Past Secrets by Cathy Kelly

 Past Secrets is the story of three Irish women living on tranquil Summer Street. Christie, an art teacher, who lives a comfortable life with her husband, ties together this story as she helps her neighbours through their struggles finally realizing that she must face up to secrets of her own. Her neighbour, Faye, is a hardworking single mother who has foregone her own personal happiness to bring up her daughter, Amber.  However Amber has her own ideas and runs away to America with her boyfriend, leaving her mother devastated. Then there is Maggie, who returns home to Summer Street, and is forced to overcome her high school insecurities.

 This is a gentle story with kind, caring characters and nicely written for a light read. The storyline is similar to a Maeve Binchy novel, but it is not as satisfying as it lacks depth. The author has a bad habit of re-stating the obvious which slows the pace of the book and makes it repetitive, which is unfortunate as the characters are warm and generous.