Rated of 5
by Mary (Rohnert Park CA)
A touch of madness
The Last Secret is a nearly perfect book. The structure of the narrative and the present tense keep the reader right in the middle of the action, whether the action is external or internal. And the internal is absolutely fascinating, equally if not more suspenseful, a integral part of the plot in a way not many writers can pull off.
The unfolding of the main character, Nora, is brilliant. It's not just of a question of whether Nora has ever crossed into darkness, but if she wants to, if she believes that's all she is at her core. One character tells her: "You're just fighting the wrong fight. All you're seeing inside is sin, when it's your own goodness you should be looking for." What happens if you look and look for goodness but there doesn't seem to be any to find? How does that belief affect your actions? Or lack of action? The battles you pick and the ones that pick you? At some point the lies we tell ourselves and the secrets we keep catch up to us and we can only hope redemption might catch up at the same time. Sometimes it does, sometimes not.
Mary McGarry Morris has written a page-turner that pulls the reader deep into both the psyches of her characters and the reader's own psyche. It's one of those stories that sends you looking for someone who's read it so you can discuss it for hours. So many issues: if no one believes us, are we wrong? Is there ever "one true story"? What constitutes insanity? What is any given individual capable of? Or incapable of? What, if anything, can "subdue the darkness"? And so much more. I can't stop thinking about it. Wonderful book.