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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

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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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.

52 of 55 people found this review helpful

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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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • OLIVIA
  • ATLANTA, GA, United States
  • 07-31-14

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!

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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worst narrator ever

What did you love best about Public Secrets?

Good story.

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

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • 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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Janice
  • SKOWHEGAN, ME, United States
  • 07-30-14

Timewalk through rock n'roll history

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.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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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.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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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.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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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

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  • 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 4 people found this review helpful

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  • 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • 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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Manda Webb
  • 02-01-15

Awful voice acting, attrocious dialect characters

Would you consider the audio edition of Public Secrets to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the book

What other book might you compare Public Secrets to, and why?

its similar to many other Nora Roberts books, well written and an enjoyable story

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

Anyone who can do British & Irish dialects.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • 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 4 people found this review helpful

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  • 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

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  • 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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michelle Taylor-mitchell
  • 09-17-17

Really bad narrating

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Definitely. The narration is horrific

What could Nora Roberts have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

book is ok

How did the narrator detract from the book?

the narration

Did Public Secrets inspire you to do anything?

not listen to another book with such a poor attempt at an Irish or east end accent

Any additional comments?

Did nobody listen to this before publishing it!!!!!
Irish and east end accents are not that hard to master... Find someone that is at least competent...

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  • S. Needham
  • 08-10-17

Enjoyable tale but the accents aghhhh!

It's a known fact that Americans can't do a cockney accent. Dick Van Dyke proved that long ago. I almost gave up on listening in the first 5 mins and even at the end it still made me grimace. Please don't do it again

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  • Lorrie
  • 02-14-17

Good story poor delivery.

As always Nora Roberts has a story to tell that's worth receiving. However the reader in this instance would have been much better sticking to the accents she knows and is comfortable with. Her appalling cockney English was excruciating. Such a shame.

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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!!!

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  • Glenys
  • 05-09-16

Wonderful

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

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  • Dannielle
  • 10-20-15

Great story.

Great story, you just have to keep listening . Good performance however the Cockney acceny made me cringe.

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  • Carolyn
  • 09-13-15

brilliant one of the best

love it so believable couldn't turn it off. real people about real events in history

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  • Janet
  • 08-09-15

Public Secrets- a story of sadness.

I enjoyed the story but found the narration annoying when she was doing the accents of the different characters.

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