Wednesday, 5 August 2015

#IrishFictionFortnight - Day 10 - "The Secrets We Share" by Emma Hannigan. Review and Giveaway.

Following on from my review for DundalkFM, I thought an #IrishFictionFortnight Giveaway, for a PB copy of Emma's latest novel, was on the cards.  To be in with a chance of winning this novel, just enter via rafflecopter link below.  Good Luck!


Clara has not seen or heard from her son, Max, for almost twenty years.  She has no idea where he is and feels the time has come to try and find him..  After some sleuthing, she discovers that he is living in LA, has a wife and a seventeen year old daughter.  Clara writes to Nathalie in the hope that her granddaughter would like to connect.

Eva is still bitter about her brothers disappearance and has her own painful memories to deal with. Still single, she finds her habit of picking up strange men in bars becoming a cliché, and  vows to change her ways.  When she hears of her niece's existence, she finds herself looking towards the past rather than the future.

Nathalie is a typical All-American teenager.  Finishing high school, dreaming of her future and getting ready for college.  All that changes on Prom night, when her whole world changes in an instant.  A trip to Ireland to visit an unknown grandmother seems like the best option for a damaged teen, and soon Nathalie finds the home comforts of the Irish countryside the best medicine.

When she discovers box of old letters in her grandmothers house, the family history becomes a bigger part of her life than Nathalie ever expected.  Going back as far as WWII and the Nazi camps, the story of her great-grandmother is poignant and inspirational at the same time.  But can the inherited history bring the damaged family back together again?

Emma Hannigan has a way with words.  She embraces the characters wholly and gives them each an individual personality.  Clara, an Austrian grandmother, or Oma, is a woman we would all like to come home to; gentle yet firm, honest yet  kind and well able to warm anyone's heart with her home baking and crafty talents.  She has a lifetime of memories and is more than willing to share them, at her late stage in life.  She misses her late husband and visits his grave for a chat almost every day, filling him in on all her news.  When she discovers where her estranged son is, and that she has a granddaughter that she knew nothing of, her world seems a little brighter.  Her daughter, Eva, is not as excited.  Still hurt by her her brothers quick departure from her life, she blames him for a lot of her bad memories and is hesitant to have anything to do with him or his new family.  Alcohol leads to inappropriate hook-ups and placing herself in dangerous situations.
The arrival of Nathalie changes all that.  She is a breath a fresh air in a dusty environment and brings a connection and vibrancy to the family, that they didn't even know was missing.

The stories which unfold via the old letters are emotional.  There can be no happy tales from the Nazi treatment of Jews and it is through letters like these that we learn the truth.  Based on fact, this novel may come packaged as chick-lit, but is more than that.  It is the story of an elderly woman with a host of memories to share.  Some may be secrets, but need to be told.  Some may be difficult to hear but deserved to be aired.  Mostly, these are stories that bring a family closer together rather than tearing them apart.  There is something very hard about ending family feuds.  Longer gaps in communication make things seem a lot worse than they should be and the mountains that seem to be obstacles, and actually only be hills.
An inspirational novel, which the author has an affinity with.  Warm, lovingly written and full of hope.


Emma Hannigan is from Bray, Co Wicklow in Ireland. She is married with two children. 
Writing became her passion and life line in 2006, quite by mistake. Having discovered she carries the cancer gene BRCA 1, Emma chose to have a double mastectomy and her ovaries removed. 
Alas, she developed cancer a year after her radical surgery. Determined to battle and become a true cancer vixen, Emma fought the good fight! To date Emma had beaten cancer a remarkable 8 times!
'I like to keep score,' she jokes. 'So far it's cancer 0 - Emma 8 
Emma's fight with cancer is detailed in her memoir 'Talk to the Headscarf.' Emma is a glass-half-full type of person and cancer hasn't changed that. 
'I wrote 'Talk to the Headscarf' to show people that cancer doesn't always win. When I was diagnosed at first, I wanted an ordinary person to tell me I could live through this awful disease. This isn't a misery memoir. It's not there to scare people. It's all the things you ever wanted to know about cancer, but were afraid to ask! I laughed out loud writing parts of this book and I hope readers will too.'
Emma's writing career began in the chemotherapy unit. 
'I wrote because I was bored. But most of all I needed an out let at the time. I discovered I adore creating characters and telling stories. I feel truly blessed to have found this wonderful and exciting new career.' 
Emma has written six novels and is determined to keep adding to her list.
If you would like to contact Emma or learn more about her, please go to her web site:


The Secrets We Share is published by Hachette Ireland and will also be published in the UK by Headline Review on 13th Aug.
You can order your copy, with Free Worldwide Postage, here or via amazon link below:


  1. Talk to the headscarf.amazingly brave!!

  2. Driving Home For Christmas, which I absolutely love. Lx

  3. Perfect wives

  4. Perfect Wives which I've just purchased :).

  5. The Summer Guest

  6. Talk to the Headscarf - now on my list to read!

  7. Driving Home For Christmas

  8. christine nicho;son13 August 2015 at 11:40

    The summer guest


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