This book is ok, but certainly not on my list of recommendations. Never found anything that was really worth the time it took to read. I read the entire book hoping only because I was too far in before I decided nothing substantial or even entertaining was going to happen.
Antione Rey is an unlikeable whiner who is upset that his kids don't talk to him...but does he talk to them about it? Of course not, he just whines and feels sorry for himself. He tends to feel sorry for himself for quite a lot. This insufferable personality made it really hard to get to the end of the story where the "big mystery" was finally revealed. Sadly, the "big mystery" is just a great big "so what" instead. What could have been a story about a beautifully tragic love affair was instead made to be a dark story laced with morose characters that were very difficult to sympathize with.
This story was such a disappointment after reading Sarah's Key. The idea was good, though -- a mother who dies too young, and 30 years later her secret love affair is revealed. What an interesting premise. Could have been a good story, but the characters were fraught with unnecessary drama, self pity, and downright unlikeableness.
Tatiana de Rosnay is a great writer, and I loved Sarah's Key. But this book just didn't do it for me. I just couldn't relate to the main character. And like one other reviewer mentioned, I found it a bit corny at times. The book moves at a good pace and will keep you interested, but if you're looking for another Sarah's Key, this isn't it.
This is essentially a book about death - a death that happened a long time ago that is never resolved for the family, death of the young, a near death experience, and impending death. One of the characters is even a mortician. The title and book jacket imply a family story with its relationships and connections over the years. That is not what the book delivers unfortunately.
I had a hard time with the beginning of this story as I found it a little corny for some reason but once I was able to get into it, it grabbed me and I ended up really liking it. As the title suggests, this story is about a secret that is kept for many years until, with a little bit of detective work, the main character in the story, Antoine, finds out about a dark family truth. This story takes place in France again, like Sarah's Key did, and I was pleasantly surprised when I learned about the Gois Passage, a submersible road which you can use to get to the island of Noirmoutier only at low tide. Good story about love, its secrets and its power...
4.0 out of 5 stars A journey of discovery and a tale of a family..., August 14, 2010
By Denise Crawford "DC" (Missouri, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE) (REAL NAME)
This review is from: A Secret Kept (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed this very interesting story about a French family and the unraveling of the "secret" that was at the heart of the mystery in this novel. Although set in modern day France, the narrative has a timeless quality about it as a forty-ish, newly divorced man, Antoine Rey, starts investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of his mother, Clarisse, after his sister Melanie is injured in an automobile accident after suddenly remembering something dramatically suspicious about their mother while the two of them are off on holiday.
While his sister is hospitalized and during her recovery from her injuries, Antoine becomes compelled to find out more about his mother and who she was and how she died since both of her children feel as if they never really knew her and the subject has never been talked about within the family. In the course of his inquiries, he discovers and faces the truth about a mother he loved deeply but lost far too soon.
Antoine is a very complex man who is simultaneously dealing with his love and longing for his ex-wife and their three children-- two of whom are surly and distant teenagers -- and with the sudden urge to finally know more about his mother. He suffers loneliness and self doubt, bored with his career as architect, and morose about his lack of close relationships with his children and his father's family. I found him an interesting character with a lot of depth and sentimentality that led to many moments of self examination and introspection. The other supportive characters were not so well drawn, but did provide the means for Antoine to interact with and to push the narrative along.
I read the novel in one sitting. I don't think the story is so much about the revelation of the secret or even the nature of it, but more about the process of discovery and about the importance of exploring the bonds of family relationships and about knowing each other. Do children really ever know their parents -- and should they know everything? It is human nature to question and to want answers to the age-old question -- "why"...
I enjoyed the audio version of the book. I was immediately pulled into the story and the lives of the characters by Simon Vance's stellar narration. I wanted to love this book because Sarah's Key was such an engrossing and emotional read, but found this second effort somewhat lacking. If I had been reading this in print, I might not have finished it. I'm looking forward to her next effort with anticipation.
I loved Tatiana de Rosnay's Sarah's Key and even bought the DVD. When I saw this book in the book store I thought to myself that I had to have it thinking it would be as good as Sara's Key. I was very disappointed in it. It took about 100 pages before it started to get my intrest and soon after I lost interest again. There was really no mystery to it and it just wasn't my kind of story. I don't know if I'll ever try reading any of her books again after this one it was a waste of my time.
This book was meant to be read in one sitting, which I am unable to do. I'm only at around page 160 and it has taken me 2 weeks of forcing myself to continue to get this far. What uninteresting self-analysis of the hero Antoine, still pining for his unfaithful ex-wife. His affair with the intriguing Angèle (the hospital mortician) is so ludicrous (hot French chick jumps into bed with aging, out-of-shape Antoine), that I thought this section had been written by a man (male fantasy genre à la letters to Penthouse, but less erotic). Now that one of the reviews on Amazon revealed the "secret", perhaps I will put this down and give up. Final verdict: I made it to pg. 164 and have given up and posted it here for someone else. Very disappointing, especially after reading Sarah's Key in both French (Elle S'appelait Sarah) and English.
I really enjoyed Sarah's Key and was excited to find this book by the same author. Like others have said...truly nothing was that great about the book. I found myself just skimming the last part of the book so I could at least find out the "big secret" which never was truly solved either. Disappointing read.
I wasn't impressed. I found it to be a very slow and depressing novel. And the ending, uneventful. It was like when Forrest Gump decided to stop running. I guess it was good for someone who experienced a loss many years ago and just finding out the ins and outs of the death. I guess is brought closure.
The book was full of death. Everytime you turned a page another person was dying or had died.
The best part of the story was the relationships the main character had with his new lover and his deepening relationship with his children. That was good.
Loved Sarah's Key, so looked forward to this book by the same author. But reading this book is like walking through knee deep mud. It was difficult to trudge through it. It seems the author had a deadline to meet and thoroughly hated it. Because the story itself is incredibly negative. The main character, Antione, whines constantly. Everything in his life is sad, or hated, or a loss, or SOMETHING. I wanted to scream at him to shape up and get on with his life, instead of feeling sorry for himself about his ex wife, his job, his kids, his looks, his...well, you get the idea. The other reviewers tried to warn me, I guess, but I thought I'd find something at least redeemable about the book. After waiting for it for so long on the WL, it seemed foolish not to at least read it. If you like to feel down and depressed, fine - otherwise, skip this one. Would never recommend it. I'd give it a minus 2 stars!
I loved "Sarah's Key" so could not wait to read this book. Big disappointment! Plodding, uninteresting minutiae for page after page, pedestrian writing, and I never did get to the big secret before giving up on this complete waste of my time. Ms. de Rosnay, I know you can do better!
I didn't finish this book. I usually read historical or cozy mysteries. I was a little embarrassed by the descriptions of sex and put off by some of the coarser language.
The concept for the book seemed interesting to me, but I read for pleasure and decided that since I was uncomfortable with the language and sexual descriptions, I wasn't having fun reading this one. So I put it down.
This book was okay for me. It was a little slow getting going and a little over half way through I found myself wondering if we were ever going to get to the point. I did finish it, and ended up liking the ending okay but it was slow moving. I really liked her last book, Sarah's Key a lot more.
This book is a wonderful novel full of heart and passion. As a lover of all things French I admire the way the author draws you into the lush world of Paris and the French countryside. The story centers around forty-three year old architect Tonio Rey, who surprises his sister Melanie for her 40th birthday by taking her on a trip to a charming French town that his family used to summer at. While Tonio and Melanie have a nice holiday, Melanie surprises Tonio on the drive back home by announcing that she's remembered something from their past. Before she can tell him, Melanie drives off the road and is seriously injured in the ensuing car accident. This is the catalyst for Tonio to explore the past and the sudden and mysterious death of their mother Clarisse some thirty years earlier. Tonio, who has been left by his beautiful wife Astrid for another, younger man, is struggling in mid life with major issues such as divorce, alienation from his children, a distant father and unresolved issues regarding his mother's death. Although the story was interesting, the final resolution wasn't as captivating as the premise. I enjoyed the book but was left wanting a little more substance. Ultimately, I think this is a novel about discovery...about the past, about one's family and about one self.
Found this cover intriguing and picked up the book...love reading about Europe. Was a nice story. You'll root for the main character--a very good guy. Surprising and interesting turns. Very different from Sarah's Key--which I discovered next!!!! (not for the thin-of-skin)
The story moved slowly from the beginning & never completely captured my full attention. It wasn't what I expected at all & I was somewhat disappointed. Numerous characters require the reader to completely pay attention to detail to remember who is who & the story line didn't provide the interest necessary for that amount of concentration. Hopefully others will enjoy this book more than I.
I thought the protagonist, Antoine, had no backbone and didn't change through the story. I did like a minor character, the protagonist's love interest, Angele. This was a book discussion group choice and, as a group, we rated it 4 on a scale of 10, where 10 means Excellent.
Book is well written but, didn't have a wow factor of a secret that had not been told. A story starts then another drama and, it kept on building like a soap opera. The story is all about the "what if's" in life and,discovery of the past that will never change.
I loved SARAH'S KEY! I was, therefore, really excited to get deRosnay's second book. What a difference! Without marking the review as containing spoilers, it's hard to tell all the reasons I really didn't like this book. I hate checking reviews and finding "spoilers" or nothing.
I felt "The Secret" really didn't warrant a book about it. Then the author waffled on that. I just feel as if I've wasted several days on this read.
It was good enough to keep me from throwing it away, but that's all I can say. Just really not my cup of tea.