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Public Secrets Paperback – July 28, 2009

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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. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 439 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553386409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553386400
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (352 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 117 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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44 of 46 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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27 of 27 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michelle888 on July 15, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
PUBLIC SECRETS is an intriguing look into the lives of a little girl who grows up in the world of rock and roll, a life that will shape her future.

Emma McAvoy was barely three when she met her father for the first time and her life was changed forever. Everything was perfect; she had a nice home and lots of people who truly seemed to care about her. Then everything changed when her baby brother was murdered in a botched kidnapping attempt. But after years of living with nightmares, things are finally looking up for her. She's now a successful photographer and is in love for the very first time. Yet once again, Fate deals her a huge blow when the man she marries shows his true colors. Not only is she running away from a disastrous marriage, but also being haunted once more by the memory of her brother's murder.

While this book follows the life of Emma from the time her father plucked her out of poverty, to her awkward and sheltered teenage years where she develops her first crush on Michael (the son of the detective investigating her brother's murder), to the time she carves out a career and falls in love with an abusive musician, there are also subplots featuring her father and the three band members whom Emma grew up with that add some twists and turns to the story. In some ways, it was almost like watching (in this case, reading) a soap opera unfold. Nora Roberts has done well in describing the lives of the characters, including their lifestyle and indulgences - from drugs, alcoholism, infidelity and greed. In some ways I found that the middle of the book was dragged out unnecessarily and wished that more focus were given on the romance between Emma and Michael, and less on the secondary characters.
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