Beneath his controlled demeanor, attorney John O’Rourke is a man in turmoil. Since the death of his wife, he has been juggling the rigors of a controversial capital murder case and the demands of raising two children. As 11-year-old Maggie and 14-year-old Teddy long for the past, they must also contend with the hostility that swirls around them since their father took on the defense of a despised killer - including a brick through their window one autumn morning.
But a quieter event also takes place that day. A woman arrives on the O’Rourke doorstep to find a household in chaos but brimming with love - and, she hopes, answers. Six months ago Kate Harris’s younger sister fled from home following a devastating confrontation. After mailing a single postcard from the New England shore, Willa Harris vanished. With only a postmark to go on, Kate comes to the seaside - and discovers the one man who may be able to help her....
©2003 Luanne Rice (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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I'm a sucker for magical realism and Luanne Rice is one of the best Americans writing in that genre today. Her stories tend to be tightly crafted, her characters masterful and in each book, she creates a world of it's own with new rules for 'the way things work'.
'The Secret Hour' threw me for a loop. The story seemed to uncharacteristically meander. I kept wondering where Rice was going and why certain scenes even existed. I even began to wonder if Rice herself knew where she was going with this dull, uncompelling love story and disappearance mystery. I should have known better: near the end of the book, with one brush stroke in one scene, 'The Secret Hour' pulled itself into a tightly written, enjoyable and very adult fairy tale.
'Oh, duh”, I thought, chiding myself for doubting the author.
Narrator Christina Traister is so very good at narrative passages and so bad at male voices that I thought she was new to her craft and her talent instinctual. With a little vocal training, I thought, she'll be at the top of her game. When I looked her up, I was surprised to find 40 credits to her name and 'The Secret Hour' one of her most recent.
This isn't a book for listeners unfamiliar with Luanne Rice: it's a story that takes patience and trust. You've got to love her work to enjoy 'The Secret Hour'.
I did. In the end.
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