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Publisher's Summary

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..

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,751
  • 4 Stars
    631
  • 3 Stars
    214
  • 2 Stars
    71
  • 1 Stars
    46

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,626
  • 4 Stars
    513
  • 3 Stars
    160
  • 2 Stars
    67
  • 1 Stars
    59

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,571
  • 4 Stars
    566
  • 3 Stars
    188
  • 2 Stars
    63
  • 1 Stars
    43
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Long, Dark, Depressing, Boring & Disappointing

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.

73 of 78 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Worst accents ever heard on Audible?

I'm not sure anyone could listen to this book without being totally distracted by the reader's horrendous accents. Irish meets New Jersey or British meets standard American meets New Yorker? Yikes.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Long book, but worth every hour!!

Any additional comments?



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!

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Liesl
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • 10-22-14

Loved it

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!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Terrible accents

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If the narrator's performance was even half decent

Would you be willing to try another one of Renee Raudman’s performances?

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.

What character would you cut from Public Secrets?

I don't know. I couldn't listen to the whole book

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

public secrets

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.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Cringe-worthy narrator

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Renee Raudman?

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.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Life

This was one of the best books I've read by Nora Roberts! It was excellent the characters and storyline fantastic. Life's twists and turns and survival. Such a talented writer!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved everything about it!

What did you love best about Public Secrets?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Public Secrets?

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.

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

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!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

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.

Any additional comments?

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

THE BEST OF THE BEST

I LOVE NORA ROBERTS!! this book is just amazing. The narrator is AWESOME. Felt like I was watching a movie. Nora, we need more stories like this one.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kate
  • 08-06-14

Spoiled by narrator's dreadful 'Cockney' accent!

How could the performance have been better?

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-05-14

would be 5star but for narrator

Where does Public Secrets rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I love Nora Roberts books so as a story ranks high...

Who was your favorite character and why?

Emma of course

Would you be willing to try another one of Renee Raudman’s performances?

No

Any additional comments?

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • lynn
  • 08-30-14

Okay story ruined by dreadful narrator

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was ok, but I almost gave up because of the narrator

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

A different narrator

How could the performance have been better?

Using someone who could actually read with a southern English accent as many of the characters are English

Did Public Secrets inspire you to do anything?

No

Any additional comments?

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs. L. E. Simpson
  • 08-29-14

Narrator car crash

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

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!

If you’ve listened to books by Nora Roberts before, how does this one compare?

Good story as usual

How did the narrator detract from the book?

She opened her mouth!! Seriously it was that bad!

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Possibly

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ann in Durham
  • 08-26-14

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

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Catherine
  • 08-29-14

Appalling narration - I gave up halfway through

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

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.

If you’ve listened to books by Nora Roberts before, how does this one compare?

Aweful narration, as bad as her irish novels.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Renee Raudman?

The one who reads her In Death Series or the Virgin River books by Robyn Carr

Could you see Public Secrets being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Dont watch films or tv

Any additional comments?

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!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-04-18

Shocking accents

This wasn’t a bad story, but the accents - particularly the English ones - were so atrocious I almost gave up listening.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lacewing
  • 06-04-18

To the end

Loved this book as it had more chapters AND it keeps you wondering all the way to the end

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Angie Stokes
  • 04-22-18

Great story but......

I really enjoyed this story but the narrator’s British /Irish accents were so awful i nearly switched off after 5 mins. Please could nobody have realised that is not how we speak!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • 04-18-18

Pleasant story. Accents are appalling and spoils the experience

I’m so sad to write an unpleasant review, but this has been so difficult to listen too. I don’t know if someone who is not from England would find it as hard, but a lot of the characters are English and the performer was really unable to do those accents well. They all sounded laboured and despite there being a range of different social groups represented, they all sounded like rough cockneys. I adore audio books and am seldom very distracted by specific performances, but this really was very hard work to listen too.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 02-19-15

Awful narration!

The narration of this story is terrible. Awful attempt at British accents. I can't comment on the story as I couldn't bear to listen more than 5hrs of it. Such a pity.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • May
  • 03-24-15

Great story, unbelievably awful accents

I enjoyed the compelling story, memorable characters and the twists and turns of the plot. I am appalled, however at the insultingly bad attempt at British accents. Renee, only village idiots sound like village idiots. Not every Brit. Makes me glad there were no Aussies in the plot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-20-18

Shocking reader

Couldn’t listen more than a few chapters. The reader had such ridiculous and extremely irritating voice impressions!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sue Casey
  • 03-04-18

Storyline was good but!

The narrators accents were painful, If I could have given a minus rating I would have. The storyline was good you just have persevere.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • 11-05-17

Great story, awful accent!

I wonder if the producers of this audiobook actually listened to it whilst being made. The readers natural accent is lovely but good god the attempt at Irish - English is so painful to listen to. There are so many great English readers not too sure why on such a good story they could not acquire one. I'm struggling to finish the book but I want to hear Emma's life....

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Megan
  • 09-11-17

should have used a British voice actor.

a British voice actor should have been used the accents made it hard concentrate. x

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • PrincessBiff
  • 07-22-16

Good story if you can stand the terrible accents

As usual a great story combining suspense and romance from Norah Roberts. Unfortunately it was spoilt for me by the unbelievably awful rendition of various British accents. Almost funny they were so bad. If performers can't do accents accurately they should stick to their native accent.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabeth Walker
  • 06-25-16

Don't give up

Always enjoy Nora Roberts' stories. Almost gave up on this one due to the narrator's attempts at the many British voices involved. Some were fine but others were forced and unrealistic. Her natural voice was very clear and easy on the ear.
Worth perseverance to enjoy the gripping story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Irit
  • 06-19-16

The best Nora Roberts for me for now!

Fascinating plot, interesting characters, rich in drama and suspense. Pure entertainment!
The narration is a bit off... It sounded as if all the British characters were "too common British".... But for me the plot compensated the narration.
Over all experience - LOVED IT!!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Glenys
  • 05-09-16

Wonderful

Found it took a little to start but once start was edge of the seat stuff