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Emma's Secret | [Steena Holmes]

Emma's Secret

For two years, Megan, Peter, and their two older daughters, Alexis and Hannah, dream of nothing but being reunited with the family’s youngest child, Emma, who was kidnapped just before her third birthday. When Emma is miraculously found living with an elderly couple just miles from the family’s home, they are hopeful that her return will heal the wounds her disappearance created. But Emma is vastly different from the sunny toddler they remember. She barely remembers her parents or her older sisters. She is quiet and withdrawn, and, worst of all, longs for the very people who kidnapped her.
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Publisher's Summary

For two years, Megan, Peter, and their two older daughters, Alexis and Hannah, dream of nothing but being reunited with the family’s youngest child, Emma, who was kidnapped just before her third birthday. When Emma is miraculously found living with an elderly couple just miles from the family’s home, they are hopeful that her return will heal the wounds her disappearance created.

But Emma is vastly different from the sunny toddler they remember. She barely remembers her parents or her older sisters. She is quiet and withdrawn, and, worst of all, longs for the very people who kidnapped her.

Megan is consumed with bitterness, while Peter works later and later nights in the company of his gorgeous business partner. And in the middle of everything, Megan’s best friend has become suddenly distant and secretive.

Then a chance encounter in town leads to a secret that changes everything again for Emma. And Peter must decide between the happiness of his youngest daughter and the trust of his family.

©2013 Steena Holmes (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (151 )
5 star
 (40)
4 star
 (53)
3 star
 (34)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
3.7 (140 )
5 star
 (41)
4 star
 (45)
3 star
 (38)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (8)
Story
3.8 (139 )
5 star
 (44)
4 star
 (49)
3 star
 (31)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (7)
Performance
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  •  
    Vickie United States 05-03-14
    Vickie United States 05-03-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm an avid reader who now listens to books on tape. I'm a bit late to the game but enjoying the hands free reading.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    "Too Dramatic!"
    Would you try another book from Steena Holmes and/or Kate Rudd?

    Unlikely.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The premise was enticing but the over-the-top drama of the mother, Megan made it nearly unbearable. She was so ego driven and lacked empathy for others especially the her daughter who recently was returned to their family. The father was the voice of reason and the daughter wise beyond her years and the mother didn't deserve either of them. Her drama was not driven by the kidnapping or external events but her own sense of insecurity, lack of esteem and need for attention.


    Any additional comments?

    It wasn't a complete waste of time but I felt cheated. The only reason I continued listening because of the father and daughter's characters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Mesa, AZ, United States 03-20-14
    Lisa Mesa, AZ, United States 03-20-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    79
    30
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    Story
    "Deja vu"

    The story was good but the story line was extremely similar to another book that I have read. I couldn't help but wonder which story was written first. Overall, the story kept your interest and was pretty good. I would recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leah Ebensburg, PA, United States 03-04-14
    Leah Ebensburg, PA, United States 03-04-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    22
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    "Emma's Secret"
    Would you listen to Emma's Secret again? Why?

    Yes, it was a relaxing interesting book that I didn't want to stop. A story that was enjoyable and written very well.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    All the characters intrigued me. Each one brought life and harmony. It would be difficult to name one character. Peter was very calm and sensible usually making good decisions for Emma. All made the book excellent.


    What does Kate Rudd bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Life..I felt as though I was right in the middle of the scene. The voices were superb. I could not have found that in the book. I enjoyed each voice of the character which made me not want to turn off the audible. To me the book would have been more boring without hearing each character. I thought she was amazing!


    If you could rename Emma's Secret, what would you call it?

    I don't know I would rename. The title is what grabbed me as I bought the book first.


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent writing by the author! An awesome put together story drawing in friends and community. It was real! I never rate a book a 5 but this one deserved a 5.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nyoka Brownstown, MI, United States 02-20-14
    Nyoka Brownstown, MI, United States 02-20-14 Member Since 2011

    Nyoka Mullins

    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
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    "Heartwarming"

    A very heartwarming story, at the same time a sad situation, but you won't be disappointed, I really enjoyed the book...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacie Murfreesboro, TN, US 02-07-14
    Stacie Murfreesboro, TN, US 02-07-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
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    0
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    "Engaging story that challenged my thinking."
    What did you love best about Emma's Secret?

    I got this book on sale and did not know it was book 2 of a series. I took a few days to decide if I should continue before reading Finding Emma and I did (though I will read Finding Emma). The story took turns that I did not expect and really challeged how I wanted to feel about the characters.


    What about Kate Rudd’s performance did you like?

    The performance was ok. Not great but not the worst I've heard. She did try to change her performance for different characters but it sometimes came off poorly. However, it was consistent.


    If you could take any character from Emma's Secret out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Gosh, that is a hard one. I guess I would have to say Jack. He is a character I'd like to explore more fully. I'd like to know more about his life, the thoughts he had during Emma's disappearance and things like that.


    Any additional comments?

    I was pleasantly surprised with the story overall. I was frustrated how my feelings towards Papa and Dottie were changed through the story. I felt very close to Megan and expected I would have been much like her. I cried more than once but especially at the end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Pasadena, CA 91105 06-18-14
    Stephanie Pasadena, CA 91105 06-18-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    11
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    "OMG! It can happen to any FAMILY with toddlers"
    What made the experience of listening to Emma's Secret the most enjoyable?

    Having a daughter and knowing that FEAR to keep your babies safe


    What did you like best about this story?

    Finding out that Emma's 5 years away from her FAMILY was happy and loving.
    Relating to her mother's feelings.
    Knowing that is every mother's worst nightmare.
    The siblings individual reactions to the entire series of events from start to finish because of their ages. How their lives were impacted.


    Have you listened to any of Kate Rudd’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No sure, but my focus is always on the story and the clarity of the readers.


    Who was the most memorable character of Emma's Secret and why?

    The innocent Grandpa, who loved his wife and accepted her story about Emma,
    He lost the love of his life and his granddaughter at the same time. Plus, lived with the stigma of "kidnapping" allocation. His guilt of not asking better questions when his wife came home with this child.


    Any additional comments?

    In the end, Emma was able to see her Grandpa, and the family was able to forgive and be grateful that their story was not tragic, like so many other families that deal with these circumstances every day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Zumpf MARENGO, IL, US 06-14-14
    Linda Zumpf MARENGO, IL, US 06-14-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    "It drew me in from the beginning."
    Would you listen to Emma's Secret again? Why?

    The reader, Kate Rudd, has the voice of an angel. Not only did the story itself draw me into the characters from the very fist page, Kate's voice and diction were beautiful and lyrical. It was, quite literally, an "I can't put this down for a minute!" book. I've since ordered the other three books in the Finding Emma series. . . . And I'm not a series reader usually. 5 stars!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Grants Pass, OR, United States 01-09-14
    Kimberly Grants Pass, OR, United States 01-09-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    37
    22
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    0
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    "Not as good as I hoped it to be..."
    Would you try another book from Steena Holmes and/or Kate Rudd?

    yes


    Would you ever listen to anything by Steena Holmes again?

    yes


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I felt the narrator was decent.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    All of those reactions were noted throughout the book. I felt bad for her family and the family who took her.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynbee San Jose, CA, United States 02-27-14
    Cynbee San Jose, CA, United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2012

    former nuclear scientist

    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
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    94
    63
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    9
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    Story
    "no payoff"

    I'm a mother of a beautiful toddler girl. I should really have been an emotional mess listening to a story about the aftermath of a toddler girl snatched at age 3 and not returned to her family for 2 years.

    Somehow, the author manages to avoid forging a connection between the reader and any of the characters. The mother character, Megan, is so unpleasant and makes so little sense that even her kids in the story don't want to be around her and her friends walk on eggshells because anything can set her off, and she doesn't feel like she has to be fair to anyone at all, even as she whines "that's not FAIR" to pretty much every other character more than once. Maybe that's true to life, but it doesn't make a compelling protagonist. The father shows inexplicably boundless compassion to one of the kidnappers and, although more sympathetic, is too one-dimensional to truly engage the listener.

    I read a little about this book because it is confusing just to jump in. Turns out it is a sequel in a self-published set of four novels that was a hit in book clubs, clubs which I can only surmise had at least one member without any critical reading skills and an overabundance of forgiveness for bad writing choosing the book. I would die of alcohol poisoning if I had to take a shot every time "it broke his/her heart," but I would stay sober if I didn't have to drink during "it broke her heart...it hurt." As in, "it broke her heart to hear him say that. It hurt to know that is what he thought." Then, "it wasn't FAIR."

    Oh, Lord, such a boring and actually irritating book. Irritating for what it should have been, with such a naturally compelling story. But it is plotted too poorly to enable the listener to sustain disbelief. One of the most glaring holes, which I couldn't believe until it was explicitly laid out, is that the surviving kidnapper, an elderly man married to the demented, now-deceased woman who had done the actual snatching, seemed to genuinely believe that his Alzheimer's-riddled wife just showed up one day with a 3 year old, with no clothes or papers, and that child was his granddaughter. "Hey honey, I'm home! Look what I got! It's a grandchild for us! Nevermind that she keeps crying for mommy and is absolutely terrified!" And all the times her journal was quoted where she says "this time, I'll do it right. This girl is my second chance." The guy is criminally stupid if he really believed it, and just plain criminal if he didn't. Either way, he belongs in jail, no matter how bad he feels now.

    Reading this review, I guess that the book did arouse passion in me after listening to it. Passionate dislike and annoyance that I wasted hours of my life, though, probably aren't the reactions the author was looking for. Save your money.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Maineville, Ohio, United States 02-13-14
    Lynn Maineville, Ohio, United States 02-13-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Story
    "I still don't know what Emma's Secret is!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The very end of the story cuts off not allowing the listener to fully understand what the kidnapper thought and how reading the diary changed the mother's life. Just leaves you hanging.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Any mother who has had a kidnapped child returned to them and knowing who the kidnapper was, would confront that person with anger, fear and needing to say all that they need to say - the absence of this reality in the book made it light reading for a heavy subject. Not reality at all.


    What about Kate Rudd’s performance did you like?

    Good inflections.


    What character would you cut from Emma's Secret?

    Probably Riley, the cop. He added nothing, so what's the point?


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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