and expect justice to be served may be a little disturbed by the development of this book. But readers of contemporary issue-orientated novels know that life isn't always fair, and stories don't always turn out as expected.
Domestic Secrets by Rosalind Noonan. Kensington Books. 2016. ISBN 9781617733277 (paperback), 342p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book for review for a journal.