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Secrets She Left Behind (Anglais) Broché – 20 août 2010

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 91 commentaires
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A great conclusion 28 mai 2009
Par Loves those books - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This book is a wonderful conclusion to the stories that began in "Before the Storm". As Chamberlain is known for, this storyline quickly pulls you in and doesn't let go until the very last page. I read it in a week (and that is saying something since I am a stay at home mom of two). I am actually sad that I am finished, I want to know more about what happens with the Lockwoods...maybe Diane Chamberlain will make this a trilogy? In any case, if you are a fan of Chamberlains' this book will not dissapoint.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Too much of a soap opera (2.5 stars) 18 octobre 2009
Par Karie Hoskins - Publié sur
Format: Broché Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
I didn't find out that this book was a sequel to "Before the Storm" until I finished it and was flipping through the ads at the back. I open with that, because had I known that, and/or had I read the first book, my feelings about "Secrets She Left Behind" might be different.

Maybe then I might have understood more about why the characters took the actions they did, or if not, maybe I would have been more emotionally invested in them so that it didn't matter as much. This book is very soap opera like, but instead of having each plot point drawn out FAR too long (as in the soap operas I used to watch) major things like arson, rampant infidelity, fetal alcohol syndrome, etc just get skimmed over. It's like the author drops them into the plot to shake it up but then never lets us know why the characters do these things. (Again, had I read the first book, things may have been explained there, but at some point, this book needs to be strong enough to stand on its own.)

Maggie, one of the main characters, is released from prison in the beginning of the book. She served 12 months for arson, after setting (although not lighting) a fire in which several people died. The deepest explanation I have for why she did this is that her married boyfriend was a firefighter and she wanted him to succeed. The reader is not shown through any thoughts or flashbacks what type of relationship this was that led her to these actions. We are just told over and over that now she is sorry and now she is a good person. With a pretty healthy ego, I might add. When confronted by an angry group of adults during her community service, she thinks: "I brought out the mean side in them. How many of them knew me personally? Some did, I was sure of it. Some were probably the parents of my former friends - my friends before I flipped out. They'd probably wanted their kids to hang out with me back then, hoping a little of me would rub off on their own children. Now they thought I was crazy or dangerous. Maybe both." Keep in mind that she served one year for a fire that killed and maimed children and adults.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this book was the total lack of foreshadowing. Instead of carefully crafting a subtle arc of clues for a major reveal, at one point of the characters drops a bombshell that gives away the game for the reader, but then we are supposed to believe that Maggie doesn't notice. It's a spoken line that in the real world would have caused her to take a step back and she certainly would have started asking some serious questions, but the author expects us to believe that she just let the bombshell go by, and maybe, I don't know, saw something shiny. That's just lazy writing, and even worse, lazy editing.

I think there might have been one real story here. One about what led a young girl to commit arson and/or how she deals with her life after prison, or maybe the story of a boy disfigured by that arson and his attempts to rebuild his life, or one about the mothers of either the girl or boy and how they deal with their children in those situations. But ALL of these stories are here, plus about five others. It's too much, and as a result, there's too little. Too little character development, too little craftsmanship, too few insights. Had the author kept a focus - maybe there would have been less soap opera and more moments like this:

"Anyone could have been holding her at that moment, and she would have seemed just a peaceful. But it wasn't just anyone. It was me. And I felt strangely lucky to be able to hold her in my arms that way. She'd felt light that last time I'd held her here in her room. Now she seemed to become lighter by the second, and it took me a moment to understand the reason: circled by my arms, she was already turning to dust."

In this one moment, the author stops moving the characters around, and instead, keeps them still. And by doing so, finally moves the reader.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Excellent story that didn't quite stand alone 15 octobre 2009
Par C. Quinn - Publié sur
Format: Broché Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed this book; Chamberlain is an excellent storyteller. That said, there were a lot of points during the novel when I found myself feeling a little lost, and it wasn't until I was finished with the book that I realized the first half of the story was told in Before the Storm. As I hadn't read the first book, I definitely felt at a disadvantage during some of the action.

This book is an unflinching look at the consequences from our actions however big or small. It is also a story of forgiveness and redemption as almost every character has something to atone for, something to be forgiven. Keith is catapulted into adulthood by the fire which almost claimed his life and by the sudden disappearance of his mother Sara. His half-sister Maggie (who started the fire that almost killed him) is wrestling with a community unwilling to forget and her own unwillingness to forgive.

The structure of the story that bounces between diary entries that explain the complicated history these two families share and their present-day attempts to navigate through that history to find truthful answers. I did think the ending was a little contrived, and that ending, combined with the need to read Before the Storm first, dropped this from 5 stars to 4. All in all, a great read, especially I imagine if read as intended as a sequel.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The past won't go away quietly 5 juin 2010
Par Linda Bulger - Publié sur
Format: Broché Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Have you ever come fifteen minutes late to a meeting and spent the next hour and three quarters trying to fill in the blanks? Missed the introductions and the part where the chairperson summed up the situation to date? That's the feeling I had with Secrets She Left Behind. There seemed an odd lack of back-story and the characters knew each other's history while I was scrambling to figure it out. At last I realized that this book is a sequel, which had not been apparent from the editorial notes I read before ordering.

With that knowledge on board I just inferred what I could and took the story at face value. Maggie Lockwood, age 19, is being released from prison after a one-year incarceration for arson. Seventeen-year-old Keith, her half-brother, is badly scarred and in chronic pain from injuries he sustained in the fire. Keith's mother Sara (who is Maggie's mother Laurel's former best friend) goes to the store and doesn't come back. Keith nurtures his hatred of Maggie and manages on his own, but badly. Maggie's younger brother Andy, whose personality is clouded by fetal alcohol syndrome, is just trying to grow up with no more disasters in his life.

There are many more twists to the family relationships than I can possibly share here without giving the story away--but this is a story about passions of the past spreading misery to the next generation. Can Laurel's honesty about her troubled past bring redemption to her daughter and damaged son? Can she find happiness with her dead husband's brother who was a part of that troubled past? Will the truth about Keith's past heal his pain? What happened to Sara and will she be reunited with her son?

Author Diane Chamberlain's writing is absorbing and clear. She uses the voices of Maggie, Keith and Andy to tell their stories in alternating chapters, interspersed with sections from the missing Sara's journals drip-feeding the past to us. This alternating-narrator technique is quite popular and often effective, but in this case with one of the four narrators writing from the past, I found that it broke the pace of the story. In spite of that, once I understood the context of the book it was a good read--though disconcertingly complex and not served well by the ending which was too tidily wrapped up for my taste.

Read the first book first (Before The Storm). In fact, if you have a lazy vacation planned, take them both along. Read them while you're away from real life and can suspend your disbelief. You'll be entertained in an unchallenging way, and you can decide for yourself if everyone gets what they deserve. Three and a half stars.

Linda Bulger, 2010
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Unsympathetic Characters 7 octobre 2009
Par A. Luciano - Publié sur
Format: Broché Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Everyone in this novel is tortured--Maggie by her prison sentence and the memory of the deadly fire she caused, Keith by his burn injuries, Laurel by her alcoholic past, Sara by her lost love and the feeling she's been a bad parent to her son.

This story, told through each character's viewpoint in alternating chapters, explores the way a small group of people tries to recover from a tragedy. Maggie, a deeply in love teenager, arranged for a fire to be set at a church so her boyfriend could prove himself a competent firefighter. Although she tried to stop the fire at the last minute, the church ended up going up in flames, killing three people and seriously injuring Maggie's half-brother, Keith.

Maggie served a year in prison and now is out, looking for community service and trying to come to terms with the fact that everyone hates her. Meanwhile, Keith is just trying to get through each day, and is consumed with hatred for his half-sister. Making his life even more difficult is the fact that on the day Maggie was released from prison, Keith's mother, Sara, went missing. Keith is convinced that his mother would never leave him, but signs point to her doing just that. Keith is in pain, confused, and angry at the world around him. Then a girl comes into his life who doesn't seem to mind the way he looks, and who actually wants to be around him. She leaves a lot of unanswered questions of her own, though.

The basics of this story are decent. It is interesting to think about how a community would be able to recover after such a terrible event. The characters in this story are flawed and pretty realistic; nobody is perfect.

My main problem was that I didn't like a single one of them. I couldn't help feeling contempt for both Laurel and Sara as their past with Jamie was described. Maggie had a year in prison to think about what she'd done and start to come to terms with it, but she was still shocked that people were so angry when she got home. Keith, likewise, had plenty of time to think about what had happened, and to gain some appreciation of what his mother had done for him, but he remained completely selfish throughout the story.

I intensely disliked all of the characters in this story, so wasn't terribly concerned with whether they were in danger or not. Perhaps if I'd read the previous story about these characters, I would have a better understanding of them and would be able to have more sympathy for them.
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