Saturday 31 March 2012

***Review*** The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate

The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate

Released: March 2nd 2012
Publisher: Halycon Moon Books
Series:  No
Format:Digital ARC - Ebook
Source: From Author for review purposes.
Author Website: Barbara Forte Abate 


Propelled by an insurmountable sense of desperation, Stevie Burke is recklessly abandoning home, husband, and outwardly contented life under cover of night; at last resigned to defeat in her long battle against the tortured memories of her past.
Days later, lost and floundering in a dreary motel room without plan or destination, it is a long ago song playing on the radio that gently tugs Stevie back through the dust of remembrance. 1957 – The last summer spent at the ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic. A season which had unfolded with abundant promise, but then spiraled horribly out of control – torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered in fragments upon her soul. And it is only now, when Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are at last unveiled...
It began in much the way of all the perfect golden summers at her aunt and uncle’s beach house. Stevie is in love with Jake, an intriguing deaf boy; so thoroughly absorbed in her new romance that she easily ignores the evidences of breakdown in her aunt and uncle’s once blissful marriage and the hairline indicators of her sister Eleanor’s role in their faltered relationship. Not until Stevie and Jake slip away from the farewell bonfire on the beach, anxious for a private moment on this last night together, will she finally be forced to confront the ugly truth of those things unfolding around her. The resulting tragedy shattering her family and leaving her emotionally paralyzed.
Although desperate to leave behind the gnawing emptiness and press of memories suffocating her life, Stevie remains helplessly bound to the family farm. She eventually lands a job as an advice columnist for the local newspaper, and only then does her life finally make a turn toward steady ground, her new position as advisor to the troubled allowing her to address her own deepest feelings of love and loss.
Even then, Stevie is infuriated when her mother hires a farm hand, Ash Waterman, irrationally rejecting his overtures of friendship – drawn to him as passionately as she feels determined to push him away.
Her silent battle is continuous; an insurmountable sense of guilt holding her to the firm conviction that she is responsible for her family’s suffering. Despite Ash’s patient love and support she is unable to smooth the painful cracks etched deep into her memories, continuing to sacrifice her future in order to shelter the sins of the past. And it is only as Stevie feels her life spiraling out of control, that she at last comes to understand the true secret of the lies she has so diligently guarded.

 My review:

I found this book to be very well written, there is an immense amount of detail to the writing. So I will warn you, this is not a fast and easy read, you just have to appreciate all the rich detail and soak it up. Sometimes I found myself taking a step back just to absorb every detail.
The story is told by the main protagonist Stevie; it starts off in the present day and then regresses back to a time in her childhood where something bad happened. It just shows the effects of where something from the past can affect you in the future. I felt that as the story progressed you shared the innermost demons of Stevie. Her whole self is stripped bare and she really does bare her soul. I really did feel for her at times. It does take a little while into the story until you find out what the tragedy is, it keeps you guessing and on tenterhooks.

A powerful story of loss, guilt, discovery and romance. Ticked a lot of right boxes for me. I really could feel the heartache and emotions of the characters. I also have to say that I fell in love with Ash; he seems to be a sweet and sensitive man. It was lovely to see the chemistry between Ash and Stevie unfurl.

I would have to say that the only negative point I had about the book is that it was a little bit slow at the beginning. It did take a little while to get going, but from then on it did grip me.

Overall I really enjoyed this book; I would recommend you read this as I do think it’s a very powerful and well written book. Bravo to the author.


Story rating 4/5 – A very emotive and powerful read.
Cover Rating 3/5 – I liked the cover, but I do find it doesn’t grab me.

** Thank you to the author Barbara Forte Abate for supplying me with a review copy of the book**

About The Author:

Barbara Forte Abate was born in Millbrook, New York, the middle of five children. After graduating from Millbrook High School, she married young and promptly launched into the joys of family life, in short order becoming the mother of four very fabulous children, and along the way earning a doctorate from the University of Real Life.

Initially having settled in Franklin, New Jersey, she has lived with her family in a wonderful historic home in Chester County, PA, for the past fifteen years.

While increasingly challenged for several years by old house renovations and raising her children, Barbara never considered abandoning her dreams of writing. Most often composing her stories on yellow legal pads while babies napped and supper simmered (and sometimes burned) on the stove; piling up the pages until the time at last arrived to borrow a friend's typewriter and transfer her longhand scribbles onto finished pages.

While that particular milestone transpired some twenty years ago, and the aforementioned first novel has since lived a quietly rejected life in a rarely visited closet, Barbara's passion for writing has continued at a gallop. Her debut novel, "The Secret of Lies" was released on June 30, 2010.


DMS said...

I haven't heard of this book until now. It sounds like a thought-provoking book with a lot going on. From your review it sounds interesting. I have it on my list of books to read, marked with a note that it won't be a fast one. :) Thanks for sharing!


Dog lover6 said...

Thank you for writing a great review of a wonderful book. I have read it and re-read it and passed it on to friends! I can tell you are an awesome person; one, because you gave a great review of an wonderful book, and two, you are obviously a dog lover!! That makes you Top Dog in my book! lol

Christina Kit. said...

This one sounds like a great one:)

Sometimes it's better when the pace is slower and more detailed, because it gives depth to the characters.

Thanks so much

Aki said...

Your review look good.. I have it on my list of books to read :)

Nata Cynthia Artistadonna said...

great review and now I want to read this :)

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