A brutal murder occurs on an isolated farm in the 1920's in Western Australia and the victim's wife and children are violently abused, scandalizing the whole country. The killer has no apparent motivation but admits his guilt and the abused wife has to rebuild her shattered life.
Secrets Mothers Keep traces how three lives are entwined. A young English boy with learning difficulties and the precursors of mental illness, learns to cope with his 'black moods' and poor social skills. He faces numerous challenges and finds support and strategies that enable him to survive. Finally an event makes him crack.
Lilly is a feminist with a strong social conscience; the novel follows her life and her loves until she marries her eminently capable partner Harold. Harold is murdered and Lilly and her children are subject to rape and horrific abuse. The resultant infamy of the case threatens her reputation and her core values. Her strong convictions lead her to respond in a most unlikely manner. The interplay of characters, combine to create a story reflecting the values of their time in history but with themes which still resonate today.