REVIEW: Broadchurch: One More Secret: A Series Two Original Short Story

The latest short story in Erin Kelly's addictive series focuses on Broadchurch's Beth Latimer. Poor Beth has come in for some unfair criticism from certain quarters during the second series of the TV drama, with some people feeling she's been too harsh to tragic heroine Ellie Miller. However I defy anyone who reads this book to feel anything but the deepest sympathy for Beth as we're reminded of exactly what this young mother has lost. Let's not forget this is a woman who's child has been taken from her under the most abhorrent of circumstances. Add to this the fact that she is coping with a newborn baby, the loss of her own mum Liz, Mark's unfaithfulness and the trial of Danny's killer Joe Miller and you can see why she's buckling under the stress and sadness of her situation.
Beth is also being hounded by midwives and health visitors who may want what's best for her, but who are doing nothing but add to the pressure that she is under. She just wants to come home after a day at court and be with her children, Chloe and Lizzie, she doesn't want to fill in their stupid questionaires designed to find out if she's suffering from postnatal depression. So what if she cries a few times a day? It's nothing to do with her beautiful baby, it's to do with the fact that she's lost her child and her mother in a matter of months and has been publicly humiliated by the man she loved. She never lets Lizzie see her cry, she is nothing but smiles for her precious baby girl. She wants nothing but the best for her.

The book really emphasises Beth's lovingly protective nature towards her two daughters. Her maternal instincts are not reserved just for baby Lizzie but also for her teenage daughter Chloe, with whom she enjoys a lovely relationship. Chloe is there as a constant support to Beth, they can communicate what they are thinking to one another without a word being uttered, and share a special bond, but Beth worries that she's leaning on Chloe too much. She is still only a teenager, but she's faced so much heartache for her years.
What Beth really wants is her own mum, Liz. She needs to be protected, to feel cared for. She's lonely. She's lost a lot in such a short space of time.

The book also expands on the scene in episode 6 where Ellie follows Beth out of the courtroom following Mark's shocking confession that he was planning on leaving Beth and the children for Becca Fisher. Beth is understandably distraught. How could the man she loved, the man she had built a home and a family with, want to leave her and their children after a quick bunk up in a car with Becca? Once again she's alone. Ellie's attempts to comfort her are so awkward for both women. Beth is grateful for her old friend's no nonsense approach but she can't forget what's gone before. How did Ellie not know that Joe had killed Danny? She confesses to Ellie about the stress she's under with the health visitor and her fears that social services may get involved. Ellie knows the health visitor she's talking about and explains that she thinks she's helping. There's a slight thaw between the women, but it's going to take more than this for Beth to ever feel she can trust Ellie again. In fact how can Beth trust anyone again?

Later after another terrible day in court Beth is faced with another visit from Patricia, the health visitor, who explains that an old colleague has been in touch with her and she now realises that she should back off and give Beth time to get the court case dealt with, although they'll still be keeping a close eye on her. Her parting shot to Beth is that she's not as alone as she thinks she is. Beth assumes she means Lizzie at first but then it dawns on her who that old colleague was and that Patricia wasn't talking about Lizzie after all.
This further thaw in the relationship between Beth and Ellie is quickly iced over again as Beth notices a light on in the Miller house. Ellie is back home and she now has her eldest child Tom with her too. Jealousy and bitterness over takes Beth again. Why should she be happy at home with all of her children when Beth will never have that again? Why should Ellie, the wife of the man who stole her child and her life away from her, be happy? It just doesn't seem fair to Beth and it seems as though the first tentative steps they took towards rekindling their friendship have already been undone.

You can buy One More Secret online here