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4.4 out of 5 stars
Don't Say A Word
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155 of 160 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Radio disc jockey Julia DeMarco's fiance, Michael, is pressuring her to set a wedding date. Julia's mom died six months ago, her younger sister, Liz, moved in with her and her step-dad is drinking. None of them seem to be coping very well and Julia's reluctance to commit is understandable.

But when Julia sees a famous photo taken 25 years ago of a Soviet orphan girl, she thinks *she* might be that girl, which means her concept of who she is will be altered.

Julia begins investigating by finding Alex Manning, the son of the photographer. The photographer died 25 years ago. As a free lancer, Alex has followed in his father's footsteps. Julia and Alex work together to solve the mystery.

Interesting premise and good plot with some surprising twists. Julia and Alex are smart and mature. Liz was a spoiled brat and Michael was a pushy, controlling jerk - not likeable characters. If there's to be a sequel about them, I'm not interested. Ignore them and this story will hold your attention.
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106 of 112 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't Say A Word is one of the best books I've read all year. It had just the right amount of romance and suspense. Sometimes in romantic suspense, I feel like the mystery takes over, but there was a nice balance in this book. I loved Julia and Alex. They were a great couple with lots of chemistry. The mystery kept me guessing and kept me turning the pages. Once I got started reading I couldn't put the book down. I highly recommend it!
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101 of 108 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
Julia DeMarco takes a break from wedding plans to peruse a famous photo exhibit and hones in on a photo of a toddler in a Russian Orphanage who bears a striking resemblance to her. When she contacts photojournalist Alex Manning, the son of the attributed photographer, she is taken on an odyssey that will forever change her life. With no recollection of her life prior to her deceased mother marrying her stepfather Gino, Julia wants to resolve the 25 year old mystery before she and Michael can walk down the aisle. Michael wonders if this is not Julia's way of postponing their engagement.

At first supportive of her search, Michael soon is jealous of Alex's presence in Julia's life and wants her to abandon the search - a search that might tear her family apart as she travels across the country to find answers to questions no one wants answered, and some have died to keep hidden. She and Alex get involved with some shady characters along the way and learn a lot more about both their tortured pasts than they could have imagined, as well as a growing desire for each other. But can a traveling man like Alex relinquish his heart and settle down?

Freethy has penned another interesting romantic suspense. Alex and Julia make an intriguing duo; other characters have such limited page time that they end up one pretty dimensional, particularly Michael and Gino. Her younger sister Liz is just annoying. These shortcomings detract from the story a little, but the intriguing plot still makes for a compelling story.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2011
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
One of the things I most enjoy about being a new Kindle owner/reader is the ability to instantly download a sample, and, in the process, often dicover an amazing "new" author. DON'T SAY A WORD was such an experience for me. This book was fast paced, fun, suspense-filled and provided surprising twists and turns. A capativating read; I could not put it down. It was such a delight to discover Barbara Freethy. I actually first read SUMMER SECRETS, and was drawn to it because of my love of sailing and the sea. I soon became enthralled with the story line and Barbara's writing style, which so warmly invites one into the story. When I finished it, I immediately searched for another Barbara Freethy novel, thinking that the next one I selected could not possibly be as good as SUMMER SECRETS. What a wonderful surprise to find another of her books that was equally satisfying. Can't wait to download more of Barbara's work. I am looking forward to many more hours of entertainment and reading pleasure! Don't Say A Word (Signet Novel)
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Julia DeMarco is grateful to Michael, her fiance, for remaining at her side during her mother's illness and, later, death. So, she finally decides to book a date for the wedding after a year long engagement. While in a museum (the tentative wedding location) waiting to speak with the coordinator, she sees a deceased photographer's display showing a photo of a Russian girl in front of an orphanage bearing a striking resemblance to herself. She can't help but wonder if that is her since she has no memories from her early childhood and the little girl is wearing the same necklace her mother gave her as a child.

Julia begins her search by locating the photographer's son, Alex Manning, to discuss the photograph. Alex too is shocked by the striking resemblance of Julia to the little girl. Alex recalls his father telling him never to speak of the photograph prior to his 'accidental' death twenty-five years earlier. After his father's death, Alex put his "heart on ice" and became a dedicated photographer whose sole mission is to get the shot no one else can. Julia and Alex unite in a fast paced quest to find the truth about the little girl and the mystery behind the circumstances surrounding the photograph.

Michael, jealous of her time with Alex, wants Julia to stop the search and commit to the wedding plans. Julia's sister, Liz, feels it is a betrayal to search for biological parents/family since she has received nothing but love and acceptance her entire life. Julia continues her search regardless and, together with Alex, they unravels a series of lies and half-truths that eventually lead them both to the truth neither of them expected.

With a series of twists and turns, DON'T SAY A WORD tells an excellent tale of suspense with a little romance along the way. The characters all develop throughout the novel. Liz can easily frustrate the reader, but she eventually settles down and stops being a nag. After all, she's in the story so the reader doesn't feel completely horrible about Julia and Michael. Alex and Julia are an excellent match. Julia learns, not only about her past, but about her true feeling for Alex, Michael and her future. The chemistry between Julia and Alex is undeniable and leads the reader to wonder if Julia is the one who can thaw his heart.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Was prepared to give this a go because the set-up was quite interesting but ..oh my god.. the writing style was "this happened and then this happened and then this happened..." - basically a police report.
No character depth or development to speak of, and the set up turned out to not be the set up but the entire plot repeated and dragged out endlessly to no real point. Seriously disappointing.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I usually choose books based on ratings/reviews. I RARELY stop reading mid-book, however I only made it to chapter five before giving up. This reads like it was written by a third grader. I know that sounds harsh, but the story line is dull, the characters are token and predictable, and character interaction is painfully slow. A good reminder that ANYONE can "write" a book these days.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Julia DeMarco has suddenly discovered that everything she knows about herself may be a lie. Is her mother really her mother? And her sister?

Along the way she also evaluates her engagement, her relationship with her family, and discovers several unknown relatives along with a new love interest.

I discovered Barbara Freethy's books this weekend and I am hooked. Truly enjoyable, suspenseful books.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I thought it was poorly written. To repeatative. Moved slowly. First book of hers I have read, think it will be the last. Sorry wish I could say something positive, but I really did not enjoy the book. Ending was not a surprise.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In San Francisco twenty-eight years old Julia DeMarco and her fiancé Michael Graffino visit the Palace of Legion of Honor where they will hold their wedding. While their planner is occupied and Michael is conducting business on his cell phone, Julia hears music so she investigates. She sees a photographer of a three or four year old girl looking through the gates of an overseas orphanage, who looks like her. The girl wears a necklace identical to hers and Julia wonders if the girl is her even though she never left the country.

Michael laughs at her thoughts. However, she decides to investigate starting with the photographer Joe Manning who died one day after he shot the Russian girl. She visits Joe's son, also a photographer, Alex who remembers his dad's dire warning to forget the picture; the next day dad was murdered. Still Julia needs to know who the girl is and begins to make inquires over the objections of her family and Michael. Unable to resist Alex assists her. What she learns will shake her belief system to its core.

DON'T SAY A WORD is a fabulous romantic suspense thriller with the emphasis on the amateur investigation as Julia slowly peels away the lies done out of love to protect her to obtain the truth. Julia is a great protagonist struggling with one revelation after another while disbelieving that people she loves and trusts fabricated her history. Two fabulous final twists involving the girl in the picture will leave readers saying the word to other fans about this fine novel and demanding more such tales from Barbara Freethy.

Harriet Klausner
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