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Secrets Hardcover – March 26, 1992
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From Library Journal
Emma Bellamy, a recently widowed mystery writer (in her mid-30s) is horrified when friends and relatives receive harsh but truthful letters from her--which she claims not to have written. Though the novel reveals that Willard Bellamy was not the adoring husband (26 years her senior) he seemed to be, in actuality there are no real secrets. The prolog reveals Emma as the letter-writer, and any reader with some psychological grounding knows how the conscious and unconscious interact. Emma's anger, guilt, and her desire for freedom and independence are obvious, and the book's end is anticlimactic. Marlowe's first book, Heart's Desire ( LJ 1/91), received positive reviews, but her latest is just another humdrum contemporary gothic romance.
- Rebecca S. Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ., Highland Heights
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A woman learns to accept responsibility for herself--in a romantic fantasy that, like Marlowe's Heart's Desire (1991), takes itself too seriously. Critically acclaimed bestselling novelist Emma Bellamy feels insecure--her identity, image, and success all engineered by her controlling husband. (She was a temporary secretary in London, he a visiting American publisher more than twice her age when at first sight he decided to marry her.) Widowed after 17 years, Emma begins to grow, but, still unable to speak up directly, she enters a fugue state and sends off letters firing her condescending agent, telling off her mean-spirited stepchildren, expressing sexual desire for her husband's lawyer, etc. Confronted by the recipients, Emma, not remembering having sent them, believes the letters are forgeries. But who would send them? Why? The lawyer immediately turns out to be Mr. Right, finding it ``nothing short of incredible that he should now be in the process of acquainting himself with every aspect of her anatomy as well as with the many facets of her mind and personality''; upon seeing Emma tapping away at her word- processor, ``his understanding and appreciation of her was greatly enhanced.'' (The reader will find the details of how she formats disks less compelling.) None of this is the least bit credible or well-written, but for a while it's fun--until Emma writes a turgid novel based on her own situation, gaining insight through the process. Froth gone flat under the weight of pretensions. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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