Book review: The secret daughter by Kelly Rimmer

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Drama/historical fiction


As I saw my newborn baby’s face for the first time, I tried desperately to capture her face in my mind – to stamp it onto my eyelids. As she was taken from me, I knew I might never see my daughter again.

Thirty-seven years later… ‘You were adopted’. Three short words and Sabina’s life fractures. There would forever be a before those words and an after.

Pregnant with her own child, Sabina can’t understand how a mother could abandon her daughter or why her parents have kept the past a secret. Determined to find the woman who gave her away, what she discovers will change everything, not just for Sabina but for the women who have loved her all these years.

From the best-selling author of Me Without You comes another touching, beautifully told story about the pain of separation and the enduring strength of love.

I’ve recently discovered Kelly Rimmer and I have to say that it did not disappoint. This book is a rollercoaster of emotions and touches upon a very sensitive subjects like adoption and particularly the heartbreaking circumstances of forced adoption not just in Australia but all over the world in the sixties, seventies and eighties. It is written with so much empathy and understanding of both sides of the story from the mums themselves, to the adoption officials who would sometimes falsify birth records so that the biological mother was erased and the adopted parents being listed as the child’s biological parents. Told from the point of view of Lily, a 16-year-old forced into a maternity home by her parents whilst her boyfriend is away at university and Meg Sabina’s adopted mother, who was lilies social worker and ultimately wanted to help Lily look after the baby until she was married and had a stable Home life, It also tells us of the events that transpired afterwards that lead Meg and Graham to keeping Sabina. Not only is this a story of belonging but a story of two women who were hampered by societies idea that one was any moral person because she was a pregnant teenager and one was a proper wife because she couldn’t provide a child. This book is not only about wanting to belong to something but being able to make peace with the past and move on and learn from past mistakes. Talking of roots, Kelly remember uses her Polish heritage for Lily’s backstory. The epilogue takes us up to 2013 where the Australian Prime Minister apologised to both the young mothers and children that were needlessly ripped away from their biological families and denied a lifetime of precious memories. I am both saddened and overjoyed that we now live in a society where the majority of the time a woman is not defined by being able to have children, want children or their marital status.

Image belongs to Kelly Rimmer. Click the image to be taken to a webpage so that you can order a copy of this heart wrenching drama

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