Our time at Netgalley is at an end, and we are no longer offering reviewers and readers free access to our novels.
It's been an interesting experiment, and one that has been affirming - readers who don't know us seemed to have enjoyed the Hookline novels. Last week I detailed the feedback on our crime novel, What Lies in the Dark.
Today, we'll look at the response to The Secret Mother by Victoria Delderfield.
Out of 11 reviews, five gave the novel 5 stars, with seven offering 3 or 4 stars and only two readers giving it 1 or 2.
And here's what the reviewers thought:

“A heart-wrenching novel.a page turner .How far will a mother go to be with and protect her child.”


“I have read many books about China, pre revolution, during the revolution but this one gave me an insight into the economic revolution.  It is the story of Mai Ling a 16 year old girl fighting to try and make her life better despite the way women are treated in China during this time. The story is also about the twins she gave up and when grown up go back to China to try and understand why? I was hooked all the way and would definitely recommend this book.”


“I absolutely loved this book. It had some great characters and the contrasts of cultures between China and Manchester made it different from any other book I've read. I would definitely recommend this book.”


“The Secret Mother is a book about women's conditions in China, loss, family, and motherhood. It is an interesting story, however it is not a light read, that kind of book that you read to feel better. It covers dark themes, and most of the times is quite sad.
I've never read a book set in China, or when the protagonists is a Chinese women. One of the reasons why for me this novel was so intriguing.

Overall, an interesting novel. I recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary, and likes to read about family, motherhood, adoption, and life's hardships.”


“To escape a traditional Chinese marriage, Mai Ling escapes from her family and small village where her life is already laid out for her. Working in a city factory exposes her to trials she had never imagined, including motherhood. This heartfelt, well-written book is an eye opening look at modern day China and what a girl is forced do to survive.”


“The history and the atmosphere created in The Secret Mother is mesmerising.  Mai Ling has her life mapped out for her by her parents when at the age of sixteen she is introduced to her future husband. But Mai Ling is no ordinary teenage girl, she has a spirit and a strong determination not to become the woman that generations have become before her. So she runs, from the life and from her family. Turning her back on everything she has been prepared for but she soon realises that society is never straight forward and trying to live a new life isn't so easy when your past is your constant shadow.
This is a brilliant portrayal of the sometimes horrific stories regarding China and its families that we so often hear on the news, but never really consider the consequences to, and is definitely worth a read.”