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My Secret To Keep

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When Maggie Bryan works up the nerve to tell her parents she’s pregnant, they immediately disown her. Later that night, her boyfriend is killed. In desperation, she turns to her brother, Sam. Against his wife’s wishes, Sam brings Maggie to his home in rural Pennsylvania. While Maggie awaits the birth of her child and navigates the tension in her new home, she decides to fin When Maggie Bryan works up the nerve to tell her parents she’s pregnant, they immediately disown her. Later that night, her boyfriend is killed. In desperation, she turns to her brother, Sam. Against his wife’s wishes, Sam brings Maggie to his home in rural Pennsylvania. While Maggie awaits the birth of her child and navigates the tension in her new home, she decides to finish high school. There, she meets Anne Phillips, a volunteer educator and full-time architect. Over time, Maggie becomes drawn to Anne in ways she doesn’t understand, but she knows enough to keep her feelings hidden. After a devastating loss, Maggie tries to move on, but secrets and betrayals keep her from living her fullest life. Beginning in the late 1940s and spanning decades, My Secret to Keep portrays a woman at war with society, her family, and herself.


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When Maggie Bryan works up the nerve to tell her parents she’s pregnant, they immediately disown her. Later that night, her boyfriend is killed. In desperation, she turns to her brother, Sam. Against his wife’s wishes, Sam brings Maggie to his home in rural Pennsylvania. While Maggie awaits the birth of her child and navigates the tension in her new home, she decides to fin When Maggie Bryan works up the nerve to tell her parents she’s pregnant, they immediately disown her. Later that night, her boyfriend is killed. In desperation, she turns to her brother, Sam. Against his wife’s wishes, Sam brings Maggie to his home in rural Pennsylvania. While Maggie awaits the birth of her child and navigates the tension in her new home, she decides to finish high school. There, she meets Anne Phillips, a volunteer educator and full-time architect. Over time, Maggie becomes drawn to Anne in ways she doesn’t understand, but she knows enough to keep her feelings hidden. After a devastating loss, Maggie tries to move on, but secrets and betrayals keep her from living her fullest life. Beginning in the late 1940s and spanning decades, My Secret to Keep portrays a woman at war with society, her family, and herself.

30 review for My Secret To Keep

  1. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Bailey

    Exceptionally well-written, gut-wrenching, and inspiring, MY SECRET TO KEEP is a stunning story of a woman longing to love and be loved. Barbara Conrey has created an immensely compelling, powerful protagonist in Maggie, who struggles to live the life she deserves amidst the cruel condemnation of a society in which she desperately wants to be accepted. With masterfully building tension, perfectly timed surprises, and remarkable depth, this novel is now woven into the fabric of my soul and will t Exceptionally well-written, gut-wrenching, and inspiring, MY SECRET TO KEEP is a stunning story of a woman longing to love and be loved. Barbara Conrey has created an immensely compelling, powerful protagonist in Maggie, who struggles to live the life she deserves amidst the cruel condemnation of a society in which she desperately wants to be accepted. With masterfully building tension, perfectly timed surprises, and remarkable depth, this novel is now woven into the fabric of my soul and will touch my heart forever.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Barbara White

    What a powerful journey with a strong, stubborn, conflicted heroine. We meet Maggie as a pregnant teen who's been disowned by her parents and is reeling from the death of the boy she loves. But with guts and grit, she attempts to forge her own path, despite cruel judgement. Maggie is determined to keep the baby and be a good mother, but fate intervenes. As you wonder how much more she can handle, her world is forever changed by unexpected feelings for a beautiful woman called Anne. As we follow What a powerful journey with a strong, stubborn, conflicted heroine. We meet Maggie as a pregnant teen who's been disowned by her parents and is reeling from the death of the boy she loves. But with guts and grit, she attempts to forge her own path, despite cruel judgement. Maggie is determined to keep the baby and be a good mother, but fate intervenes. As you wonder how much more she can handle, her world is forever changed by unexpected feelings for a beautiful woman called Anne. As we follow Maggie through the next four decades, she confronts great sorrow and great happiness, but still she battles society, her religion, and herself. Can she live life out loud, or is it okay to keep certain secrets--the ones you choose? Fans of the author's debut bestseller will love this prequel (with a little Emma!), but it reads as a standalone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    My Secret to Keep kept me up late into the night turning pages. I LOVED it. Here's my review... Barbara Conrey does a magnificent job conveying 1960’s Pennsylvania Amish country. Her central protagonist, Maggie, is a character to remember. In My Secret to Keep, we follow pregnant 16 year old Maggie's journey after her parents abandon her, and she restarts her life in her brother Sam’s house. He harbors his own secrets, and the tension builds. Conrey tackles tough topics with aplomb. Through Maggi My Secret to Keep kept me up late into the night turning pages. I LOVED it. Here's my review... Barbara Conrey does a magnificent job conveying 1960’s Pennsylvania Amish country. Her central protagonist, Maggie, is a character to remember. In My Secret to Keep, we follow pregnant 16 year old Maggie's journey after her parents abandon her, and she restarts her life in her brother Sam’s house. He harbors his own secrets, and the tension builds. Conrey tackles tough topics with aplomb. Through Maggie's story, we're transported to a bygone time, and come to more deeply appreciate the relationships in our own lives. For readers who loved best-selling Nowhere Near Goodbye, you will be stunned at the connection to the story of best friends Kate and Emma. Best-selling author Barbara Conrey’s craft and storytelling are superb. Don’t miss My Secret to Keep!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    TITLE: My Secret to Keep AUTHOR: Barbara Conrey PUB DATE: 08.22.2022 I loved Nowhere Near Goodbye when I read it last year, so My Secret to Keep was a highly anticipated read that did not disappoint. My Secret to Keep is a story about identity, acceptance, love, loss, and being brave. The story spans about 40 years beginning with Maggie at age 16 pregnant and disowned by her parents, and the father of her unborn child suddenly dead. This is a story of resilience, hope, and strength, and another win TITLE: My Secret to Keep AUTHOR: Barbara Conrey PUB DATE: 08.22.2022 I loved Nowhere Near Goodbye when I read it last year, so My Secret to Keep was a highly anticipated read that did not disappoint. My Secret to Keep is a story about identity, acceptance, love, loss, and being brave. The story spans about 40 years beginning with Maggie at age 16 pregnant and disowned by her parents, and the father of her unborn child suddenly dead. This is a story of resilience, hope, and strength, and another winner from Barbara Conrey. Conrey as a storyteller knows how to tug at heartstrings, build up a world with characters that you will want to root for, with some unexpected twists and turns.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Montanaro

    A heartfelt congratulations to Barbara Conrey on the publication day of her second novel, My Secret to Keep. This book is awesome! I had a hard time putting it down. I almost took it into the shower with me because I forgot I was holding it in my hands. 🤣 It starts in present day and then immediately goes back to 1949 and proceeds chronologically from there. The protagonist, Maggie, is a 16-year-old who is pregnant, just lost her boyfriend in a horrible car accident, is kicked out by her parents A heartfelt congratulations to Barbara Conrey on the publication day of her second novel, My Secret to Keep. This book is awesome! I had a hard time putting it down. I almost took it into the shower with me because I forgot I was holding it in my hands. 🤣 It starts in present day and then immediately goes back to 1949 and proceeds chronologically from there. The protagonist, Maggie, is a 16-year-old who is pregnant, just lost her boyfriend in a horrible car accident, is kicked out by her parents and moves in with her adult brother and his wife, who definitely doesn’t want Maggie there. She finds a new friend in her GED teacher as she gets her high school diploma and tries to make a new life for herself. But the town holds onto grudges and passes judgment. I found myself rooting for Maggie at every turn, often through tears and anger. She has tenacity, strength, and guts. 💪 The book deals with secrets and lies, ones that we tell ourselves, and ones that we tell others. It explores themes of identity, shame, love, and forgiveness. I can tell that this was a book written from Barbara’s heart. And it touched mine deeply! ❤️ There are some particular issues in here that are very important to me and struck me to the core. And that show up in my own manuscript that I hope will be my debut novel. 🤞 If you love historical fiction, family drama, and strong female protagonists who rise above adversity, do yourself a favor and grab this book immediately. You will love it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Since other reviewers have re-capped the storyline of the book, I'll just add that I loved Maggie's empathy, compassion and loving heart, and just kept wishing she'd turn some of that love toward herself! But for those who don't know the power that society's rules held over young women in the era of Maggie's youth, it was huge. Going against expectations of your family meant going against expectations of everyone: your church, your neighbors, the world at large. While it's not always easy today Since other reviewers have re-capped the storyline of the book, I'll just add that I loved Maggie's empathy, compassion and loving heart, and just kept wishing she'd turn some of that love toward herself! But for those who don't know the power that society's rules held over young women in the era of Maggie's youth, it was huge. Going against expectations of your family meant going against expectations of everyone: your church, your neighbors, the world at large. While it's not always easy today to be one's authentic self, back then it was truly forbidden, not just by law but by every community to which one belonged. You were not allowed to love someone of the same sex. Conrey's story is a testament to the power of love, determination and knowing one's own heart--timeless and affecting themes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Sands

    Pregnant and unmarried in the 1960’s with a judgmental and unforgiving family, Maggie Bryan finds herself up against unimagined challenges. Is it any wonder she battles through the rest of her life feeling betrayed, conflicted and unsure of choices she is making … including how to accept happiness. Barbara Conrey brings a complicated – and important - story to life. Her exquisite writing goes directly to the heart of the emotionally complex issues Maggie faces … brought on by Maggie’s inability Pregnant and unmarried in the 1960’s with a judgmental and unforgiving family, Maggie Bryan finds herself up against unimagined challenges. Is it any wonder she battles through the rest of her life feeling betrayed, conflicted and unsure of choices she is making … including how to accept happiness. Barbara Conrey brings a complicated – and important - story to life. Her exquisite writing goes directly to the heart of the emotionally complex issues Maggie faces … brought on by Maggie’s inability to truly love herself. We cheer with every hurdle this protagonist struggles across. The strength and love of Anne, the well-defined personalities of supporting characters, the culture of the community and the prevailing attitudes of those decades in some minds, are powerfully portrayed throughout. Often gut-wrenching and other times heartening ... what a ride! All thanks to Conrey’s brilliant prose.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Grace Sammon

    My Secret to Keep was one of my “most anticipated reads of 2022.” It did not disappoint. Conrey’s prequel to her USA Today bestseller Nowhere Near Goodbye is brilliantly and seamlessly crafted. There are plot twists and turns, and characters that are beautiful authentic. We follow Molly’s journey of love and loss and magnificent strength over decades in a page turning novel that has you wondering, shaking your head, and delighting in each chapter. Conrey’s skill as a storyteller and wordsmith ar My Secret to Keep was one of my “most anticipated reads of 2022.” It did not disappoint. Conrey’s prequel to her USA Today bestseller Nowhere Near Goodbye is brilliantly and seamlessly crafted. There are plot twists and turns, and characters that are beautiful authentic. We follow Molly’s journey of love and loss and magnificent strength over decades in a page turning novel that has you wondering, shaking your head, and delighting in each chapter. Conrey’s skill as a storyteller and wordsmith are cemented with this forthcoming release. With themes that will both educate and awe, My Secret To Keep is surely headed to the top of bestseller and book club lists. Brava!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chelsie

    A very good coming of age and finding yourself novel. Maggie has become pregnant during a time when this was unacceptable unless you were married, her boyfriend and father of the baby is killed in a terrible accident and the only person who she has always counted on is siding with their parents and his wife in what should be done about this situation. Trying to do her best, Maggie cannot seem to please her brother or his wife. One thing after another happens to continue to make Sam question taki A very good coming of age and finding yourself novel. Maggie has become pregnant during a time when this was unacceptable unless you were married, her boyfriend and father of the baby is killed in a terrible accident and the only person who she has always counted on is siding with their parents and his wife in what should be done about this situation. Trying to do her best, Maggie cannot seem to please her brother or his wife. One thing after another happens to continue to make Sam question taking Maggie in as well as her ability to be able to raise a child on her own. Maggie finds comfort in her teacher Anne, who soon befriends and does all she can to help Maggie. Yet Maggie is struggling with everything Anne offers as well as what is becoming of the friendship. Her brother is once again not happy with her choice of a friend and one devastating night is all it takes to change everything in her life and the lives around her. This novel follows Maggie as she moves on from this horrible event, and does her best to fit into the mold society wants, knowing it is not acceptable and may never be accepted. My secret to keep is a very fitting title for all that Maggie endured in this novel, and struggled with her whole life. I've heard many stories about grandma and the friend she lived with or great aunt so and so, and the friend she lived with. It is time those stories are told with the truth just like this one. Thank you to the author for the free novel and Suzy Approved Book Tours for the invite.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (Nissa_the.bookworm)

    Read this if you enjoy 📖 short chapters 🐶 rescuing dogs 🏳️‍🌈 love stories 👵🏻 happy endings •What it’s about My Secret to Keep is told from the viewpoint of Maggie, as she grows up over the next 40 or so years. At 16, Maggie finds herself pregnant. When the father of her child is killed in an accident and her mother and father kick her out, she turns to her brother, Sam, for help. But his wife, Patty, isn’t willing to take in a pregnant, unwed girl. Still, she moves to Pennsylvania, gets a job, and beg Read this if you enjoy 📖 short chapters 🐶 rescuing dogs 🏳️‍🌈 love stories 👵🏻 happy endings •What it’s about My Secret to Keep is told from the viewpoint of Maggie, as she grows up over the next 40 or so years. At 16, Maggie finds herself pregnant. When the father of her child is killed in an accident and her mother and father kick her out, she turns to her brother, Sam, for help. But his wife, Patty, isn’t willing to take in a pregnant, unwed girl. Still, she moves to Pennsylvania, gets a job, and begins night school. After a devastating loss leaves her numb and more alone than ever, she turns to her night school teacher for comfort. But the feelings Maggie has for Anne aren’t acceptable in the 1950s, so Maggie tries to move on with her life. But time marches forward for all of us, whether we want it to or not. •My thoughts This was a real page turner. The chapters were short, which I’m always a fan of, and I loved how the story moved. Starting in the late 1940s, we get all the way to the early 1980s, and see this girl grow into a woman. I loved her story of love, loss, and learning. She wasn’t handed life on a silver platter, but she still tried to make the best of what she had. While I wasn’t shocked by the ending, it did leave me wanting a little more. I wanted her to reveal her secret, not keep it. But either way, this was a great read, with in-depth character building, and it felt true to the time period it’s framed in.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christy Taylor

    This was such an emotional read. It grabbed me from page one and I could not put it down. There is a lot of loss but also a lot of love. I loved Maggie and her curiosity, determination and goodness. The author did such a great job of describing life in the small Pennsylvania town where Maggie went to live while pregnant and unwed. I could clearly envision the dynamics of the small-minded town members and their reluctance to accept anyone who didn't conform to their self imposed standards and mor This was such an emotional read. It grabbed me from page one and I could not put it down. There is a lot of loss but also a lot of love. I loved Maggie and her curiosity, determination and goodness. The author did such a great job of describing life in the small Pennsylvania town where Maggie went to live while pregnant and unwed. I could clearly envision the dynamics of the small-minded town members and their reluctance to accept anyone who didn't conform to their self imposed standards and morals. This is such a moving book with the absolute perfect title. It deserves all the stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarahlyn Bruck

    Barbara Conrey’s My Secret to Keep, is a sweeping, tender love story that spans three decades from the 1950s through the early 1980s. When Maggie gets pregnant as a teenager, her family disowns her and her boyfriend is killed in an accident, leaving her utterly alone. After she moves in with her brother and his family, she must decide how she will move forward. Conrey has created a grand story that explores family, friendship, and romance. A must read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Suanne

    My Secret to Keep is the second novel by Barbara Conrey, who writes lovely women’s fiction. The book spans decades in the life of Maggie Bryan. She expects to follow the route of virtually every woman in her old-fashioned hometown: finish high school, marry, perhaps work in a factory, and eventually have children. Her plans go astray at age sixteen when she falls in love with Niko and gets pregnant. When she confides in her parents, they immediately disown her. Maggie is determined to be a good My Secret to Keep is the second novel by Barbara Conrey, who writes lovely women’s fiction. The book spans decades in the life of Maggie Bryan. She expects to follow the route of virtually every woman in her old-fashioned hometown: finish high school, marry, perhaps work in a factory, and eventually have children. Her plans go astray at age sixteen when she falls in love with Niko and gets pregnant. When she confides in her parents, they immediately disown her. Maggie is determined to be a good wife to Niko and a good mother to their baby. Fate intervenes, and a freak accident changes her life again. With no other options, she turns to her much-older brother, Sam. Against his wife’s wishes, Sam brings Maggie home to the heart of rural Pennsylvania Dutch country, an area even more conservative than where she grew up. Maggie again revises her life plan. While awaiting the birth of her child, she navigates the tension in her new home, wards off the pressure to give the baby up for adoption, and takes GED classes at the local high school. Her volunteer educator, Anne Phillips, is an architect. Maggie quickly develops feelings for Anne similar to those she felt for Niko. But after Sam and his judgmental wife have a “talk” with Maggie, she must hide those feelings. The rigidity of the town’s mores separate Maggie from the other residents. Gossip and insinuations follow her through her difficult life. For decades, Maggie’s true self remains submerged by her secrets, until she is redeemed in Conrey’s vivid prose.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Renee Anderson

    It’s the 1960’s and young Maggie finds herself pregnant, her parents disown her, and her boyfriend is killed in a freak accident. And that’s just the beginning of Maggie’s story. Conrey writes brilliantly, giving us plot twists and turns, and characters that pull you in. Be prepared to stay up all night to finish this powerful story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Goodlittlewitch

    I was provided an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review: Barbara Conrey’s second book “My Secret to Keep” is a compelling story of a girl’s discovery of her sexuality and inner strength as she lives through conservative times in conservative places. It is also a prequel that stands alone from her debut novel, Nowhere Near Goodbye. With her deft writing style, Conrey opens the book with her protagonist, Maggie, as a pregnant sixteen-year old, who’s boyfriend is killed by a hi I was provided an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review: Barbara Conrey’s second book “My Secret to Keep” is a compelling story of a girl’s discovery of her sexuality and inner strength as she lives through conservative times in conservative places. It is also a prequel that stands alone from her debut novel, Nowhere Near Goodbye. With her deft writing style, Conrey opens the book with her protagonist, Maggie, as a pregnant sixteen-year old, who’s boyfriend is killed by a hit-and-run as they wait to see a movie together. Disowned and abandoned by her parents, she flees to her brother in Pennsylvania, only to find that she’s not a welcome guest. Her brother’s wife is as closed-minded as her parents. Maggie, who’s bound and determined to have and keep her baby is challenged at every turn to have an abortion, or give up her child for adoption. Even though we’ve already seen a bit of Maggie’s grit, it features front and center in this first section of the book, as Maggie, quietly but with determination, refuses to cooperate and insists she can take care of her baby. Maggie enrolls in a GED course locally and encounters Anne, a woman unlike any she’s met before. And she starts developing feelings toward Anne that are very like those she had for her boyfriend. Confused, but willing to trust her feelings, Maggie becomes friends with Anne, and is warned away from her by her sister-in-law, who claims that Anne isn’t “natural” and an association with Anne will only harm her in their small, tight-knit conservative community. Maggie’s story progresses, following her life as she loses her baby in a late-term miscarriage and falls in love with, and becomes lovers with, Anne. As promised by her sister-in-law, Maggie becomes an outcast once again, this time for loving the wrong person. But despite the challenges, Maggie continues on her own path, refusing to give in to societal pressures to conform. More of the story will give away too much, but as with Nowhere Near Goodbye, this book deals with big issues and big questions about being true to oneself. I love how Barbara Conrey writes and deeply enjoy her storytelling. This book is a clear-eyed look at bias of many kinds, and how one woman survives and finds her way despite being the victim of bias throughout much of her life. It shows how being true to oneself and one's feelings is key to a satisfying life, even one lived on the fringes of a local community. There are a few places in the book that I think Ms. Conrey could have dug deeper or shown more of the challenges in Maggie’s adult life. Overall, though, the storytelling and writing skill took over for me, and I loved the book as much as I loved her first one.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Densie

    While "My Secret to Keep" is a prequel of sorts to Barbara Conrey's other brilliant book, "Nowhere Near Goodbye," you don't have to have read "Nowhere Near Goodbye" to enjoy Conrey's lush story of love, heartbreak, grief, guilt, redemption and the decision to keep a lifelong secret, once revealed. The story covers the span of 40 years in the life of Maggie Bryan from her teenage years to her fifties with all the ups and downs and life-changing events that tend to happen over 4+ decades, from tee While "My Secret to Keep" is a prequel of sorts to Barbara Conrey's other brilliant book, "Nowhere Near Goodbye," you don't have to have read "Nowhere Near Goodbye" to enjoy Conrey's lush story of love, heartbreak, grief, guilt, redemption and the decision to keep a lifelong secret, once revealed. The story covers the span of 40 years in the life of Maggie Bryan from her teenage years to her fifties with all the ups and downs and life-changing events that tend to happen over 4+ decades, from teenage angst to midlife trauma. It's real, it's emotional, and you won't be able to put it down. I couldn't.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ginny

    Where do I start with a book about family, secrets, lies, love, betrayal, life, death, and so much more? We follow Maggie through four decades as she experiences all of those things and more. Through the beauty of Barbara Conrey’s writing, I felt Maggie’s emotions as she worked through the struggles and triumphs and heartbreaks and joys in this crazy journey called life, during a time when living her truth wasn’t permitted. By the end (and what an ending it is!), Maggie felt like a good friend w Where do I start with a book about family, secrets, lies, love, betrayal, life, death, and so much more? We follow Maggie through four decades as she experiences all of those things and more. Through the beauty of Barbara Conrey’s writing, I felt Maggie’s emotions as she worked through the struggles and triumphs and heartbreaks and joys in this crazy journey called life, during a time when living her truth wasn’t permitted. By the end (and what an ending it is!), Maggie felt like a good friend who I’d known forever rather than just a character on the pages. You will not want to put this book down once you start reading!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dawnny

    This was a heartfelt story about Maggie, a young girl disowned by her parents for getting pregnant,then suffering from the loss of her boyfriend. Maggie goes to live with her brother and finish school where she develops a relationship with a teacher. The story spans fourty years and touches on several issues such as lesbianism, social standards and acceptance. This was a tear jerker and such a compelling story. A great book club read. Dawnny Ruby Novels N Latte Hudson Valley NY

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    "My Secret to Keep" has many secrets to unravel and keeps you guessing to the end. I enjoyed learning the backstory to many of the characters introduced in" Nowhere Near Goodbye" and despite being a prequel, "My Secret to Keep" is a wonderful read as a standalone book and explores relationships on many levels. Highly recommend both books! "My Secret to Keep" has many secrets to unravel and keeps you guessing to the end. I enjoyed learning the backstory to many of the characters introduced in" Nowhere Near Goodbye" and despite being a prequel, "My Secret to Keep" is a wonderful read as a standalone book and explores relationships on many levels. Highly recommend both books!

  20. 5 out of 5

    noorthebookworm

    Trust the process & keep on doing what you need/ ought to do, Noor ❤️. ___ My 2nd read from the author's work & am so glad i read it! ___ An emotional journey through the life of Maggie Bryan, a strong but conflicted woman who, according to society, finds love in all the wrong places. Or does she? -- "Barbara Claypole White ___ In this story, Sam calls Maggie, carrot top, affectionately. Maggie is the main character in this story, a 16 year old girl who accidentally (read ignorance) gets pregnant with h Trust the process & keep on doing what you need/ ought to do, Noor ❤️. ___ My 2nd read from the author's work & am so glad i read it! ___ An emotional journey through the life of Maggie Bryan, a strong but conflicted woman who, according to society, finds love in all the wrong places. Or does she? -- "Barbara Claypole White ___ In this story, Sam calls Maggie, carrot top, affectionately. Maggie is the main character in this story, a 16 year old girl who accidentally (read ignorance) gets pregnant with her boyfriend, Nico & when they go to inform her parents, doors are closed on their face. On the way back, an elderly has a heart attack & rams his car.. Nico dies while saving Maggie. Maggie has nowhere to go but call her brother Sam whom she hasn't seen for past 10 years. Sam lives with his wife & 4 kids..& know his wife would not accept Maggie especially with her pregnancy. What will Maggie do? Will Sam help her? Will she be able to keep her baby? How will she survive? This story kept me reminding of #remindersofhim & #itendswithus & i got totally, emotionally invested in this book. Toxic parents, dead boyfriend, early/ teen pregnancy, single mom to be, helpless girl looking for support, selfish/ mean people, illegal activities, emotions, relationships, sibling relations, relation between two females more than friendship & a secret. It also has a beagle named mist. I remember in the movie #titanic the old lady says..a woman has many secrets embedded in her heart which she never discloses. Well in this story there's a secret, Maggie carries & would probably carry till her grave.. but with the twists & turns & turmoil, am glad after reading the end. It gave some solace to my heart. ___ Beginning in the late 1940s and spanning decades, My Secret to Keep portrays a woman at war with society, her family, and herself.- .

  21. 4 out of 5

    C. D'Angelo

    I’ve longed for a story like this for years- fresh but deep, age-old but current, and heartwarming with an edge. It reminded me of some of my favorite books of all time and one that needs to be a major motion picture! The author seamlessly integrated in multiple themes that filled me with joy because of how many readers will be able to find themselves in the character of Maggie, be it her quiet bravery, her growing self acceptance and confidence, her sexual identity, or her endless caring nature I’ve longed for a story like this for years- fresh but deep, age-old but current, and heartwarming with an edge. It reminded me of some of my favorite books of all time and one that needs to be a major motion picture! The author seamlessly integrated in multiple themes that filled me with joy because of how many readers will be able to find themselves in the character of Maggie, be it her quiet bravery, her growing self acceptance and confidence, her sexual identity, or her endless caring nature for others. The sense of family and love I felt shining through every page will stick with me, as this will be a book I read again and again.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kimberley

    The Story Drew me in and held my attention throughout. An emotional and heartbreaking journey of neglect, lies, loss, mistreatment, confusion, and forbidden love. Well written and developed, it all comes together perfectly. Some secrets are meant to be kept. I loved it!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bookish Heidi

    In this book, we meet Maggie. A stubborn, determined pregnant teen who survives so much more than she should have. She doesn't give in to societal judgement and I adore that about her! Disowned by her own parents, watched the love of her life die in front of her, moves to Amish country to live with her brother, etc. She tough as nails! This story is fantastic! In this book, we meet Maggie. A stubborn, determined pregnant teen who survives so much more than she should have. She doesn't give in to societal judgement and I adore that about her! Disowned by her own parents, watched the love of her life die in front of her, moves to Amish country to live with her brother, etc. She tough as nails! This story is fantastic!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hope Gibbs

    In the late 1940’s, sixteen-year-old Maggie Bryan’s world has turned upside down. Not only has she lost the love of her life in a tragic accident, but her parents have disowned her, throwing her out of their house when she announces she’s pregnant. Left with no options, she moves across the country to live with her brother to await the birth of her child. Although there is a strong bond between the siblings, it’s not an ideal place to live. Maggie’s abrasive sister-in-law is enraged by the prese In the late 1940’s, sixteen-year-old Maggie Bryan’s world has turned upside down. Not only has she lost the love of her life in a tragic accident, but her parents have disowned her, throwing her out of their house when she announces she’s pregnant. Left with no options, she moves across the country to live with her brother to await the birth of her child. Although there is a strong bond between the siblings, it’s not an ideal place to live. Maggie’s abrasive sister-in-law is enraged by the presence of an unmarried teenager in her midst. At every turn, she treats her young guest with as much cruelty as she can muster. But Maggie’s challenging home life isn’t the only thing that weighs her down. The residents of her newly adopted town have a frigid and judgmental attitude toward the newcomer as well. However, Maggie refuses to give in to despair and instead works hard to change her circumstances. Determined to make a better life for her unborn child, she secures employment and returns to school at night to complete her GED. That’s when she meets Anne, a person whose generosity, friendship, and—most importantly—love will alter her life forever. Told through Maggie’s voice, MY SECRET TO KEEP spans four decades. There are several twists along the way, including a big one near the end. This is a compelling read that will immediately capture your attention and will tug at your heart. I should caution you. I recommend having a tissue nearby at all times. Trust me, you will need it. A gripping story. Beautifully written, poignant and meaningful.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susan Ballard

    📖 When Maggie Bryan works up the nerve to tell her parents she’s pregnant, they immediately disown her. Later that night, her boyfriend is killed. In desperation, she turns to her brother, Sam. Against his wife’s wishes, Sam brings Maggie to his home in rural Pennsylvania. While Maggie awaits the birth of her child and navigates the tension in her new home, she decides to finish high school. There, she meets Anne Phillips, a volunteer educator and full-time architect. Over time, Maggie becomes dr 📖 When Maggie Bryan works up the nerve to tell her parents she’s pregnant, they immediately disown her. Later that night, her boyfriend is killed. In desperation, she turns to her brother, Sam. Against his wife’s wishes, Sam brings Maggie to his home in rural Pennsylvania. While Maggie awaits the birth of her child and navigates the tension in her new home, she decides to finish high school. There, she meets Anne Phillips, a volunteer educator and full-time architect. Over time, Maggie becomes drawn to Anne in ways she doesn’t understand, but she knows enough to keep her feelings hidden. After a devastating loss, Maggie tries to move on, but secrets and betrayals keep her from living her fullest life. Beginning in the late 1940s and spanning decades, My Secret to Keep portrays a woman at war with society, her family, and herself. ________________________ I started out with the synopsis because I wasn’t sure how to review this without revealing too much. As it states, the story begins with tragedy. And Maggie’s parents, as is much of society in the 1940s, are very harsh toward pregnant sixteen-year-old Maggie. The story follows Maggie over the course of her life. It deals with Maggie losing so much, trying to find love but having to hide what she truly wants. Topics of grief, shame, friendship, and forgiveness are all woven in wonderfully. Thank you @suzyapprovedbooktours and @barbaraconrey for a spot on tour and a gifted ebook.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Rozier

    Have your tissues handy when you read this one. This book spans about 40 years and takes on a whole bunch of difficult topics which face our main character, Maggie. My heart ached for Maggie during most of this book and she became more than a character on a page to me. I think part of that realness stems from following Maggie through so many years of her life. It’s a journey about a woman who suffers loss and what was at the time an unconventional love. I was unprepared for the ending which made m Have your tissues handy when you read this one. This book spans about 40 years and takes on a whole bunch of difficult topics which face our main character, Maggie. My heart ached for Maggie during most of this book and she became more than a character on a page to me. I think part of that realness stems from following Maggie through so many years of her life. It’s a journey about a woman who suffers loss and what was at the time an unconventional love. I was unprepared for the ending which made me feel a myriad of emotions and I honestly wasn’t ready to let this story go yet. About the Book This is the story of Maggie. Pregnant and thrown out of her house at 16, she goes to live with her brother and his family after her boyfriend is killed in a freak accident. Maggie’s sister-in-law is full of loathing for Maggie and let’s the whole small town know it. Maggie loses her baby in childbirth and is unable to have more children. During this time her night school English teacher, Anne, shows Maggie kindness. As the years pass, Maggie has feelings for Anne and even though they build a life together, Maggie struggles with what society sees as a sin. Maggie also spends her retirement years caring for a child whose mother lacks being maternal. There are secrets and sadness mixed with love and kindness in this book- isn’t that what the real world holds for us too?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patricia McAlexander

    Although beginning in 1948 and spanning four decades, My Secret to Keep portrays issues still vital today, from the mass breeding of beagles for medical or other purposes (so timely—beagle puppies rescued from such a Pennsylvania breeding farm are being adopted right now here in Georgia!) to the social stigma of being an unwed teen mother or a woman in a lesbian relationship (sadly still problems, though perhaps less so than in earlier decades.) These traumas and more—such as the death of a love Although beginning in 1948 and spanning four decades, My Secret to Keep portrays issues still vital today, from the mass breeding of beagles for medical or other purposes (so timely—beagle puppies rescued from such a Pennsylvania breeding farm are being adopted right now here in Georgia!) to the social stigma of being an unwed teen mother or a woman in a lesbian relationship (sadly still problems, though perhaps less so than in earlier decades.) These traumas and more—such as the death of a loved one—are explored as we follow the dramatic story of Maggie Bryan from age sixteen to her senior years. We see how she deals with them—and discovers an amazing secret at the end.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Booksandcoffeemx

    𝘙𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨! What a fantastic story. I started this book and it was simply imposible to put down, what a journey. Beautiful, gut-wrenching, powerful, inspiring; a story about love, family, loss and survival with so much depth that you won’t forget. Loved it. Thank you Suzy Approved Book Tours for this tour invite. 𝗠𝘆 𝗦𝗲𝗰𝗿𝗲𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗞𝗲𝗲𝗽 by Word by Word by Barbara Conrey relased August 23, 2022. https://www.instagram.com/booksandcof... 𝘙𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨! What a fantastic story. I started this book and it was simply imposible to put down, what a journey. Beautiful, gut-wrenching, powerful, inspiring; a story about love, family, loss and survival with so much depth that you won’t forget. Loved it. Thank you Suzy Approved Book Tours for this tour invite. 𝗠𝘆 𝗦𝗲𝗰𝗿𝗲𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗞𝗲𝗲𝗽 by Word by Word by Barbara Conrey relased August 23, 2022. https://www.instagram.com/booksandcof...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lainey Cameron

    I was a fan of Barbara’s first book, Nowhere Near Goodbye, and I enjoyed this one even more! Maggie Bryan, the main character, is easy to love. She's not more than a kid herself when she gets pregnant as a teenager and then loses her fiancé. Disowned by her parents, she seeks refuge in rural and traditional Pennsylvania with her brother’s family, who pressure her to give up the child. Maggie holds fast to her beliefs, and won’t give up the baby. Despite that, she faces the worst heartbreak. And as I was a fan of Barbara’s first book, Nowhere Near Goodbye, and I enjoyed this one even more! Maggie Bryan, the main character, is easy to love. She's not more than a kid herself when she gets pregnant as a teenager and then loses her fiancé. Disowned by her parents, she seeks refuge in rural and traditional Pennsylvania with her brother’s family, who pressure her to give up the child. Maggie holds fast to her beliefs, and won’t give up the baby. Despite that, she faces the worst heartbreak. And as she’s looking to recover, she befriends a teacher, and encounters forbidden love. Forbidden mostly because she cannot accept herself and who she is. The novel raises important questions about why we torture ourselves trying to meet others’ expectations, and realistically portrays a life-long struggle of self-acceptance. My Secret to Keep feels even more personal than the author, Barbara Conrey’s first novel. A poignant read with emotion that pulls you onto the page and into the character’s psyche. As a reader, I experienced all of Maggie’s heartbreak and her happily ever after. An emotional read, full of secrets – both what we hide from others and from ourselves. With an ending that will provoke a great book club discussion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Linda Zagon

    Wow! Barbara Conrey, the Author of "My Secret to Keep" has written such a captivating and heartfelt novel. The genres for this novel are Literary Fiction with some Historical Fiction. The timeline for this novel starts in 1940 and continues for the next several decades. Barbara Conrey describes her dramatic characters as complex and complicated. There are betrayals, tragedies, and twists and turns. The protagonist of the story, Maggie Bryan, lives through heartbreak. She is disinherited and thro Wow! Barbara Conrey, the Author of "My Secret to Keep" has written such a captivating and heartfelt novel. The genres for this novel are Literary Fiction with some Historical Fiction. The timeline for this novel starts in 1940 and continues for the next several decades. Barbara Conrey describes her dramatic characters as complex and complicated. There are betrayals, tragedies, and twists and turns. The protagonist of the story, Maggie Bryan, lives through heartbreak. She is disinherited and thrown out when she tells her parents that she is pregnant. The father of her baby is killed the same day. Maggie is depending on her brother Sam to help her. She still has to finish high school and work. Sam's wife has given Maggie an ultimatum and has made Maggie's life miserable. Maggie finds that her teacher is available to listen to her. After more tragedy, Maggie is determined to move on, and keep her past and present a secret. As I was reading, I was hoping for good things for Maggie. I appreciate that the author discusses the importance of family, friendship, forgiveness, second chances, love, and hope. The author also discusses the difficulties in the 1949s and small towns that often could be difficult for a young woman. Maggie continued to have courage and show hope. I would recommend this memorable and thought-provoking book to others.

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