New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts deftly blends romance and suspense in this compelling novel of a woman whose career, marriage, and very life are threatened by the truth about her own past.
Emma McAvoy may have grown up in the limelight, but some secrets are hidden in a darkness no light can reach. Now on the verge of a successful career, and having fallen in love with the man of her dreams, Emma is looking to the future. Yet it’s the past that is about to catch up with her.
For Emma, her childhood had been almost like a rags-to-riches fairy tale - until the tragic night that changed her family forever. But what Emma thinks she knows about that terrible night and the man she’s about to marry is only half the truth. The other half is locked away in the last place she’d ever think to look: her own memories. It’s a mystery a handsome and relentlessly driven homicide detective needs to solve in a case that’s haunted him for years - and a secret someone will kill to keep.
©2014 Nora Roberts (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved..
Normally I love Nora Roberts' work, but there's boatloads I dislike about this book. I rarely write a review unless I really love or really can't stand a book, but when I do, I go into detail. I'm trying not to give away major plot twists below.
First, I REALLY hate it when the copyrights listed on Audible read "2014" for author and audio publisher, but in reality the book has a 1990 publication date. Audible/Amazon, let's have some truth in labelling and note when it's really a reissue of an old book.
Second. a good editor would have cut out at least one-third of this book. The first 30-40% DRAGS to the extent that I'd zone out for several minutes - something I very rarely do when listening to ANY book - and worse, when I'd rewind I'd find that I didn't miss anything I hadn't heard before. After the first couple zone-outs, I didn't care enough to rewind to catch what I'd missed! That almost NEVER is the case.
Third, if I wanted to read an ode to rock, drugs, other drugs, more drugs, drug abuse, overdoses (I'm not sure I've come across so many different references to drugs in any other fiction book), capricious sex, semi-incestuous sex, AIDS, child abuse, physical abuse, murder, attempted murder, long-term betrayal, etc., etc. I'd read a biography of a 60's/70's rock icon. It seems the author was living out her teenage fantasies about British/Irish rockers. I suspect that a good number of those highly positive reviews are written by folks who either came of age in the 60's or have deep nostalgia or identification with the era. If you don't already love the 60's, I doubt you'll love this book.
Fourth, I'd have rated the book higher if the central mystery had been engaging. Nope. Even most of the primary characters seem to have lost interest in finding out "whodunnit" after a couple years Few additional clues were dropped over time. And worse, my immediate suspects turned out (many) hours later to be the primary culprits. Yawn. If this crime was not a purely random act, who else had any motive?
Fifth, at one point, the original primary detective showed out-of-character stupidity. Then at a critical turning point, the heroine is distressingly stupid. And finally, neither the detectives (nor the other main characters) actually solve the crime. They didn't identify any of the perps who, luckily, were all identified in other ways. Such good luck for our heroine they were so stupid, too. Sigh, it's disappointing when an author can't move the plot forward without resorting to that "let's have someone do something stupid" tactic - but multiple times in a single book? Nora, you're so much better than that - usually!
Sixth, there were so many male characters in this book frequently lumped together in conversation with each other that it was nearly impossible to follow who said what to whom. I think I'd have had a problem keeping the male characters straight without a chart even in written text, but it was very difficult in audio where the various voices were unclear. However, I feel sorry for the narrator who may have been as bored as I was and found it hard to keep the many characters separate in her mind as well. At a later point in the book one character had a serious illness and until more details were given I honestly couldn't remember who he was or why I should care.
The only reason I give 2 stars instead of 1 is for the slightly more interesting last fourth of the book. But even that was a close call.
Nora Roberts has crafted an absorbing tale of love, fame, wealth, and betrayal that is infused with Renee Raudman’s exceptional narration. Little Emma McAvoy spends the first three years of her life terrified by a drug addicted, abusive mother who readily gives Emma to her famous rock star father in exchange for money. Brian McAvoy adores his baby girl and raises her in a world of affluence, security, and celebrity, occasionally darkened by drugs and promiscuity. Emma slowly accepts that she is safe and surrounded by love from her “Da”, her caring stepmom, and the capricious members of her father’s band. When her stepbrother is born, four year-old Emma is overcome with love for the baby and devotes herself to his care and protection. As Emma matures into an educated, accomplished, and beautiful young lady, the story takes a dark turn of treachery that will have you on the edge of your seat. Two men enter her life, both declaring their love - only one, however, is to be trusted. Excellent story!
If the narrator's performance was even half decent
Absolutely nothing that involves accents of any kind. Her voice is very nice and very pleasant to listen to... Until she tries to sound like a Cockney or an Irish woman.
I don't know. I couldn't listen to the whole book
I LOVED the narrator from the COLLECTOR. Please bring her back!
I could not stand Renee Raudman, especially when she faked an Irish/English accent. I went over the top when she tried to do a little child's voice which was akin to nails on a chaklboard. I'm not sure if I can listen to the rest of the book although I really do want to give it a chance.
With this one Ms. Roberts brings you into the lives of a fictious rock band from thier beginings in the 60's to thier comming to terms with life in the 90's. The focus of the story is Emma, and how she deals with the life she was thrown into. Sex, drugs, and rock n'roll; social movements, the death of political and rock icons, Woodstock, murder, homosexuality, abusive cycles, dysfunction, and of course love and loyalty. A down and dirty voyeuristic look into life in the glass house. I fear I must warn you though, this book is a bit dark, not a light hearted romance story. This one goes on the re-read list.
I enjoy books that are so long as it gives me time to really get to know the characters and you "live" them for a while. The story was excellent and once you make peace with the fact that not all the accents are accurate, the narrator is also pretty good. Well worth the credit!
I loved the main character, Emma, the colorful people in her life, especially her "Da." Nora Roberts really fleshed him out along with all the other supporting characters, especially the band mates and those close to them. There was plenty of steam which accompanied the love scenes. I'm not into sex story lines without the emotion attached so this was very satisfying.
When as a little girl, Emma came upon what had happened the night of her parents' party and any scene with MIchael. Descriptions of the crazy world of rock stars was well done and very interesting. The lifestyle of the band was fascinating and they were all loveable.
I LOVED Renee Raudman's narration. I like her better and better to the point where I seek out novels that she has narrated. Her accents are excellent. I can tell when she's narrating a male character. Her voice is different, distinctive and to my ears wonderfully expressive. Keep up the great work, Renee!
Yes, I could have done a marathon listen. Since it's 20 hours plus long that was pretty much not going to happen. This is a book I will go back and listen to again. This is notable because I normally never read, listen or watch books, audiobooks or movies more than once. Public Secrets breaks that rule.
Public Secrets is a classic example of the excellent product that Nora Roberts creates when she does a full blown 400+ page novel. Like the recently published, "The Witness," and "The Collector" she writes mystery and intrigue into her stories. Her H & H are beautiful, flawed, and redeemable characters for which the reader roots for a happy ending. Thank you for the many hours of please, Nora Roberts!
good narration when she wasn't using an accent. but, unfortunately, mastering various accents is a must-have for this story. truly ruined the book for me.
Through the years I have listen to every nora roberts audio book I could afford. This is my favorite! What a great story. Nora thank you for the years of entertainment.
I would recommend the story. Nora Roberts is a great storyteller
Not if she is going to try and speak in an English accent or any other accent other than American.
Renee Raudman should have just read the book in her normal voice. Her rendition of an English accent was horrendous. Being British, it made me cringe every time she tried to do it!!
"Okay story ruined by dreadful narrator"
It was ok, but I almost gave up because of the narrator
A different narrator
Using someone who could actually read with a southern English accent as many of the characters are English
What a shame, I usually look forward to and enjoy Noras' audiobooks.Does anyone vet the narrators? It would have been obvious from the start that this person was unable to perform london accents and her Irish accent was only marginally better.
"Spoiled by narrator's dreadful 'Cockney' accent!"
The narrator must have attended the Dick Van Dyke school of Cockney accents. If you can't do an accent properly, please don't do it at all! It was painful to listen to, in the extreme. I am British, so perhaps am more attuned to these things, but I notice that a lady who lives in Canada has also complained about it. It totally spoiled the first part of the book, I am still listening, but hope there are no more London accents to be done.
"would be 5star but for narrator"
I love Nora Roberts books so as a story ranks high...
Emma of course
I've got the paperback but thought would use my credit to listen as bought a few audio books from Nora Roberts library but the narrator was so bad almost didn't continue with listening to this which is a shame.
"Appalling narration - I gave up halfway through"
I love Nora's books, except when they are set in Ireland or England. The constant americanisms and horrible mangled attempts at accents ruin the story.
Aweful narration, as bad as her irish novels.
The one who reads her In Death Series or the Virgin River books by Robyn Carr
Dont watch films or tv
Editors please make sure irish or english characters can speak their own language, not americanisms, and get actors/actresses who can do the accents corrctly. I gave up reading this book halfway through - as an englishwoman I couldnt understand the so-called cockney accents!
"Awful voice acting, attrocious dialect characters"
I haven't read the book
its similar to many other Nora Roberts books, well written and an enjoyable story
Anyone who can do British & Irish dialects.
This book was ruined for me by the awful dialects used by the narrator. The story is great, I'm a huge Nora Roberts fan, but the grate of the Dick Van Dyke style cockney / British accents ruined the audio book tor me, why use someone who can't do any British accents? I was incredibly disappointed, and would avoid any other book narrated by Renée Raudman, especially if there are other nationalities in the story other than American.
"Narrator car crash"
There have been some great actors who have mastered the English accent - most haven't and follow the Dick Van Dyke/Audrey Hepburn path. Having to listen to 20 hours of this narrator attempting the English accent was one of the most painful experiences I have had in a long time and totally ruined this book for me. She was terrible!
Good story as usual
She opened her mouth!! Seriously it was that bad!
"Accents are Awful"
The narrator's attempts at accents are appallingly bad. Her English accents are diabolical. The child Emma starts off as if she is from the slums of the East End of London and ends up with a true Irish accent.
The book itself is fabulous, as one would expect from Nora Roberts
Don't even consider buying this as audio unless you've never heard any English accent other than Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins and even then you will be disappointed. The story is fine, as good as the usual Nora Roberts books so if you want to read it, buy the hard copy book, not the audio version. Would have been better just read straight in an American accent. The so-called cockney speech is almost unintelligible, even to a Brit.
Not sure I can face listening to the end.
Only if read completely in her natural American accent which is perfectly pleasant to listen to. Her pacing and interpretation is good. It's just that appalling attempt at English and Irish accents.
All the speech which isn't American. Sadly that would remove an awful lot of the book.
"Preserve and it's worth it"
Thoroughly enjoyed the book, there is s big BUT though, the English accents at the start of the book are totally off putting, and nearly had me returning the title. These stop after a while and it's a great story which I enjoyed!
Not one of Nora Roberts' best - very slow start and obvious plot.
No - a lot of much better books around.
Practically all the main characters are British - so why choose a narrator who is American? Not only American, but totally unable to produce a realistic male voice and the British accents were unbelievably bad. One of the worst narrations I have had the misfortune to listen to.
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