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Dark Family Secrets Are Revealed in These Books

We loved ‘Knives Out,' so we went searching for books that had similar dark secrets the family tries to keep hidden.
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I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather read about other family’s dark secrets than deal with adult responsibilities most of the time. It’s so dramatic, and the moment when the secrets are finally revealed are some of my favorite moments while reading. The shock towards the end of every mystery following these families is what I’ve been living for recently. So, here are some of the best family secrets I’ve come across recently. And spoiler alert because I might reveal a little bit of the stories.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Penguin Books

Liane Moriarty has a talent for writing stories following families trying to hide some really dark secrets, and The Husband’s Secret is no different. I’ll get to her more popular book later but let me rave about this husband’s hidden past that threw me for a loop.

The Husband’s Secret follows Cecilia after a letter from her presumed-dead husband that throws her life into chaos. And she’s not the only one that the letter reaches – Rachel and Tess are brought into the mess, too. You won’t believe what’s in the letter!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Penguin Books

To be completely honest, I would not have picked this book up if Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington hadn’t done a fantastic job in the show. And yes, I was judging the cover, but I’m so glad I read through it. And the series is just as impressive as Celeste Ng’s book.

In Little Fires Everywhere, both Mia Warren and Elena Richardson are hiding something – and it’s all about to come out whether they want it to or not. Set in a suburban neighborhood, the community is about to get a lot more drama than any of the neighbors signed up for when they moved there.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Broadway Books

I’ve always been a bit scared to pick up Gillian Flynn’s book just because they mess with my head, but I loved reading Dark Places. I honestly think I loved it more than Gone Girl, Flynn’s other famous mystery novel. I just wish I had loved the film based on this book more.

Dark Places follows Libby, a woman who witnessed her mother and sisters being murdered. Somehow, she survived and sent her brother to prison for it. Now, a group of obsessed people has contacted her; she’s taking a chance to get some money for her trauma. But is her story as solid as it seems?

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Penguin Books

Let’s talk about Moriarty’s other novel that I couldn’t get enough of. I only found Moriarty’s works because of the show based on Big Little Lies. And I am so happy I did. I don’t think there’s been a novel following family secrets as much as this.

Big Little Lies is set in a town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Or do they? Madeline, Celeste, and Jane’s lives are entwined when Jane moves to town. Each has a secret they want to keep buried, but some secrets aren’t meant to be held.

Read More: Nicole Kidman Teases ‘Big Little Lies’ Season Three: We ‘Have a Really Good Idea’

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars and Family of Liars by E. Lockhart
Delacorte Press | Hot Key Books | Random House

The Sinclair family in We Were Liars have been hiding something from Cadence for the last two-ish years. She tries hard to remember, but a traumatic head injury just won’t let her. With the help of her cousins, she manages to dig up what happened in her fifteenth summer at Clairmont.

This is the only book on this list that I couldn’t finish, but I will admit the mystery was gripping. The writing style was the main reason I had to put it down, but it’s not too bad. The second book following another generation in the Sinclair family will be out next year.

The second novel, Family of Liars, will follow Cadence’s mother and aunts. Like Cadence’s story, a tragedy shook the family during summer vacation. What ensues leads almost directly into the family we met in We Were Liars. I hope I enjoy it more than the first book.

The Lake House by Kate Morton

The Lake House by Kate Morton
Atria Books

Kate Morton has found her niche with writing stories following families with something to hide. And while there are plenty to choose from, I had to talk about The Lake House. It’s been my favorite from Kate so far, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Seventy years after a baby’s disappearance, Sadie Sparrow accidentally uncovers the case. She decides to get to the bottom of it. But what she finds may reveal secrets her whole family has been hiding for decades. What do you think happened to the missing baby?

The Family Plot by Megan Collins

The Family Plot by Megan Collins
Atria Books

What would you do if you discovered a body in your father’s burial plot? For Dahlia in The Family Plot, it means she’s finally found her twin brother, who’s been missing for a decade. While the crime-obsessed family tries to solve the mystery, Dahlia may have uncovered even more secrets she didn’t know her family had.

You won’t be able to stop thinking about the secrets in this book. I sure haven’t, and I read this book months ago. I think the main reason I loved the family despite their flaws was that they loved true crime as much as I do. Adding that to the novel really took it to another level for me. Can someone make this a movie already?

The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao

The Majesties and Under Your Wings by Tiffany Tsao
Atria Books | Penguin Random House

Published initially as Under Your Wings, Tsao’s The Majesties will keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out what’s been hidden. Following Gwendolyn’s narrative was my favorite part because I find fighting through amnesia fascinating.

The Majesties follows Gwendolyn as she tries to remember what happened to cause her coma. Estella poisoned the family, but why? When did she start planning it, and what caused her to finally snap? And did she genuinely know her family?

These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card

The Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card
Simon & Schuster

To be completely honest, I picked up this book when I was on a ghost-related binge-read session. And while this book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting (because I didn’t read the description), I will say it was an exciting read that I might revisit sometime this year.

Stanford Solomon isn’t who everyone thinks he is. He’s really Abel Paisley, Stanford’s best friend. And now, his daughter, who thinks Abel’s dead, is about to take care of him on his death bed. Everything that happens in the story is because Abel chose to become someone he’s not.

The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor

The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor
HarperTeen

I picked up The Paper Girl of Paris without knowing anything about it because I thought it would be like 13 Little Blue Envelopes. And while there are hidden secrets in a European setting, there’s nothing else similar about these two books.  

The Paper Girl of Paris follows Alice in present-day Paris and Adalyn living in Paris during World War II. Alice is trying to solve the mystery of her grandmother’s abandoned apartment. And Adalyn joins a resistance group, meeting Luc in the process. Both characters’ love stories and the mystery held me tight in their clutches.

The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon

The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon
Mira Books

The Neighbors follows a couple as they come to terms with the secrets they’ve been hiding for twenty years. Abby thinks she’s responsible for the accident that took her brother. But Nate’s been hiding the fact he was the driver that hit them. When Abby’s ex moves next door, a few secrets are bound to come out.

There are so many books about people spying on their neighbors and causing havoc. This book takes that a little farther and adds secrets between husband and wife that could drive them apart. It’s full of drama, and you won’t be able to put it down.

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Wildfire

There has never been a book that made me want to avoid boarding schools as much as The Broken Girls. The supposed haunting of the school combined with a seemingly-solved murder just gave me the creeps. But I couldn’t stop reading despite the chill it sent down my spine.

Idlewild Hall is being restored twenty years after Fiona’s sister was murdered on the grounds. Girls had been going missing for decades, but Fiona is set on uncovering what really happened. But what she discovers is a bit more horrifying than she could have imagined.

Read More: ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Spinoff Announces Cast

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

The Good Daughter and Last Breath by Karin Slaughter
William Morrow Paperbacks | HarperCollins

The Good Daughter follows Charlotte trying to keep her past buried when another tragedy strikes near home. Almost thirty years prior, Charlotte managed to survive a home invasion that cost her her sister and mother. This book had twists and turns I never saw coming. There’s also a prequel titled Last Breath.

I honestly didn’t know what to think when I picked up this book, but I enjoyed it. Like most of the books, I grabbed in the last few years, I didn’t know anything about it. I just knew Karin Slaughter was popular, and this book had come on my TikTok page too many times to ignore it.