The Marriage Secret,
by Carey Baldwin
Publication: Bookouture; February 11, 2022
He married me despite my darkest secret. But am I safe now that I know his?
From the outside, my marriage to Zach was perfect: dream home, a perfect baby girl and passionate, all-consuming love. When we met, I confessed my darkest secret to him and he never judged me for it. Instead, he vowed to always protect me whatever the cost.
But as I cradle my gorgeous baby, I have to accept that the husband who used to be my everything, has changed. At first it was little things: expecting me to keep to a strict schedule, picking out my clothes for me. Now, he controls every aspect of my life: from how much money I have, to when I leave the house and who I can see.
One fateful night, a young woman is found murdered and Zach is a potential suspect. Turning towards me, a look of warmth returning to his eyes, he swears he’s innocent, and I realize there is only one solution. If I agree to be his alibi, he will keep my secret and our daughter can grow up in a loving home. In that moment, I do what any faithful wife would do: I stand by him.
But I know deep down, only one of us will make it out of this marriage alive.
A completely unputdownable and twist-filled psychological thriller from USA Today bestselling author Carey Baldwin. Fans of The Wife Between Us, The Marriage and Gone Girl will be totally addicted to The Marriage Secret.
I have been sort of disappointed in thrillers lately, but The Marriage Secret was a page-turner for me and finally, I found a thriller with the surprising twists I have been looking for. Zach and Holly have a picture-perfect marriage and are getting reading for the birth of their daughter, Jolene. But instead of everything being all rainbows and butterflies, Zach is controlling and abusive – mentally and financially. Why does Holly stick it out? The day they were married she told Zach her “horrible secret” and he is holding that and custody of their newborn daughter over her head.
I’m going to start with my criticism, but there isn’t much. Zach had no chance of mental and emotional health as an adult because of the obsessive spoiling by his mother Frances. Good Lord woman, let the child live. Secondly, I was a bit thrown by the amount of money being tossed around in this book. I have known some ob/gyns throughout my lifetime and have never known any that can splurge on an $11,000 vase one day and a $30,000 wardrobe the next. But, oh well. My biggest criticism, however, is the gaslighting plot, especially with a new mother. Haven’t we seen this enough over the past few years? I get it’s always going to be present in thrillers to an extent because the main character has to have doubt, the reader needs doubt, and so on. But the non-stop gaslighting of the new moms has been overused.
What I loved about this novel is for the first time in forever, I was actually surprised by a twist! I had my mind made up for most of the novel and then it reached a point where I was starting to wonder about another character, and then bam, there it was! For months I have felt like I knew “whodunnit” about 30% into a novel so thank you Carey Baldwin for finally throwing some twists in! I also applaud Holly’s POV which made it seem that the entire universe was out to get her, as well as, the wonderful development of Zach’s character making it so easy and wonderful to absolutely despise him.
The Marriage Secret is a delicious thriller that you will not want to put down. There are certainly some expected things that come along, but this one truly surprised me and kept me on the edge of my seat.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!