With Josh, Grace enjoys a cozy life and existence. So why does she continuously refuse his marriage proposals?
Initially, it seems innocuous enough in Hannah Mary McKinnon’s domestic suspense novel Her Secret Son (MIRA). Yet as the plot of this unpredictable thriller unfolds, one looks back for any clue that might provide answers.
Josh, a thirty-five-year-old landscaper with a history of bad luck, has found the love of his life in red-haired, green-eyed Grace. Along with her son Logan, a puppy-loving seven-year-old, they have lived a comfortable existence for five wonderful years, enjoying the pleasures of the family routine. Josh’s only regret is that, despite his two heartfelt marriage proposals, Grace has preferred to remain unwed partners.
But when Grace slips on the icy front steps of their home, hits her head and dies, the tragedy plunges Josh into a dark hole of misery. Only his concern for Logan’s well being compels him to provide structure in their lives. While he fears Grace’s estranged parents might hear news of her death and claim their grandson, Josh starts the process of gaining legal guardianship.
However, nowhere in their home is a birth certificate for Logan. In fact, there is absolutely zero proof of the boy’s existence.
What had Grace been hiding? How much of her past did she withhold from her naïve partner?
Josh follows a trail of riddles even as he passes through the various stages of grief. The author’s impressive catalog of analogies for mourning immerses us in Josh’s loneliness, anger, and guilt, and we overcome every hurdle with him. He constantly berates himself for his role in Grace’s accidental death while simultaneously seeking comfort in memories of a shared love he felt sure was genuine.
Josh’s loyal, resourceful sister Lisa and his witty best friend Ivan lend common sense, as well as subtle subplots, to lighten the protagonist’s reeling emotions. Meanwhile, Logan offers a beam of sunshine, from his touching reaction to his mother’s death to the funny shenanigans of a healthy elementary-school kid. But ultimately, Josh is the only man capable of unlocking the enigma surrounding Grace and her child.
While weaving in family narrative and a dash of romance, McKinnon never wavers in her focus on suspense. The brisk pace reveals how Josh’s past decisions—and blindness born of love—influence the present mystery. Lovely and sometimes humorous writing makes this an enjoyable read. And Josh’s wildly swinging hypotheses for keeping Logan’s identity a secret challenge the reader to solve the puzzle before he does.
The domestic world which Josh navigates is a familiar one, but McKinnon manages to add ominous dimension to it. Her imaginative plot twists make it virtually impossible to guess the truth, and you may find yourself checking your file cabinet to confirm that your essential documents are in place!
Her Secret Son is available for purchase.
About Hannah Mary McKinnon
Hannah Mary was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing. Her debut rom-com Time After Time published in 2016, after which Hannah Mary moved to the dark side of domestic suspense with The Neighbors and Her Secret Son. Her fourth book (as yet untitled) is with MIRA for World English and is slated for a 2020 release. Hannah Mary lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is still delighted by her twenty second commute.