Thursday, May 12, 2011

Audiobook Review: A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

Here is a summary of A Secret Kept from the Macmillan website:

This stunning new novel from Tatiana de Rosnay, author of the acclaimedNew York Times bestseller Sarah’s Key, plumbs the depths of complex family relationships and the power of a past secret to change everything in the present.

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.  

Trapped in the wake of a shocking family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children.  How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself?  Suddenly fragile on all fronts as a son, a husband, a brother and a father, Antoine Rey will learn the truth about his family and himself the hard way. By turns thrilling, seductive and destructive, with a lingering effect that is bittersweet and redeeming, A Secret Kept is the story of a modern family, the invisible ties that hold it together, and the impact it has throughout life.

My Review:
I was very excited to have a copy of this audiobook in my possession that was read by Simon Vance.  I've heard such wonderful things about his narration but have yet to listen to one of his stories.  Although this isn't a suspenseful audiobook, it is quite emotional as we journey with Antoine to his past as he recalls what life was like when his mother was alive and how it changed after she died.  This event obviously impacted him in a way that would affect how he cares for his own family and children.

Antoine is a divorced father who decides to take his sister Melanie on a special birthday vacation.  How could he know that the vacation would spur Melanie's memory to recall something about their mother that would cause a serious accident?  The accident would put Melanie on a long path of recuperation and also introduce Angele into Antione's life, who becomes a welcome love interest to him.  He finally can stop pining after his ex-wife as he now has the sexy and exciting Angele to look forward to spending time with.

When Melanie and Antoine were quite young their mother died, and it doesn't seem that either of them were given the opportunity to properly grieve for her.  As the emotions finally have a chance to surface, memories and questions about her death follow closely behind.  As Antoine surveys his mothers medical records he seems to have more questions, but will the answers bring him resolution or only create more heartache?  As Antoine deals with his feelings about his mother he finds that helps him to become a better father to the children that he seems to be growing apart from.

I must admit that this wasn't an audiobook that I found much enjoyment from.  I did enjoy parts of the story but I don't think I would have liked it more had I actually read it either.  With themes of secrets and parenting it was an interesting book to listen to, but you may enjoy it more than I did.

My Rating:  3/5

Disclosure:  This audiobook was from my personal collection and I listened to it for my own entertainment.

You can check out more great book reviews over at Cym Lowell's Book Review Party Wednesday!


DCMetroreader said...

Sorry this wasn't a great one, but sometimes it is like that. Hopefully, the next audiobook will be better!

Anonymous said...

Hm. Not sure this one would work for me either.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

After reading her emotional first book, I didn't think I go do another. :(

Unknown said...

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this book as much as you hoped too. I've read mixed reviews of it. Tatiana de Rosnay's previous book Sarah's Key seems to be much more well-liked overall. have you read it?

Anna said...

I really liked Sarah's Key but I'm hesitant to read this one because of all the tepid reviews. Thanks for your honest assessment.

Teresa said...

Hmmm I've really wanted to read or listen to this one. Maybe there is a reason it hasn't found its way to me yet...

France said...

Great book, well written and captivating. Past tragedies are conveyed in mild tones and weaved with a contemporary storyline. Excellent job evoking emotion without excessive, distracting graphics.