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The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes [Kindle Edition]

Diane Chamberlain
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (361 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child.

CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she knows what happened to her missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die in order to protect a lifetime of lies.

Editorial Reviews


"Chamberlain has penned another compelling women's novel with characters who become real through their talents, compassion, and indiscretions." -- Booklist on Her Mother's Shadow

"Here, as in previous offerings, Chamberlain creates a captivating tale populated with haunting characters." -- Publishers Weekly on Summer's Child

"The story . . . unfolds organically and credibly, building to a touching denouncement that plumbs the nature of crimes of the heart." -- Publishers Weekly on The Bay at Midnight

"The story offers relentless suspense and intriguing psychological insight, as well as a satisfying love story." -- Publishers Weekly on Breaking the Silence

"This page-turner will please those who like their stories with as many twists and turns as a mountain road." -- Publishers Weekly on The Courage Tree

About the Author

Diane Chamberlain is the bestselling author of twenty novels, including The Midwife's Confession and The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes. Diane lives in North Carolina and is currently at work on her next novel. Visit her Web site at and her blog at and her Facebook page at

Product Details

  • File Size: 381 KB
  • Print Length: 501 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0778328546
  • Publisher: MIRA; Reprint edition (April 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0037NB77W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,552 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diane Chamberlain writes another 5 star book! June 7, 2006
One of my regrets about finishing a Diane Chamberlain book is that because I have read all of her other titles, I now now have to wait for the next one to be published. But as I wait patiently for the newest book, the anticipation builds since I almost always love her next book. And The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, Ms, Chamberlain's newest book is no exception. As I turned the last page, I realized that this title which is the 16th book I've read by this author, will always be among my favorite books by an author whose books I always enjoy.

CeeCee Wilkes is 16 and alone in the world when she meets a man who sweeps her off her feet. As she becomes more and more involved with him, he tells her about his sister who is in prison and asks her to help him to negotiate her release. Never thinking that this man's sister may have killed somebody not the way he described it, CeeCee goes along with a plan to kidnap the Governor's wife in an attempt to ransom this man's wife for his sister's release. But Tim hasn't told CeeCee the truth and playing on her innocence, she becomes involved thinking the kidnapping will last a few hours and ultimately an innocent woman will go free. Unfortunately, for all involved things go terribly wrong and CeeCee is forced to run to another state, change her name and assume a whole new identity with a forged birth certificate. CeeCee manages to graduate from college and becomes a therapist, marries and has a family all the while hiding her secret from everyone. And while the Governor's wife's body was never found, one day 28 years later during the construction of a development, the remains of the Governor's wife are found setting forth a not only a trial of the man who conned CeeCee at 16 but also a floodgate of emotions for CeeCee.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secrets, lies and courage... November 24, 2009
What a great read! I really enjoyed this mystery about a woman who risks everything to finally do the right thing.

The story takes the reader back to 1977 and unfolds over a span of 20 years, but starts when Corinne sees her mother, Eve, on television confessing to intimate knowledge about a long ago kidnapping and disappearance of a pregnant woman named Genevieve Russell. Construction crews have unearthed Genevieve's remains and have arrested and charged a man with her murder.

CeeCee Wilkes is 16-years-old when she is seduced by an handsome older man, Tim Gleason, and is manipulated into helping him and his brother with the crime. Left to guard the prisoner at a remote cabin in the woods, events transpire that force CeeCee on the run with the newborn infant in tow. Unable to bring herself to leave the little girl with her father, CeeCee makes a decision to raise the child as her own. Years pass. CeeCee, now known as Eve, has created a pleasant, comfortable life for herself and thinks she has moved far beyond those days in the forest -- so far that she has almost forgotten that they ever happened.

This is a wonderfully intimate portrayal of family relationships and the love a mother has for her daughter. I really liked the characters in this book -- flaws and all. (Also found it interesting that Eve had rheumatoid arthritis -- as does the author).

This is only the second novel I've read by Diana Chamberlain, and I can say that she has definitely become an author whose books I need to go back and find and read. Next up for me is Breaking the Silence.

I loved this story about secrets, lies, and courage. Highly recommended!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully captivating and enthralling March 22, 2006
I have read all of Ms. Chamberlain's books and "The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes" is one of her best. The story had me hooked from the first page and kept me enthralled to the very last word.

The story is told from the point of view of a frightened, naive sixteen-year old girl who is transformed, literally overnight, into a single mother with adult responsibilities. She spends the better part of thirty years looking over her shoulder and hiding a secret that will affect everyone with whom she comes in contact, especially her beloved daughter.

If you are fan of Diane Chamberlain this book is a must read.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I read a few reviews that told too much of this story and I want to avoid that so I'm going to try to only tell stuff you learn in the early going. Cee Cee is a sixteen year old girl who is living on her own after losing her mom at age eleven and being moved out of foster care since she graduated high school early. She is vulnerable and in need of love so she falls for a sweet-talking guy who ultimately convinces her to assist him in kidnapping the governor's wife, a move he suggests will save his sister who is on death row. The plan goes awry and Cee Cee goes into hiding where she becomes Eve. From the preview-style present day prologue, the reader knows her adult daughter learns her mother has held secrets when Eve steps forward nearly thirty years later after her former boyfriend is accused of murder.

I sat at a three and a half stars through most of this book. It held my attention and was an enjoyable read but I wasn't overly wrapped up in it....I didn't look forward to reading it each night but I wasn't anxious for it to be over either. Most of the book focuses on Eve as she builds a life with her past a secret to everyone. Eve interested me and she showed a lot of growth from the teenager she'd been. The last third focused on her daughter and that's where the book dropped off for me. I didn't like Corrine, which isn't always a deal-breaker for me but became one since she simply didn't ring true to me. I didn't believe in her phobias, her falling out with her family (evident from the preview so not a spoiler), or her relationship with her boyfriend. It took the book down to three stars.

This might be a decent airplane passed the time and held my interest but didn't command my full, undivided attention and I'd have no problem putting it away if the plane landed mid-chapter.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book with surprises
A co-worker suggested I read this book and I'm glad she did. It was a very different book than I typically read, but really good. It was not predictable. Read more
Published 22 hours ago by J. Horton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I loved this book. I am eager to read more of her writing. It was captivating from the first page.
Published 5 days ago by Kat Mac
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Love all of her books
Published 7 days ago by GB
4.0 out of 5 stars The book is great. The copy was yellowed
The book is great. The copy was yellowed, and that wasn't mentioned....but, who can argue for the price. The transaction was quick.
Published 8 days ago by Booksandcoffee
5.0 out of 5 stars Still thinking about this book.
Love this book. The story is great but not so intense that it was a difficult read. A spring break perfect book.
Published 8 days ago by ami nowosad
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing story
This book was recommended to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the rich detail and descriptions of the places and events. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Loretta M. Patino
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love just about everything this author writes. Another great book by Diane Chamberlain.
Published 13 days ago by Donna M Crowell
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER WINNER
Diane Chamberlain always delivers a can't-wait-to-get-back-to mystery.
Published 15 days ago by Barbara
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put this book down
Loves this book! This is my third Diane Chamberlain novel after Necessary Lies and The Midwife's Confession. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Sanban29
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love all her book's!!!
Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

I grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey where, at the age of twelve, I wrote several dreadful novellas, read and admired only by my family. When college rolled around, I forgot about writing and received my bachelor's and master's degrees in Social Work from San Diego State University. I was a hospital social worker in San Diego, and later in Washington DC. I also had a private psychotherapy practice working mainly with teenagers. All the while, I was writing on the side. I viewed my writing as a hobby, but it quickly became a passion. I finally decided to take a class in 'writing the novel.' I was very shy about showing my work to the instructor, but when I finally did, he loved it! He encouraged me to aim for publication and I decided to go for it. A few years later, my first novel, PRIVATE RELATIONS, was published.

Since then, I have become a USA Today and London Times bestselling author. I've written about a book a year- twenty-three at last count. I now live in North Carolina, the beautiful state where many of my books are set and where I'm ten minutes from my grandbabies. I share my life with my soulmate, John, who's a photographer as well as my muse, and with my two shelties, Keeper and Jet.

Are you wondering what my books are about? One of my readers in Japan had this to say about my work: "You make me believe life is beautiful even if it is full of pain and rage." Her words touch me deeply. They hang on the wall above my computer and help me remember exactly what it is I'm trying to achieve in my stories. I hope you'll enjoy them.

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