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Public Secrets Mass Market Paperback – March 2, 1998

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 481 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (March 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553285785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553285789
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (276 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Complex relationships among a believable ensemble of characters give Roberts's ( Sweet Revenge ) new romantic thriller much of its appeal. Emma McAvoy, daughter of a British rock star, is only six years old when her infant half-brother Darren is murdered in a bungled kidnapping attempt. Emma, the only witness, remembers little of that night, and while investigators determine that someone close to the family was involved, the case is never solved. Nagged by fears for her safety, Emma's father has her trailed by a bodyguard whenever she is not closed away in a private school. But as she grows up, neither guards nor a loving father can protect her from the nightmares and feelings of guilt that torment her. Nor can they shield her from Darren's murderers. Although it concludes with a satisfyingly gripping finale, the mystery is more a recurring element than a driving force, as the story explores the members of McAvoy's rock group, Emma's devotion to her father (who bought custody of Emma from her abusive, alcoholic mother), her destructive marriage and the father-son detective team whose dedication to the McAvoys and this case lasts more than 20 years.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Set to go hardcover?thanks to the success of last year's Sweet Revenge, which was originally released as a paperback?this 1990 romance features the illegitimate daughter of a music icon who discovers she has talents of her own.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It had suspense, romance, and a good story.
For me, the members of Devastation were much more vivid characters than the hero in this story.
D. K. Stokes
As with all her books your rooting for a happy ending.
Liz Padgett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

110 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Anne Cahill on May 8, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A friend loaned me "Public Secrets" a couple of years back, and it took me a few months to get around to reading it -- and only then because I'd run out of all my "usual" authors. Suffice it to say, since then I've been running out and getting my hands on as many NR novels as possible, and it all started because of this page-turning mystery.
Emma McAvoy gets whisked out of poverty and into the glamour of rock-music at the age of 3, but those early years never quite fade away from her memory. She loves and idolizes her rock-star father and also quickly loves her step-mother and her new baby brother. When he is tragically kidnapped, Emma's new world changes again, and she must live with the guilt and the uneasy sense that she knows more than she remembers, and she must force herself to remember to save her own life.
This is a wonderful, "un-put-downable" book, which I subsequently passed on to all MY friends because I liked it so much. Now that I have it back I'm looking forward to reading it again!
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By L. Martin on April 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
At the time PUBLIC SECRETS was written, it was a very different style for Nora Roberts. It wasn't her typical romantic story, but instead dealt with more mystery and intrigue. Little did I know that she would eventually expand on her writing abilities in this area and focus the majority of her new material in the mystery genre.

Public Secrets deals with the life of Emma, a woman with a past containing one of the worst nightmares known to man. Emma's father, Brian McAvoy, is a famous musician who swept into her life at an early age. Emma's mother had gotten pregnant in an attempt to "catch" Brian so she could have the luxury and money that went with his fame. Things didn't work out that way because Brian saw her for what she was - a drug addicted manipulator who hated everyone around her. After Emma was born, her mother used her to get money from Brian but squandered it on drugs, clothes, and other addictions in her life. On a visit, Brian couldn't stand the look in his tiny daughter's eyes any longer and took her away from the rancid apartment, hateful mother, and life of hell that she had been enduring. He then showed her what life could be like. Emma felt like she was on top of the world - she had her father, her new mom, a wonderful home, and the best part was she would soon have a new baby brother.

Several months later, her new, safe world came crashing down around her when a kidnapping attempt went awry and the baby was killed. Typical with this type of story plot, mimicking real life, this event tears the family apart and each character retreats into his/her own world for a time being. The catalyst that brings them back together is when years later Emma begins to remember that fateful night and realizes that she saw the man who killed her brother.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A reader on January 4, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nora outdid herself with this story. Public Secrets is more of a family saga than a traditional romantic suspense novel, although there is romance and there is plenty of suspense. It follows the McAvoys, through the eyes of Emma, from the time she is three years old, through childhood, the school years, marriage, and adulthood. All this against the background of the life of rock-and-roll legends. It is fascinating and compelling. I simply couldn't put it down.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. C. James on February 25, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I expect something Nora Roberts writes, and I pay to read, to have been edited. This Kindle edition may be different, but it had so many errors in it I was distracted and irritated. On top of that, I thought the storyline was good but then the ending was very disappointing and, to me, insulting to her readers in the way the main bad guy/gal - a supposedly intelligent person throughout the book - suddenly turns into an idiot in the attempt to dispatch the main character. I got the feeling that after what I felt was an overly long but basically good story, Nora ran out of creativity in ending the tale. (I've tried to avoid any spoiler here on the ending for those who want to read this book.)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Shaylee on November 25, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was not what I expected at all, not your typical romantic suspense it follows the life of rockstar Brian McAvoy, his band Devastation from the 60's to present time (1990) through the eyes of Emma. At three Emma is recued from her abusive alcoholic mother and drawn into Brian's world with a step mother and a new found family in his band 'Devastation'.

However at age 6 a single botched kidnapping attempt rips the new found family apart leaving Emma a traumatised and battered and broken.

However life goes and the book follows the nightmares and the struggle of the band family and their personal lives in order living in the public eye, and the equally determined efforts of the detectives put on the case which spans 20 years.

Nora Roberts created a wonderful enrapturing surrogate family in the members of the band for Emma, colourful flawed characters with real issues came through, they all shone brightly and there was fascinating character development in all characters.

I particulary liked the story from the point of view of Emma, Nora successfully captured the essence of a maturing woman from the ages 3 to 25, her choices that paved her path through the years. A inside view of drug addicted rockstars was also pushed forward and the sacrifices that the family had to pay that came with their success.

I guessed the ending... but that's nothing new for me. It was an absolute find and I recommend everyone should read it. It was so vivid and real- I had to stop myself from actually looking it up to see if it was based on a real band. REad this book, you won't regret it.
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