Saturday, August 1, 2009

Read-it-First: Secret Keepers

This week, the St. Martin's Read-it-First selection was Secret Keepers by Mindy Friddle. I was able to preview the first twenty one pages of this book. From the beginning, it is apparent that this is a story about a dysfunctional family. We are first introduced to Emma Hanley who is seventy two and anticipating the journey of a lifetime, a cruise to Europe. Unfortunately, she has to contend with her husband, Harold, his fickle nature and their schizophrenic son, Bobby. Is Harold a faithful husband? Does he still love Emma? I'm not sure if they're still in love or if they've just become part of each others routine. Foreshadowing at the end of the first chapter leaves us wondering whether or not Emma's dream of traveling will be realized. Additionally, we meet Dora, the born-again Christian daughter, who teaches an exercise class in the middle of a mall! I found this to be quite comical – exercising in a health club is the most exposure I would want. The writing was enjoyable and I felt that I was getting to know each member of the Hanley family. They seemed very realistic and entertaining. I hope the character development continues over the course of the book and that the secrets being kept are just as intriguing and quirky as the characters. At this point in the story, we have no idea what those secrets could be.

I believe a second look is needed.

Looking forward to next week's preview!


  1. What a great idea of a way to use old boots! (shown on the cover)

  2. How coincidental - this author was at the Book Mania with me yesterday- and we were on the same panel! She is a lovely woman. I told her "You stole my title!" and we had a laugh - I wanted to title tender graces "the secret keeper" or Secret Keepers' and it was already taken!

    Glad you are enjoying the book.

  3. The cover is wonderful, and it sounds like the first twenty one pages are enjoyable as well. Thanks for your preview!

  4. Kathryn: How nice. I hope you all enjoyed your panel discussion.

    Suko: I love the cover. I'm sure that they sell vases that look like old boots; however, I was thinking of some craft compound (cannot remember the name) that essentially hardens objects - I was thinking of doing this for a stuffed teddy bear that my oldest child has (it has been much loved!).

  5. That last comment about preserving the teddy bear reminded me of a common joke that you just fill in the blank with whoever you want to poke fun at - Did you hear _____ won a gold medal, but he wanted to preserve it so he had it bronzed.

  6. All that in 21 pages? Wow.
    And I would never ever exercise in the middle of the mall. It just wouldn't happen.

  7. Oh this sounds like an awesome read! I'll have to add it to my list and i too love the book cover, very cute.
    Natalie :0)

  8. Michael: I like the joke - it's cute.

    Jenners: I found the mall exercise club funny - I usually exercise in my basement.

    Natalie: I love the cover too - if you give it a try, I hope you like it.