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Publisher's Summary

The sudden disappearance of Sara Weston is a mystery to her seventeen-year-old son, Keith. A survivor of an arson fire, Keith is still healing, and in Sara's absence, he must face a challenging situation alone: the release of his half-sister, Maggie, from prison. Maggie, who was partially responsible for the fire, is the handiest target for Keith's rage. Reintegration into the outside world proves difficult for Maggie, even beyond dealing with Keith and her guilt. Somehow the two must find a way to overcome the past because Maggie and her family may be all Keith has left.

©2009 Diane Chamberlain (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A fast-paced read that . . . Explores the psychological complexity of a family pushed to its limits." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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Good read

I couldn't stop with this one. I thought it was put together nicely with the four narratives and told a good story. All four characters kept me interested. Definitely would recommend it. My only issue was that the female narrator did an excellent job with the female characters but her grown male impersonations made me nuts. I'm glad she didn't have many male lines!

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Good story. Narration not so much.

While I did appreciate the storyline, I found this audiobook difficult to listen to, particularly due to the adult male characters' narration. The voices for Jamie, the psychiatrist, and several others were so low and gravelly it was painful to listen to.

The female voice did a decent job but the breathy ingenue quality did get tiresome.

I may have enjoyed the story more if not for the narration, but that was difficult to get past. I almost didn't listen past the 30 minutes or so, but eventually finished the book simply to find out what happened.

Chamberlain's characters are always thoughtfully written with many layers and realistic nuances, and this book was no exception. Just when I think I've identified a villain or saint, she throws in curves that make the character so much more lifelike and sympathetic.

This was not my favorite Diane Chamberlain novel, but it's hard to say how much the irritating performances influence that perception.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

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Not my favorite

I hated the narrators - it was so hard to get past the painfully gravelly male voices and the whiny female voices. The story eventually sucked me enough for me to be able to ignore the irritating voices.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Horrible narration, boring story - not typical for author

I like almost all of her books but this one was pretty boring. Narration killed me... Really bothersome.

The male was painful to listen to. Felt forced. The two male characters kept sounding like the same person. The female's voice was constantly on the verge of tears.


Out of 5 book, this is the only one I dislike, so overall I do like this author and her other narrators.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A really great book!

First of all, this is a great story about the highs and lows of life, the complexities of human relationships and the many subtle shades the human soul. The story kept you engaged all the way through. The characters were well developed and relatable. The narration was great too. This is definitely one of this author's best book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Chick novel..very Jodi Picoult in style

I've been on a real Diane Chamberlain kick this rainy spring (when I'd rather be working in the yard). Most of her novels are good-above average all the way. This one is great!.

I had figured out the punch line about 1/3 of the way thru but was totally wrong about who the bad guy was. Love novels that trick me in the story line.

The characters are nicely drawn-I felt I knew Danny, Jade and Lisa, and the primary protagonist. Each is flawed in some way, they seem very human and fallible. Though some of the women are real drama queens, still we get to now their good sides also.

If you enjoy Jodi Picoult, this is a great back up listen-as are many of the other Diane Chamberlain novels.

Narration is excellent-I'll look for this reader in the future.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Couldn't stop listening!

I have really come to like this author ... Her stories keep me on the edge of my seat trying to figure it out.
It was a great plot and the characters were intriguing.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Fabulous story! Narration was just OK. But I do recommend this book!

This book was good! I would definitely recommend it to anyone! The story is well written and gripping from the beginning. It was woven well through many years and many lives but quite easy to follow!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Wendi
  • Houston, TX
  • 11-02-17

Perfect Except for Abby Craden's Awful Narration!

Secrets She Left Behind is another masterpiece by Ms. Chamberlain. She ties difficult relationships together over years and brings people together who we never would think possible. This book involves Maggie, a young lady who has been released from a year in prison over a mistake she made when she helped start a fire which, unbeknownst to her, would kill and maim people who weren't supposed to be in the building at the time.

Her mother, Laurel and her brother Andy (a baby born with fetal alcohol syndrome) are very well off as their dad deeded them money and property when he died. Keith, Maggie's half brother (long story) was burned in the fire and he wants nothing to do with Maggie. When Keith's mom Sara disappears one day, the whole town is looking for her- but some clues are missing. It starts to seem like nothing will turn out for an already troubled, suffering family.

Despite the female voice using a male voice that sounds like a drunken old smoker man (any man sounds this way), this is a great read and another one of Chamberlain's masterpieces. I love this author!

-Wendi

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Terrific!

Ahhhhh… it feels so good to be back to a really GOOD Diane Chamberlain book!

I discovered her in late 2013 and the first few books I read were really outstanding - she quickly became the kind of author whose books I would pick up just because she wrote them without reading the synopsis or knowing anything about the plot.

Sadly, the love affair didn’t last. The next few I read were less than stellar and my admiration for her began to fade; the last one I tried I flat out abandoned!

I bought this book ages ago because it was on sale, but since it was book 2 in a series I let it linger on my “to read” list until I would eventually (who knows when) read book 1. I got fed up seeing there for so long that I finally decided to get on with it …. WOW. I was absorbed from the start and did not want to put it down! It was terrific - back to the D.C. I loved with heartfelt stories that are so compelling, they really pull you in to another world.

Now I am in a hurry to read book 1!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • 5712.odea
  • 02-28-16

Very disappointing

could not finish. Narration was unbearable to listen too. Story line was not very interesting. had to return

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-24-15

brilliant story

absolutely loved it totally captivating what an amazing writer. orators excellent and made it very real.