Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: A Secret Kept

I had such high hopes for this newest novel by Tatiana de Rosnay, author of Sarah's Key, which I absolutely loved. (My review here.) And while A Secret Kept wasn't nearly up to par with Sarah's Key, I did enjoy it.

The story focuses on Antoine and Melanie, brother and sister in their 40s, who take a birthday vacation to the sea at Noirmoutier Island. As children they spent many happy summers there on the beach with their family before their mother died. They spend the weekend reminiscing, wishing that they'd had more years with their mother, who died so young. On the way back to Paris, Melanie tells Antoine that she remembered something disturbing about their mother. Before she can disclose the secret, they are in a car accident and Melanie is seriously injured.

So. We wait for the secret to be revealed for many, many chapters as Antoine's life back in Paris falls apart. His wife has left him for another man, his children are hellions, and he hates his job. Melanie gradually heals and finally tells him the secret.

I'm not going to tell you the secret. It's not what I expected, and it was kind of a let-down, frankly. It seemed kind of contrived and trite. Perhaps I am a jaded reader who wants a fresher secret.

So, I really liked the book for a long time, but after the secret was revealed I kind of felt a bit manipulated. I don't know why. But I did still really enjoy Antoine's story, which turned out to be happy. Now of course you must read it, as you'll want to know the secret. Go ahead! de Rosnay is a great writer.


Alex said...

It is always a disappointment when a second book by an author doesn't live up to one's expectations (but absolutely wonderful when it does.) Thanks for being so honest in your review.

Marg said...

I think I will enjoy de Rosnay's books, if I ever get around to reading them. I have owned Sarah's Key for the longest time but haven't read it yet.

Hannah said...

I know what you mean about being let down by the secret. It seems like everywhere I turn these days, I find books about "a dark family secret" that someone (usually a relative, like a mother) is keeping from the protagonist. The secret is usually billed as "shattering" or some such thing. Really, there are only so many possible secrets, guys! I think it's only natural that we readers get a bit jaded. :-)