Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library


A Secret Kept A Novel by Tatiana de Rosnay {Book Review}

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay {Book Review}BOOK DESCRIPTION (FROM THE BOOK)

 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.


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

You can follow her on Twitter by clicking here or visit her website by clicking here.


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.


Page 141

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.


Page 142

The printer makes a moaning noise like a woman in labor.


Disclosure: This review refers to the electronic version of this book. I didn’t receive any compensation for this post.


Marriage {Bible Reading Plan Day 2}

Marriage {Bible Reading Plan Day 2}SCRIPTURE

Ecclesiastes 9:9 {NIV}

Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun~ all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labour under the sun.


There is one key point for me:

  1. “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love…” ~ a husband is to find peace and contentment with his wife because he loves her and he chose to be with her


There are so many different diversions out there e.g. video games, movies, etc. that it’s easy to start seeking peace, love and happiness from those things but God commands us to enjoy life with our spouses. He established marriage in the beginning so that man would not be alone {Genesis 2:18~24}, so that he would have a partner to comfort him. Life is hard and can become routine {note the repeated use of the word “meaningless in the scripture} so you have to make sure you choose your partner wisely.


Dear Lord, thank you for my husband. Thank you for putting us on the path that we are now on, where we can entertain each other and make each other laugh. Thank you for helping us to find the joy in our marriage. Amen.


Oliver~Leming House {Getting to Know Missouri}

Last Friday while perusing the newspaper, I saw an ad announcing a tour of and lecture about the Oliver-Leming House that was being presented to the Cape County Historical Society. The nerd in me totally geeked out because I love touring historic homes. My dream is to some day own and renovate one. So I called The Hubs at work and asked him if he’d like to attend with me. He agreed and we made plans to attend.

We arrived late. The wrong address was listed in the newspaper, so we drove up and down several streets looking for the house until I recognized it from the newspaper. Because it was getting close to time for the tours to end, I told the Hubs to turn the car around but he was persistentI’m happy he’s stubbornThis time.

Front View {Oliver House}

The house tour was well worth the persistence…

Oliver House Family Photographs

Started in 1895, the Oliver~Leming House was built and owned by the Oliver family for 45 years and then owned for another 45 years by the Leming family, both of whom are prominent Cape Girardeau families. The Oliver~Leming House was designed by J.B. Legg, a prominent St. Louis architect who also designed Academic Hall at Southeast Missouri State University (to see a picture, click here).  Currently the residence of Mary Ann and Bert Kellerman, the home is undergoing renovations according to the original specifications and blueprints as designed by J.B. Legg and Senator Oliver.

Oliver House Interior Column and Door Knobs

One of the hallmarks of Legg’s work was his use of a combination of oak and cypress woods. Although the house has undergone many incarnations {including wood paneling over the original plaster walls} over the years, none of the original woodwork has ever been painted or stripped. Therefore, it retains its original finish.

The first floor has pine floors while the second floor is pine. During the 1990s, the upstairs bedrooms were covered with wall~to~wall floral carpeting, which has since been removed. There are working pocket doors throughout the downstairs, as well as  six coal~burning fireplaces. The original door hardware, hinges, transom hardware and interior privacy locks are still in the home. There’s even a lock outside the maid’s quarters so that she could be locked out of the main house when the family desired privacy. How crazy cool is that? And, um, just a little bit scary.

Family Growth Chart {Oliver House}

Much of the family charm still exists in the home, such as a family growth chart that will be preserved with a plexiglass covering.

I hope that we’ll get to see the home once the renovations have been completed. I can see their vision and I know that this is definitely going to be a showplace. If you’d like to see more pictures from our tour, click here.

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