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The Secrets They Kept Paperback – September 23, 2011
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About the Author
More About the Author
Above all, she is a writer, having published two books to date, It Takes An Egg Timer, A Guide to Creating the Time For Your Life and a novel, The Secrets They Kept. She blogs at www.joannetombrakos.com on demystifying digital for you and your brand. Her writing has also appeared in The Huffington Post, ForbesWoman and BlogHer.
For more information: www.joannetombrakos.com
Top Customer Reviews
The plot, in black and white, doesn't really sound that compelling, but, the emotions that emerge from this Pandora's box of secrets, kept for so long, pack such a powerful punch, you are kept well and truly glued to the pages. Yiannis Poulous had no idea his humble request would bare some truths and make those whose lives he entered look at themselves very closely. He had no idea how some revelations would improve fragile relationships.
This is written with sincerity and feeling. Each and every character means something to you and you care deeply how each will fare. The threads of Greek culture and religious beliefs woven into the tale, and their importance, add dimension and interest to the drama.
Although an excellent debut, however, I really would urge the author to ensure her next novel is better edited than this one. There were endless errors which were irritating (amongst them a name change for poor old Giuseppe Mazzini who became Manzini). But the writing was good, the story well structured, the characters well developed, so there was plenty to keep me happy! Certainly an author to keep an eye out for.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review it.
The book's premise looked very interesting to me. It really did exceed my expectations and I enjoyed delving into the secrets of the Poulose family. The book was written and well researched. I enjoyed learning more about the Greek Orthodox beliefs and practices. The Greek traditions were richly represented and my mouth watered most times when the author mentioned the delicious Greek food!
The characters were complex yet relatable. I especially enjoyed the depiction of the mother-daughter relationship between Kristina and Elena. Their relationship was particularly dysfunctional. Elena's realization that she acts more like her mother than she realizes and how that affects her current relationships was well-written.
There were times when I wanted to throttle Elena and times I wanted to hug her. She was so wrapped up in protecting herself from love that she was missing out on being loved.
The secrets mentioned in the book aren't earth shattering. It's really how they affect each of the characters. They become larger than life and end up changing the way that the whole family relates to one another.
The author uses a series of flashbacks to describe events that happens to the characters as they relate to Yannis. I enjoyed the historical times explored during these flashbacks and wished I could have spent more time there.
Once the reader is aware of Kristina's secret especially I did feel like the plot began to lag as Kristina repeatedly shut down and refused to talk to Elena about Yannis. The first few times were understandable but the longer it went on the less patient I was with Kristina and the process of revealing the secret to Elena.
However, the relational redemption that Kristina and Elena experienced more than made up for the slight plot lag in my opinion.
This was an enjoyable book. Recommended!
In THE SECRETS THEY KEPT, a debut novel, Joanne Tombrakos presents the story of Elena Poulous, an attorney and member of a Greek-American family rich in tradition and large with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, living and dead. Elena struggles to get to the bottom of her family's secrets, and in so doing, she connects to life.
The story opens with a surprise. The police knock on the door of her New York apartment and inform her of the death of a stranger who claimed her as his next of kin. As Elena begins to settle his affairs, she encounters a web of secrets that her family members have worked a lifetime to keep buried. In the end, she and others begin to change.
The recent past is brought to life through a box of letters found in the dead man's apartment, a Pandora's box if there ever was one:
"She smelled the odor of it before she saw it. Musty, almost mildewy. There it sat, not a yard away from her. It was just a small square cardboard box with a lid."
Because of the author's sense of storytelling, objects like the letter box take on a symbolic presence: a ring, a baby carriage rocking precariously on a dock, the triune number in liturgy, and, in Central Park, the bust of Giuseppe Mazzini.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Secrets They Kept by Joanne Tombrakos is a book so far out of my comfort zone that I'm not sure how exactly to describe it. Read morePublished on December 18, 2012 by bookblogger
i had high hopes for this book when i started reading it but i felt the story line was too dragged out and the secret kept wasn't such a BIG secret after all. Read morePublished on September 18, 2012 by concepta moran
I really liked all the characters in the book. They were varied and each had their own individual flaws that made the story more interesting. Read morePublished on May 27, 2012 by A. Lowdermilk
This book was like a warm cup of cocoa on very cold day. It squeezes your heart just a tad and might just make your eyes mist over. Read morePublished on May 20, 2012 by Cheryl M-M
This is a fantastic story of how things hidden or left unsaid can take a toll not only on the people keeping the secrets but also on their relationship with those around them. Read morePublished on April 29, 2012 by Kenetha Stanton
The Secrets They Kept is a poignant, moving portrait of a close-knit Greek immigrant family and their descendants, including the second generation who is, in part, breaking away... Read morePublished on April 14, 2012 by R. Lee Holz
Growing up in Queens, I can hear the voices, and see the characters of Joanne Tombrakos' novel on every corner. Read morePublished on March 4, 2012 by Scruffy1
I enjoyed "The Secrets They Kept". It is the story of a Greek family and how secrets from the past impacted lives in the present time. Read morePublished on March 3, 2012 by C. Hooper
A very well written book that kept me up late nights to follow Elena (the main character) on her journey through her family's past. Read morePublished on March 2, 2012 by Colleen