This stunning new novel from Tatiana de Rosnay, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Sarah’s Key, plumbs the depths of complex family relationships and the power of past secret to change everything in the present.
It all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood. Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island ~ over thirty years since their mother died and the family holidays ceased. But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories: it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.
Recovering from the accident in a nearby hospital, Mélanie tries to recall what caused her to crash. Antoine encounters an unexpected ally: sexy, streetwise Angèle, a mortician who will teach him new meanings for the words life, love and death. Suddenly, however, the past comes swinging back at both siblings, burdened with a dark truth about their mother, Clarisse.
Trapped in the wake of a shocking family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with own children. How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself? Suddenly fragile on all fronts as a son, a husband, a brother and a father, Antoine Rey will learn the truth about his family and himself the hard way. By turns thrilling, seductive and destructive, with a lingering effect that is bittersweet and redeeming, A Secret Kept is the story of a modern family, the invisible ties that hold it together, and the impact it has throughout life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tatiana de Rosnay was born in the suburbs of Paris and is of English, French and Russian descent. She is the author of nine French novels. She also writes for French ELLE, and is a literary critic for Psychologies magazine. Tatiana de Rosnay is married and has two children. Sarah’s Key is her first novel written in her mother tongue, English
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I think Tatiana de Rosnay is a fabulously talented writer but this book left so much to be desired. First of all, there was the really weird relationship between Antoine and his sister. OK, perhaps there wasn’t a “relationship” per se, but he admired his sister’s body in ways that made me more than just a little bit uncomfortable.
And speaking of Antoine, I thought he was too whiny. About everything. I wanted to grab him by the collar, shake him and tell him to man up! I know parents feel guilt over divorcing and they have a hard time reprimanding their children, but allowing them to become juvenile delinquents is not the answer.
Also, without giving away the family secret, I think a homicide would have been a far better choice…
The one positive in this story had to be Angèle. She warrants her own story. I like the way she talked about death and how we have to come to grips with the death of loved ones and the fact that we won’t always have answer to the “whys” of life.
For a long time I have felt like an Alcatraz inmate, desperately feeding on the scraps the wind sends my way ~ laughter, singing, and music, the hub~bub of a crowd I can hear but will never see.
LEAST FAVORITE SENTENCE(S)
The printer makes a moaning noise like a woman in labor.