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Publisher's Summary

Olivia's marriage to an African-American man was unacceptable to her mother Emma, Southern-bred descendant of prominent South Carolina slaveholders. Olivia assumed that bigotry was the product of her mother's loyalty to long-dead relatives, an allegiance to maintain the family's white blood line. After Emma's death though, Olivia finds a letter and an old journal among her belongings. Soon, she discovers the secret that prompted Emma to irrationally blame an entire race - a secret that had nothing to do with family history, although it strongly paralleled another tragic event from the past.
1846, Marianne Witherell's journal: Before Lincoln and the American Civil War, slavery is at its peak in South Carolina. A young slave girl named Willa suddenly arrives at Heavenly Plantation with her mother Heddie, destined to serve the wealthy plantation family as house servants. Right away, two of the Master's children - Marianne and Seth - forge a bond with Willa, in spite of their older brother Foster's warnings about the evils of mixing with the "darkies".
Although she grows up in the "big house" treated like family by her pair of white friends, Willa cannot forget that she is still a slave. Never is that fact made clearer than when Foster cruelly taunts and threatens her in secret. As it threads through the lives of its diverse characters, this novel captures the complicated and often violent nature of life in the antebellum South.
As Willa's story is told, a dramatic tapestry is woven, binding the Witherell family to a web of secrets that include forbidden love and faithful friendships alongside dangerous obsessions, mental instability, and even murder.
©2013 Teresa Robison (P)2016 Teresa Robison
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By LSM on 07-31-16

Great Story Wrong Choice of Narrator

The story was amazing, however the narrator was not suited for this particular story. He has a nice voice but his voice tones and fluctuations did match the story. For one the main character and several of the other characters were female so I was forced to try and re translate most of the story into a female voice that the characters may have had. Also the way he read was not right. There was a persistent tone and fluctuation of voice that no matter what was being read, dramatic and sad or joyful and happy, did not change. But the story kept me listening. I would re buy and re listen to this book again if a more suited narrator read it.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful


By Kim on 06-29-16

Don't waste a credit

What would have made The Secrets of Heavenly better?

The narration of this book is THE WORST. Why in the world would you have a male narrator when most of the character dialogue is female. I've only listened to an hour or so and it's so boring and the narration so bad that I had to stop. I'm so mad to have lost a credit on this one.

What could Teresa Robison have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Picked a better narrator.

Would you be willing to try another one of Chris Abell’s performances?

NO

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7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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