Friday, December 16, 2011

The Secret of Lies, by Barbara Forte Abate

As an adult, Stevie finds herself running from the reality of her life, and chasing the ghosts of her youth.  As a child, she and her sister would spend their summers at the shore with their Aunt and Uncle.  During those summer holidays, crushes develop, friendships form, and somehow, inexplicably, the girls grow into women.  Their final summer at the shore, Stevie picks up on a unusual bond forming between her sister and her uncle, until  the situation reaches a boiling point, and tragedy strikes, a tragedy that affects Stevie for the rest of her life.

There was something soft and lilting about this book, even at its darkest points.  There was a dreamy deja vu quality to the writing, particularly the portion of the book set at the seashore.  It was if I could smell the sea air as the words unfolded from the page and danced around me.  It was really breathtaking.

I loved the character development, particularly the young Stevie and her sister.  As the summers wear on, and the situation becomes strained, the characters' tension absolutely simmers on the page.  I just could not get enough.  After the tragedy strikes, the story moves away from this and more towards how Stevie deals with the situation in the long term.  Of the two portions of the book, I liked the part leading up to tragedy, which served as a turning point in the story.  The second part of the book felt a little detached and disconnected for me, but still served to move the story forward.

All in all, I though this was a good contemporary fiction novel.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

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