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A Secret Kept Hardcover

3.4 out of 5 stars 377 customer reviews

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Midair
Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004LQ0E3C
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (377 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #956,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Denise Crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really enjoyed this very interesting story about a French family and the unraveling of the "secret" that was at the heart of the mystery in this novel. Although set in modern day France, the narrative has a timeless quality about it as a forty-ish, newly divorced man, Antoine Rey, starts investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of his mother, Clarisse, after his sister Melanie is injured in an automobile accident after suddenly remembering something dramatically suspicious about their mother while the two of them are off on holiday.

While his sister is hospitalized and during her recovery from her injuries, Antoine becomes compelled to find out more about his mother and who she was and how she died since both of her children feel as if they never really knew her and the subject has never been talked about within the family. In the course of his inquiries, he discovers and faces the truth about a mother he loved deeply but lost far too soon.

Antoine is a very complex man who is simultaneously dealing with his love and longing for his ex-wife and their three children-- two of whom are surly and distant teenagers -- and with the sudden urge to finally know more about his mother. He suffers loneliness and self doubt, bored with his career as architect, and morose about his lack of close relationships with his children and his father's family. I found him an interesting character with a lot of depth and sentimentality that led to many moments of self examination and introspection. The other supportive characters were not so well drawn, but did provide the means for Antoine to interact with and to push the narrative along.

I read the novel in one sitting.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
With her first novel, SARAH'S KEY, Tatiana de Rosnay hit upon a winning formula: link a contemporary story set in modern Paris to events that took place a generation or more earlier. Long-buried secrets can work well as a plot device. But the secrets in that earlier book were no small matter; they concerned nothing less than the fate of children in the French Holocaust, and their story was told with a simple directness that quite overshadowed the modern romance paired with it. In A SECRET KEPT, however, the modern romance is virtually the entire story; it is fuller and more detailed than the relevant sections of the earlier book, but is still relatively trivial. And the buried secret, whose disclosure is postponed by every means possible, turns out not to be much of a secret at all, and such tension as there was just dribbles away. This time around, the formula fails.

Antoine Rey is a fortyish Parisian architect dealing mainly in office reconstructions. He is bored with his job and has let his life fall apart since his wife Astrid has left him for a younger man. But he cares enough for his sister Mélanie to take her for her fortieth birthday to Noirmoutier Island, off the Atlantic coast southwest of Nantes, where they used to holiday as children. The visit awakens memories of their mother, Clarisse, one of which so upsets Mélanie that she crashes the car before she can tell it. The remainder of the book is the much-delayed search for that memory and the understanding of its implications.
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24 Comments 140 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found the free preview browsing the Kindle Store, and loved the cover. The synopsis seemed intriguing and the author's background promised a good read. Of the several preview chapters, the first chapter contained enough to move the story along and compell me to read on. But after figuring out a couple situations that were hinted at, I grew tired of the brother progtagonist's internal monologue and the constant reference to the tide and Gois Pass. I was expecting more given the book is a bestseller already in Europe. Perhaps I would enjoy her other book, Sarah's Key, as some other reviewers mentioned under the complete print edition, but this one was just OK for me.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am always intrigued by the stories about families, particularly when the same experience holds such different meaning for the individuals involved. While the book started off with potential, it quickly became a tiring and tiresome struggle to read. The lives of the Rey family, historically and in the present, are heavy with repression, judgment, disappointment, and the burden of meeting the expectations of others. Translated from the French (possibly part of the problem?), De Rosnay's writing comes across as a MFA assignment that asked the student to make maximal use of metaphor, epiphany, conflict and other literary techniques to create a reading experience that is congruent with the inner turmoil of the characters. With the exception of the long dead Clarisse, none of these sad souls ever came alive or came together into a believable whole. While that may have been the author's intent and from an artistic perspective, this may be an amazingly successful novel, it did not grab me and would never be a book that I would recommend to anyone else.
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