Australian Television True Crime

The Secrets She Keeps: The True Story That Inspired Michael Robotham’s Novel And The Mini Series

Michael Robotham; explained

We didn’t think we’d get to talk about The Secrets She Keeps but we thought last week’s Q&A with author Michael Robotham and the cast was interesting…

Last week, author Michael Robotham detailed how his novel, The Secrets She Keeps came to be during a Q&A with the cast of the television mini series. He once was a journalist in England in the 90s when a story came out about a baby girl named Abbie Humphries who had been stolen at 3 hours old from a hospital.

According to Robotham, unlike Agatha (Laura Carmichael) who plots to steal Meghan (Jessica De Gouw)’s baby, Julie Kelley, the woman who kidnapped Abbie didn’t know the parents. When he wrote The Secrets She Keeps, he decided to have the two protagonists be familiar to each other.

Going back to the Abbie Humphries disappearance, the baby’s parents spent 17 days not knowing if she was alive or dead. Also, the woman stole her had just been dumped by her boyfriend and wanted to stay with him so she lied about being pregnant.

Julie snuck into the hospital, disguised as a nurse confronted Abbie’s father, saying she [Abbie] needed to go for a hearing test. Without thinking twice about it, he did as instructed not knowing his daughter had just been kidnapped. The young woman then walked out with the baby in her arms.

Abbie was later found in a house two miles away from where she’d been kidnapped. Neighbours of Julie Kelley and her boyfriend thought the timing was off. They were told that an ‘ultrasound’ revealed the kidnapper was having a boy. It was this suspicion that lead to the tip off about the baby.

Julie Kelley was arrested but was not sentenced to prison time, receiving probation instead.

How The Abbie Humphries Case Differs From Robotham’s Novel

As mentioned before, the Abbie Humphries case inspired Robotham’s novel and the television mini series. There is also the whole Agatha and Meghan knowing each other versus Julie Kelley not knowing the baby’s family situation.

Another aspect that is also very different is the gender of the child that got taken. The Secrets She Keeps has the stolen infant being a boy. Abbie Humphries was female.

A third aspect that is different between The Secrets She Keeps and the inspiration is the motives for the kidnappings. Julie Kelley said she wanted to keep her boyfriend so she lied and claimed she was pregnant with his child. Meanwhile, Agatha is obsessed with Meghan’s life and follows her every move. She also deems her target selfish for having a third child when already she has two older kids.

Also, Agatha is obsessed with being a mother as she had a stillborn baby with her ex-husband and gave birth to a child as a teenager after she was raped by a church elder. After her divorce, she kidnapped other women’s infants and tried to raise them but they all died.

About Author

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

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