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The Secret Keeping, Special Edition Paperback – January 8, 2008

25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


From Books To Watch Out For:

"I find the age-old bookseller question 'what section do I file this book in' rearing its head as I write this review. Is it a romance? Is it fiction? Is it a mystery? The Secret Keeping by Francine Saint Marie does not strictly follow the formula for any particular genre, though there is the girl-wants-girl tension and some high-profile intrigue thrown in for additional spice. But the first part of the book is so quietly elegant and lovely, I placed the review here in the fiction section.

As much as I wanted to discover the secrets in 'Part One: The Waiter,' I also didn't want the suspense to end...the pace of this section is slow but not at all in a tedious way, nor in a manipulative way. It's understated, deliberate, sensual, and compels the reader to good, it's worth picking up The Secret Keeping." --Books To Watch Out For (Volume 3 - Number 8 edition)

From Just About Write Magazine:

"Lesbian literature should become more sophisticated and offer depth in addition to the girl-gets-girl formula. The Secret Keeping meets those criteria." --Just About Write Magazine (April 2007 Issue)

From the Publisher

Note that the Discount Edition of The Secret Keeping (black cover with gold medallion - ISBN 1438206313), is printed in ten point font as opposed to the industry standard eleven. This was done to allow for a more compact and affordable paperback version that would still be highly readable. The content of the Discount Edition is the same, however, as in the earlier editions, and is complete and unabridged.

Published by Fair Trade Productions and BD Books

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing; Special edition (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419682369
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419682360
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,409,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Published in 2006 by the renowned women's press Spinsters Ink, Francine Saint Marie's debut novel "The Secret Keeping" was a LAMBDA Notable Book, a Goldie Award finalist, a semi-finalist for the Independent Publishers Award and an IPPY Bronze medalist. Her popular three-novel LGBT series "The Secret Trilogy" containing her acclaimed debut was nominated for the prestigious Ferro/Grumley literary prize in fiction. She is also the recent recipient of the Green Book Award which honors works of literature that bring greater public awareness to issues concerning the environment. A writer and artist living in New York, Saint Marie's newest novel for young adults "Persuasion" is now available in digital editions at Barnes and Noble and elsewhere. Contact: FifthColumnPress[at]

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Fiction_Fan on November 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
Witty, sexy, and well written, this novel is easily worth the investment of time and money. It was... dare I say... **smart.** And who doesn't love that? The crisp dialogue and evocative descriptive passages drew this reader in. Just be sure to start reading when you have plenty of free time because you won't want to put it down. Best of all, in a world of dull lesbian romance clones, this book was truly unique and the author displayed a voice that was all her own. I'm eagerly anticipating future works from Francine Saint Marie!

What wasn't so great? Not a lot. But here goes... The cover does this book a great injustice. It's so dark and dreary while the novel itself is anything but gloomy. Combine that with the book's ominous title and a book buyer is likely to get a very wrong impression. Ignore these things when purchasing.

The very start of the story moved a tad slow for my tastes. When it picks up steam, it REALLY moves. But a tiny bit of patience is required to get you there.

Finally, the characters have an odd habit of referring to each other by their first and last names. OFTEN. Hearing Lydia Beaumont a million times, instead of just Lydia, got old fast.

These quirks, however,are easily overlooked in the face of solid entertainment.

Overall - a great time!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Donna Quintana on February 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine who is a very picky reader went crazy over this book and insisted that I read her copy. I'm glad I did. The first part seems like a bunch of random musings about Lydia and Helaine, two women who don't even know each other. Then their paths begin to converge and the seemingly unrelated pieces start to make sense.

Before I realized it, I was lulled into an intricate, fast-moving plot. Once the tension starts to build it continues to escalate until the very end. The descriptions of what the women are going through as the story unfolds are made more meaningful and are intensely felt because of the author's skill at defining their mental and emotional makeup at the beginning of the book. As I was flying through the last several pages, my muscles were actually tense. It's quite a reading experience. I returned my friend's book to her, but I've already ordered my own copy. I plan to read it again in a year or two.

Another reader mentioned that the cover doesn't relate very well to the story, and I want to second that. I don't see any connection at all between the cover and the book. In fact, I was put off by the cover and almost didn't read the book because of it. So if there is another printing, a different cover would be beneficial. Meanwhile, remember that "you can't tell a book by its cover."
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Cassie Coleman on February 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
The back cover calls this a "high stakes girl-gets-girl romance." That's an understatement, to say the least. Midway through the book you can see that what appears at first to be a slow start is actually a masterful job of character development. The author skillfully "peels the onion" to show the complexities of the protagonists. Then when things really start moving, you are totally invested in the outcome.

As the plot progresses through increasingly complicated twists and turns, the pace continuously increases. By about three quarters through I had reached the point where every few pages I would think, "I can't believe this is happening," then assimilate the latest turn of events, then read another few pages and do it all over again. Wow.

Although I don't usually go so nuts over an author (click on "see all my reviews" if you think I'm kidding), I honestly believe this one has the writing skills of a seasoned pro. I'm surprised that this is her first published book, and I eagerly await the next one.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Queen's Jester on June 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel is everything the other reviewers have said it is - and it does not disappoint.

The writing style emulates that of the French Realists - and again, in this, it does not disappoint.

The key to enjoying this kind of work, as the other reviewers have mentioned, is patience. Seat yourself in the Frank's Place, and let the story unfold around you. If you try to rush the story along, you will no doubt have trouble seeing past the darkness. Let yourself be the voyeur and you will be ever so inspired by the strength of two women in love.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Marina Kushner on May 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This romance isn't your typical girl gets girl story. The sophisticated story and witty humor make it well worth your effort to wait for the tale to develop.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. Rose on March 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
My original title for this review was going to be "raising the bar for lesbian fiction", but then I thought, well that's just not saying enough, considering where it sits. Francine Saint Marie has not just raised the bar, she's taken it to a different planet. I am currently packing up and planning to move there.

As readers of lesbian fiction, especially romance, we have come to expect, well, not very much. Even when something's good, (i.e. the writing doesn't make us cringe every few pages or so), it's really only mediocre at best. So we settle for second rate, keep our jugs of salt handy as we attempt to maneuver our way through all the 5 star reviews some of you seem to hand out like they are Halloween candy, and keep trying out new authors. Hoping and praying that one day, our luck will change, that out of the abyss will emerge someone with keen discernment and extraordinary talent, ready and willing to indulge us thoroughly. Well, that day has finally arrived, ladies. And what a glorious day it is...

Imagine, if you can, a work of lesbian fiction that leaves nothing to be desired whatsoever... that challenges your intellect, reaches into the unheralded parts of your psyche, and whispers sweet promises to your heart. Imagine prose that is masterfully subtle and invigorating, at times even intoxicating. Imagine dialogue that is intelligent, quick-witted, and never uninspired. Imagine descriptions of love-making that aren't overstated, flagrant and embarrassing, that actually leave something to the imagination but are no less titillating. Imagine having that routine cringe replaced with a contented sigh and an irrepressible grin. Indeed, you can expect no less from Francine Saint Marie's first novel (first novel?!), THE SECRET KEEPING.
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