Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

Keeper of Secrets by Sarah J Dodd

Family, loss, heartbreak and healing. Keeper of Secrets is a beautiful story of the power of nature.

Everything has been wrong since 11 year-old Emily’s mother died in a tragic accident. The happy life she once knew with her favourite person by her side has completely disappeared. When her grief-stricken father, a vet, needs a change and moves them to Badger Cottage, things only get worse.

Emily learns that the local people are in conflict over some lynx – beautiful big cats who have been rewilded in the forest nearby. One group wants to protect them while the other wants to get rid of them. They fear the cats will threaten their livestock and their families.

When a mother lynx is shot and her kitten left alone, Emily must decide what to do. Determined to protect the kitten from those who want it dead and to find out who illegally killed its mother, Emily sets out on a mission that will push her to deal with her own loss and find a way to move forward into happiness.

Keeper of Secrets is a story of feeling lost and alone but it is also a story of hope. As Emily’s relationship with the lynx kitten develops, memories of her own mother rise to the surface. Although painful, she is able to face her grief and find a way through. The new friends she meets in the countryside shower her with kindness and show Emily that there is still a future to enjoy.

Set in snowy December with the challenge of preparing for their first Christmas without Emily’s mother, this is a wonderful story for Autumn. There is honesty on every page as Emily and her father try to find a way through together. Setting up home, cooking meals, decorating the Christmas tree, even communicating with each other is so hard. There’s no predicting when a wave of grief will hit or how they will be able to deal with it. As they make their way, their relationship develops into something very special.

I found myself completely captivated by this story, reading it in one afternoon. I was with Emily in the dark forest, in the snow and trying to help the frightened kitten. I felt her pain, her fear and her confusion. How could something be so beautiful and yet so dangerous? How could she feel so sad and still carry on without her mother?

This will definitely be one of my top reads of 2021 and one I will recommend widely.

Thank you to Firefly Press for this powerful book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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