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A Secret Kept: A Novel Paperback – September 13, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
The long-delayed resolution of a French family's mystery electrifies de Rosnay's (Sarah's Key) glimpse at the crushing cost of keeping secrets. Parisian architect Antoine Rey and his sister, Mélanie, celebrate her 40th birthday on the island where they vacationed as children with their mother, until she died there in 1974. Upon returning, Mélanie is gripped by a shocking repressed memory and loses control of the car. After a brief spell of amnesia, she tells her brother what it was she remembered: their mother had been in love with a woman. As a skeptical Antoine investigates this twist in their mother's past, an upsetting chain of events unfurls: his daughter's best friend drops dead of a heart condition at only 14 years of age; his teenage son is arrested; and he learns that his father is dying of cancer. Antoine gets support in his quest from a new lover, a Harley-riding mortician who teaches him how respecting death helps one to embrace life. This perceptive portrait of a middle-aged man's delayed coming-of-age rates as a seductive, suspenseful, and trés formidable keeper.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Frenchman Antoine Rey wants to do something special for his sister Melanie on her fortieth birthday, so he surprises her with a weekend trip to Noirmoutier Island, where the two spent many idyllic childhood summers until their mother’s untimely death. While the weekend itself goes well, on the drive back home to Paris, Melanie is overpowered by a memory of her mother and drives off the road. She suffers extensive injuries, and as she heals in the hospital, Antoine obsesses over just what it was that his sister recalled. He is determined to find answers, but where and how? There are few surviving family members, and those remaining resist his unsettling queries. Meanwhile, distractions abound, as Antoine takes up with the sexy hospital mortician (who wears black and drives a Harley-Davidson, ooh la la). He and his ex-wife must also deal with their badly behaving son, who’s recently landed in jail. Internationally best-selling French novelist de Rosnay renders swift, lucid prose and steady suspense (even though one of the novel’s big secrets is revealed mid-tale). Expect demand among fans of both literary mystery and high-end romance. --Allison Block --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
My reservations about this book are the constant theme of death, depression and upsetting events. I understand that Rosnay was trying to make correlations and that she wanted death to be a major theme. I believe she carried this theme much too far, to the point of being farcical. A truckload of awful offal (yes, I know) strewn over the road the characters need to drive on to get home after a funeral? Ludicrous.
But not all memories are pleasant, and Mélanie's journey to the past brings back recollections of incidents she had forgotten -- or suppressed. Before she can tell Antoine about them, she is seriously injured in a car accident.
Troubled at not knowing what his sister was going to tell him, still in love with the wife who left him for another man, struggling to be a good parent and to recover a desire to work at his profession, Antoine begins to delve into the past. He uncovers secrets that not only shock him, but also reveal the truth about his family.
A great many books have been written about family secrets, the damage they can do, and the aftermath they cause when revealed. De Rosnay's book, however, is a sensitive treatment of the theme and a finely drawn portrait of how people's lives can change when they learn the truth.
Writing in the first person as a man was an unusual twist, but did make the reading more interesting. We witness an insecure man, grow up to
be a true father-figure to himself, to his children and to accept his family as diverse as they were. Angelea was a breath of fresh air.
I purchased this book from an Amazon supplier, earliea, and it was described as "Like New." When I received it about a month later (I almost did not have time to read it for a book club review), the cover was torn, slightly faded and there were a few marks inside. I thought the book was misrepresented because of its condition and length of time to mail it from Illinois. This is the first time that I have had any trouble from an Amazon seller.