Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

A Secret Kept
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Published: September 14, 2010
Genre: contemporary fiction
Hardcover: 303 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): It all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood.  Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach.  It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island—over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased.  But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer.  When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car. Recovering from the accident in a nearby hospital, Mélanie tries to recall what caused her to crash.  Antoine encounters an unexpected ally: sexy, streetwise Angèle, a mortician who will teach him new meanings for the words life, love and death.  Suddenly, however, the past comes swinging back at both siblings, burdened with a dark truth about their mother, Clarisse.

My Thoughts: This was my first time reading Tatiana de Rosnay and I had high hopes. I have heard so many great things about her books (particularly Sarah's Key) that I knew I would have to give her a try. And while this book was okay, it lacked quite a bit for me. The description made it seem like this would be more of a mystery book, about Antoine trying to discover his mother's secret. However, until the last 100 pages or so, that seems as if it is a secondary part of the book. I wish that de Rosnay had explored that more because I thought it was a great story line. Just never developed for me. I also didn't like how there was no sense of time throughout the novel. Sometimes, you jump ahead eight months with no idea that it has happened. It made it a little jarring to read, at points.

There is quite a bit of death in this novel, but I liked how de Rosnay worked with that theme. She has Angele, the mortician, the person who handles death and brings beauty to it. You have Antoine and Melanie dealing with the death of their mother, someone they barely know. Another character dies (no spoilers here, don't worry!) and you see the impact it has on a community. Then there is a death of someone who Antoine loathes, who has hidden who his mother really was. I felt like de Rosnay really explored this theme in so many different ways that you finished the book with a greater understanding of how death affects different people.

While it may not be my favorite book ever, de Rosnay has intrigued me enough to want to read more of her work. Have you read any of de Rosnay's books? Please let me know your opinions! I would love to hear what other people think about her books!  

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