Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review: Secret Keepers by Mindy Friddle

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 28, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312537026
ISBN-13: 978-0312537029

Set in the small South Carolina town of Palmetto, we spend the summer with the Hanley family; Emma, 72 year old whose dream of a "Trip of a lifetime" has gone by the wayside with the recent unexpected death of her husband. Now she spends her days taking care of her schizophrenic son, Bobby, and helping her grandson, Kyle, in a mild deception. Emma gave up her longed for trip but fate may just have something even better in store for her.

Dora, Emma's daughter, is married to the overly controlling and religious Donny. Life is one constant financial struggle after another. Dora does her duty, both wifely and motherly, but looks back to her younger, more wilder days with nostalgia and pangs of regret.

When Jake Carey, Dora's first love, returns to Palmetto and starts his landscaping business, lives in Palmetto are turned upside down. The flowers he and his crew plant around town have the magical ability to bring back haunting memories to those who smell them. For Jake, it's the memories of Dora and lazy summer days. It may never be too late to find or reclaim love in the most unlikely places and when the characters least expect it.

Secret Keepers is a quiet story that just steals your heart. I was so taken with these characters right from the start. Southern atmosphere done to perfection with Friddle's beautiful writing:

"At Amaranth, precisely where Emma Hanley's grandfather once planted his beloved Animus mico in full view of an appalled audience of dour businessmen in the drawing room, tender green buds now clasped in folds, shy as virgins. Fronds unfurled like geisha's fans, flashing lacy pleasures."

These characters felt like friends I have known for a long time and their personalities will stay with me for quite a while. 4****

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Picador through LibraryThings early reviewer program.


  1. This was a lovely book, wasn't it?
    One thing that I found funny was how Dora shopped for things she didn't need (not that she did it but WHAT she bought) with money she didn't have.
    I'll be looking for more from Mindy Friddle!

  2. I'm so in love with that cover and this one sounds like a book that I find myself drawn to!!

  3. sounds like an interesting book and the Secret Keepers seems to be a pretty popular title for books lately.

  4. I have not read this one yet but from the looks of it, it sounds like a good read. I'll go hunting for a copy soon. Thanks for sharing your review.

  5. This sounds like a book I will be adding to my Wish List. Thanks for the nice review.

  6. I need to read this! Mindy Friddle is a local author for me!

  7. I have this one on my list to read already. I wonder if I wrote it after reading Mary's review. Glad to hear you loved it too.

  8. I have this one here and want to get to it at some point. Glad to hear such a good recommendation from you, Kaye! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Hi Kaye--and everyone!
    A kind soul forwarded the link to your wonderful blog. So happy to hear the kind words about SECRET KEEPERS, and the generous review:)

  10. This sounds wonderful. I enjoy stories with a southern setting.


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