Summary and book reviews of The Last Secret by Mary McGarry Morris

The Last Secret

A Novel

By Mary McGarry Morris

The Last Secret
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2009,
    288 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2010,
    288 pages.

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Book Summary

Mary McGarry Morris has been hailed as "one of the most skillful writers at work in America today" (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times). In The Last Secret, she tells the riveting story of Nora Hammond, a woman blessed with the perfect life: a charming husband, two bright teenage children, a successful career in the family's newspaper business, and an esteemed role in the charity work of her New England town. But Nora's comfortable existence threatens to unravel when she learns of her husband's longtime affair–and when the specter of a sordid incident from her youth returns with terrifying force.

Confronted by shame and betrayal, Nora suddenly feels dangerously alone. With no one to turn to, she becomes easy prey to a ghost from her past–the cunning, relentless Eddie Hawkins.

A tautly told tale of psychological tension and chilling moral complexity, The Last Secret accelerates to a shattering conclusion as it explores the irreparable consequences of one family's crimes of the heart. The Last Secret burnishes Mary McGarry Morris's reputation as one of our most prodigiously gifted writers.

They still don't believe her, and why should they, but it's always the same, it is – this same dream, darkness, heat, and the song, the same song, same deafening beat.

Driving. Midnight. Still driving; their beacon through the desert, flashing lights, pink and green neon from the roadhouse roof. Eddie cruises the parking lot. He parks on the farthest side, in shadows. Tired and hungry, she slips after him into the reek of beery dust. It coats the bar top, the windows, the dimly lit jukebox blasting that song "Gimme Some Lovin' " over and over and over again. Their luck's about to change, Eddie says. He feeds quarters into the jukebox, the last of their money –hers, mostly.

Sitting behind them, the only other customer, a skinny man, grimy shirt, loosened tie, jacket bunched up next to his beer mug. His head bobs over the table. Her own face floats in the murky bar mirror, outlined in blinking red ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

14 BookBrowse members reviewed this book for "First Impressions" with an average review of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Read the reviews.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

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Media Reviews
The Washington Post - Jane Hamilton

The Last Secret would be another depressing story of a woman discovering her husband's betrayal, but Morris pumps that old tale full of adrenaline by running a wicked psychological thriller in the background.

Los Angeles Times

There are few contemporary authors whose work can absorb readers so fully and with such immediacy that the line between character and reader begins to seem dangerously thin. Among these few is the brilliant Mary McGarry Morris.

Booklist

Those who follow this highly regarded author will want to read The Last Secret; those new to Morris should start with an earlier title.

Library Journal

Morris offers a melodramatic plotline that develops into a memorable, cinematic novel through strong portrayals of complex personalities ... As suspense builds, Morris adds context and depth by carefully revealing inner lives dominated by deception and loneliness, creating empathy for a variety of flawed characters.

Publishers Weekly

Morris knocks over a domino chain of events that, while not too surprising, confirm the importance of comprehending past mistakes to avoid future ones."

Reader Reviews
Chrisanne

....breathe deep ,the gathering gloom....
This novel is a masterpiece of dialogue ... At this point in time I was loathe to read anything that would remind me of the turbulent times of modern day American society but Ms. Morris's intricate use of inter-character banter and her way of giving ...   Read More

Kimberly

Inside Their Heads
The first and last chapters of The Last Secret both begin: "They still don't believe her." The pages between propel the reader through Nora's struggles to save her family and her very essence. Her damaged self-image is repeatedly battered by her ...   Read More

Vicky

The Last Secret
I believe I held my breath through this entire novel! After reading the first chapter I was spellbound as well as tense. The author has an unbelievable talent for drawing you in and keeping you beside her main character throughout this painful ...   Read More

Ray

Secrets and Lies
Nora and Ken Hammond live an ideal life - house in suburban New England, two kids and work together at the family-owned newspaper. That is, until Ken's betrayal of Nora by exposing a 4-year long affair with one of their closest friends. The secrets...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Mary McGarry Morris was born in Meriden, Connecticut in l943 and raised in Rutland, Vermont with three younger brothers.  She was educated at Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Rutland, the University of Vermont, and the University of Massachusetts.  She is married to Michael W. Morris, an attorney, and is the mother of five children, and grandmother of twelve.  She lives on the North Shore in Massachusetts.

Her first novel, Vanished, was published in 1988. Written over a ten-year period with only her husband and children aware of her writing effort, it was rejected twenty-seven times before an agent, Jean Naggar, helped her sell it to Viking Press - it went on to be nominated for the National Book Award ...

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