Thursday, July 22, 2010
Review: Secret Keepers by Mindy Friddle
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 28, 2009)
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.