Kimberly A. (Hannibal, MO)
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 family, friends, and an acquaintance from her past and the secrets that surround and threaten to destroy them all. The reader is forced to ask, "Does Nora even believe in herself?"
The ability to feel Nora's real and raw emotional pain and track Eddie's twisted logic and paranoid thoughts is enhanced through the author's command of stream of consciousness. Being allowed into the minds of the main characters makes their plights personal and captivating.
With its many moral and ethical dilemmas, this would be an excellent book for book clubs. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Julie G. (West Hartford, CT)
A page turner
In this compelling novel, past and present collide for a woman dealing with her husband's affair. Morris presents real characters faced with believable problems, and the ending feels almost as inevitable as it is shocking.
Jenny (Cupertino CA)
The last Secret Mary McGarry Morris
After reading the prologue of this book I was unsure whether I even wanted to read it. However, once I got into it I was hooked. It's a very suspenseful tale all about the secrets that people keep and the damage that secrets can do.
Unrevealed past history leads to a terrible, disturbing conclusion in this novel, affecting 2 different families in many ways. The original secret is Nora's: she doesn't share with her husband of many years her escapades as a young woman. She has what seems to be a perfect life; job, home family and philanthropic causes when a chance reading of a magazine brings someone back into her lives. The stranger from the past infiltrates her life, her children's and her friends and in doing so, causes more secrets to be revealed. The conclusion is unexpected and horrific. The last chapter seems like an afterthought to tie everything up and I would have preferred to see it omitted or fleshed out a little more. I found the depictions of relationships between Nora and her children very well drawn and they rang with authenticity for me. I would recommend this book for book groups, suspense readers and any one who enjoys reading about relationships.
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.
Vicky (Roswell GA)
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 journey, and I felt every emotion along the way. For those of you who love to "buckle up" for a good read, I highly recommend this book that unfolds one "secret" right after another ... until the very end.
Iris, W. Bloomfield, Mi. (West Bloomfield MI)
The Last Secret
What began for me as a seemingly mindless, predictable, slightly elevated version of the "chick lit" genre became a compelling read. While written in the present, more and more information is masterfully revealed in small increments. The characters become more than just one dimensional in their development as the story becomes more and more compelling. This simply told story becomes increasingly difficult to put down. While not wanting to reveal the ending, I can only say that it packed a punch. I would definitely recommend this book.
Ray (Selden NY)
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, lies and betrayal that ensues among all the lives effected would be enough to create an engaging story. But Nora has her own secret - a criminal one - and a maniacal figure from her past has arrived in town to exact his revenge.
Compelling and well-written, Mary McGarry Morris has scored a winner of a thriller-drama with The Last Secret.