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Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island - over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased. But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.
Recovering from the accident in a nearby hospital, Mélanie tries to recall what caused her to crash. Antoine encounters an unexpected ally: sexy, streetwise Angèle, a mortician who will teach him new meanings for the words life, love and death. Suddenly, however, the past comes swinging back at both siblings, burdened with a dark truth about their mother, Clarisse.
Trapped in the wake of a shocking family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children. How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself? Suddenly fragile on all fronts as a son, a husband, a brother and a father, Antoine Rey will learn the truth about his family and himself the hard way.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Janice on 11-12-10
I read reviews complaining of the self centered, whining protagonist, and thought that perhaps those reviewers were being too harsh. I hoped that whatever The Secret of the title is would create enough of a compelling story to compensate for character weaknesses, as was the case in Sarah's Key. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to BE a compelling story. I have finally given up after listening to roughly half of the story - endless depressing descriptions of a man devoid of personality, admittedly at a loss as to how to relate to his children and moping about his ex-wife. But what finally did it was the unnecessary forensic descriptions of his "romantic" interlude in the morgue with the nymphomaniac mortician. I have not found a likable character yet and finally have decided I don't care what the secret is (although I do have a guess, and might go to my local book store just to turn to the end to see if I'm right). It's just not worth the hours more of tedious day-by-day woe-is-me. Grow a backbone and get on with it.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
By Eleanor Corner on 11-25-10
Great narration, boring story
While Simon Vance narrates this book extraordinarily well, it is insufficient to save this story from droning on about the French bourgeois, the French middle class, and subsequent ennui. The author's premise of an accident in which a sister is nearly killed is enticing but I think the real "Secret Kept," is why should the reader care.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful