Secrets My Father Kept By Rachel Givney: Book Review & Summary

Secrets My Father Kept By Rachel Givney – Penguin Books New Zealand

Secrets My Father Kept by Rachel Givney - Penguin Books New Zealand

Secrets My Father Kept by Rachel Givney is a heart-wrenching story that explores the complexities of family relationships and the consequences of secrets. The author, Rachel Givney, is an Australian author, screenwriter, and director. Givney crafted this novel as her debut release, and she brilliantly captures the emotional landscape of her characters, and the reader is drawn into their story.

Main Themes and Ideas

One of the main themes of Secrets My Father Kept is family secrets. The plot of the novel revolves around a family torn apart by secrets that were kept for decades. The story follows the journey of Callie, a young journalist who sets out to uncover the truth about her family. As Callie delves deeper into her family history, she uncovers secrets that have been buried for years, which have affected her family’s past and present. Givney masterfully crafts the story, providing insights into the psychological impact that these secrets have on the individuals involved.

The novel also explores the themes of love and loss, forgiveness, and self-discovery. From the relationships between family members, friends, and lovers, as well as the personal growth of the characters, the book provides an insightful and emotional journey for the reader.

Critical Evaluation of the Writing Style

Givney’s writing style is excellently crafted, fluid, and well-paced. The author’s use of poetic language and vivid imagery captures the mood and emotions of the characters. The writing style helped to build an emotional connection with the characters, and the reader can empathize with their heartbreaks and triumphs.

The use of multiple perspectives to narrate the story is highly effective, as it enables the reader to understand the motivations and emotions of each character. By doing this, Givney avoids one-dimensionality and gives the reader a fresh insight into different perspectives from the same story.

Strengths and Weaknesses

One of the novel’s strengths is the emotional depth it covers, allowing the reader to connect with the characters. This, along with Givney’s beautiful writing style, makes the book hard to put down. Additionally, the themes of forgiveness and self-discovery will resonate with readers who have experienced family secrets and betrayals.

One weakness of the novel lies in its pacing, where the story’s progression is slow at times, making it challenging to stay engaged. The first half of the book should have been compressed to keep the reader up to speed, so it could save more time to explore Callie’s family more in-depth.

Comparison with other Books in its Genre

Secrets My Father Kept shares strong similarities with other books that explore family secrets and their impact on individuals. The most striking similarity is the novel, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. This novel explores the theme of the price of secrets in a small town, depicting how different secrets can affect individuals.

However, what sets Secrets My Father Kept apart from other novels dealing with family secrets is the novel’s exploration of the psychological impact of secrets on individuals, as well as the power of self-discovery in the individual’s healing journey.


Secrets My Father Kept is an emotional and thought-provoking novel that explores the effects of family secrets on individuals. Rachel Givney’s debut novel is a compelling work of fiction that seamlessly balances the exploration of the complex emotional terrain of her characters and the gripping plot. The book’s use of poetry, vivid imagery, and multiple perspectives style is a testament to the author’s excellent writing skills. While the pacing was slow at times, the book’s strengths lie in its themes of love and loss, forgiveness and self-discovery, which makes it a must-read book.


Q: What inspired Rachel Givney’s Secrets My Father Kept?

A: Rachel Givney’s novel is inspired by the concept of family secrets, especially stories regarding ancestry, which circles the family environment. Rachel became intrigued upon presenting questions to her grandparents about her family, whereas instead of getting answers, she was met with silence, evasions and a lot of frustration.

Q: What is the significance of the title, Secrets My Father Kept?

A: The title of the book is a clear representation of its premise. The secrets that the father in the novel kept from his family were what eventually led to the fracture in the family’s relationships.

Q: Is Secrets My Father Kept a standalone novel, or will it be part of a series?

A: As of now, Secrets My Father Kept remains a standalone novel. There is no confirmation from the author or the publishers regarding the release of a sequel or if the novel be part of a series.

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