Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate

Title: The Secret of Lies
Author: Barbara Forte Abate
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing, LLC
Publish Date: April 1, 2010
Source: I received a copy from the author. This did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You like family stories (especially dysfunctional families).
What's the Story?:

From "Propelled by an insurmountable sense of desperation, Stevie Burke is recklessly abandoning home, husband, and outwardly contented life under cover of night; at last resigned to defeat in her long battle against the tortured memories of her past.

Days later, lost and floundering in a dreary motel room without plan or destination, it is a long ago song playing on the radio that gently tugs Stevie back through the dust of remembrance. 1957 - The last summer spent at the ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic. A season which had unfolded with abundant promise, but then spiraled horribly out of control - torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered in fragments upon her soul. And it is only now, when Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are at last unveiled."

My Two Cents:

This is a story of how family secrets can change everything. Hiding those secrets can make things so much worse. This is exactly what happens to Stevie is this book. As a young teenager, she watches her sister, Eleanor, and the adults in her life make decisions that will change everything and hurt people. We see all of this through Stevie's eyes. She's still not an adult but understands enough that she knows the implications of everything that's going on.

I liked this book. The story is good and definitely kept me interested throughout the book. I thought that the story could have been streamlined a little bit. At one point, I wondered where the story was going to come back together after Stevie was a few years removed from the situation that happened at her aunt and uncle's beach house. It almost seemed like there could have been less "setting up" of the second part of the book. I spent a lot of time thinking about where the book was going and why some things were so unresolved from the first part of the book and I think it took away from the book a little bit. The story does come back together nicely eventually but it takes awhile.

I definitely felt bad throughout the book for Stevie. When the book begins, she's at that age where she wants to be more adult-like and to be taken seriously but she doesn't know how to. I kept wondering what would have happened if she spoke up about the things that she saw earlier. Would things have come out better? Worse? Later in the book, she still seems almost childlike. She sticks behind to live with her mother instead of forging out on her own as a young adult. I wondered also if that was tied to what happened at the beach house.

Bottom line: This is a good read for fiction fans!


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