Published by Bantam on July 2, 2013
Read synopsis on Goodreads
I received this book for free from NetGalley.
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
I think I’ve finally figured out the key to requesting great NetGalley books because, once again, I’m blown away by an amazing book from there. The Book of Secrets has all of the elements of a good story and it did not disappoint. This may be because the book brought me back to my childhood at my Gramma’s house. A good portion of the book takes place in a white house with a sprawling lawn that ends with a creek and some woods. My Gramma had this exact same setup (albeit smaller than the one in the book), and I remember playing hide-and-seek in the woods and crossing the creek on stones that my cousins and I dropped in the water. Of course, going down to the creek as an adultI was surprised to learn that it was not a huge, rushing river. But even now, I wonder whether the old shopping cart that was overturned in it for as long as I can remember is still there. Next time I visit, I’ll have to sneak down there and find out – I’m sure the new homeowners won’t min (so long as I do it in daylight). And thanks to the internet, I can show you what I envisioned (see photo).
But – back to the book. The story starts out with Chloe, who is in her early 50’s, coming home to find that her husband has disappeared. As she searches for clues as to his whereabouts, she comes across some cryptic messages written in the code she and Nate used as children. From here, she embarks on a mission to find out where her husband has gone and, most importantly, why.
Let me give a little history here: At the age of 8, a little girl named Chloe stumbled upon the Sinclair children playing in their yard. Home schooled and very well off, the Sinclair children were completely different from Chloe’s classmates and they immediately welcomed them into their playgroup. The catch, however, was that their father, a local pastor, was not to know about their friendship, and so they played in secret (with the help of Mrs. Sinclair) for years to come. As they grew older, Chloe began a relationship with the lone Sinclair son, Nate. It was around this time that Chloe began to understand that there was a dark side to the Sinclair family, but because sneaking and hiding was a decade-old habit, she overlooked any strangeness.
And so now we are back to the present day storyline. I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t go into detail about why the family hid Chloe from their father or why her missing husband wasn’t so odd. I also won’t go into what it was that was encrypted in the messages or why it was there in the first place. But, I will tell you that this book has all of the elements of a great book, including:
- A missing child
- A villainous man
- A very sick woman
- A young mother
- A nun
- A good bit of religion (more undercurrent than active storyline)
- Chronicles of Narnia and other rare first edition books
Like I said, this book was fantastic. I flew through it in a weekend and it’s close to 500 pages, which takes a little bit of time. The writing flows in a way so that you do NOT want to put the book down. I wouldn’t quite call it lyrical, but it does have a calm and deliberate flow that works exceptionally well. But don’t listen to me – go buy one for yourself on July 2!