A Secret Wish tells the stories of three different women, each of whom make a wish on their birthdays. Liz wishes for love, Carole for her family back and Angela to start a family. As the novel progresses, each woman has the chance to re-examine her life and find what they are looking for.
Liz is getting over a long term relationship and spending a quiet minute on the hospital rooftop where she works as a nurse. She’s having a birthday cupcake when she is interrupted by a handsome stranger. He calls himself John and although he is aloof and Liz can tell he’s holding in his own issues, he and Liz spend a whirlwind night together and along the way, John helps Liz face some difficult issues.
Carole is spending her fortieth birthday at a big event thrown by her husband. As she is blowing out her candles, she realizes she hardly knows anyone there. She wishes for her family back. Her journey leads her to her childhood home and the mother she abandoned years ago and her high school sweetheat. Together they make Carole see the woman she used to be and the woman she wants to be.
Angela has been trying to have a baby for eight long years. She only wants a quiet night with her husband where she plans on discussing another round of IVF. Instead she walks into a surprise party thrown by her overbearing family. Angela walks out after her husband tells her he can’t continue to try and watch her suffer any longer. As Angela is wandering aimlessly, she seeks out the one place she has avoided for years, church. There she talks to her childhood best friend turned priest and blurts out her problem. She is lost but as the priest tells her God loves a challenge.
Each woman spends the night of their birthday on a journey of self-discovery and although they may not end up with what they thought they needed, they end up with something maybe even better.
This was the first novel I’ve read by Barbara Freethy and although it is not what I expected, I did enjoy it. It’s a short book, more like a novella and it’s a light, quick read.
The characters are somewhat predictable and their journeys aren’t surprising. I loved Liz and John and would have liked more of their story (perhaps a full novel). The other two started out un-interesting for me but on reflection I think it was because I was wrapped up in Liz’s story. I did grow to like Carole and I was happy with the path her choices led her. Angie just never connected with me.
Freethy’s writing style is light and she tells a good story but I would have liked to see more development in the relationship’s each woman formed on her birthday. Especially Liz and John, they have the potential to be really great characters.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a review. Overall, it was an ok read but not one I would read again.