Secrets of Eden: Book summary and reviews of Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

Secrets of Eden

A Novel

by Chris Bohjalian

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2010
    384 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

"There," says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality of that short utterance, feels his faith in God slipping away and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about .... angels. 

Heather survived a childhood that culminated in her own parents' murder-suicide, so she identifies deeply with Alice's daughter, Katie, offering herself as a mentor to the girl and a shoulder for Stephen – who flees the pulpit to be with Heather and see if there is anything to be salvaged from the spiritual wreckage around him.

But then the State's Attorney begins to suspect that Alice's husband may not have killed himself .... and finds out that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.

Secrets of Eden is both a haunting literary thriller and a deeply evocative testament to the inner complexities that mark all of our lives.  Once again Chris Bohjalian has given us a riveting page-turner in which nothing is precisely what it seems.  As one character remarks, "Believe no one.  Trust no one. Assume all of our stories are suspect."

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This is a masterfully human and compassionate tale." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. ... Bohjalian brings his trademark brand of astute character development to these delightfully ambiguous portraits of suspects, victims, and accusers alike..." - Booklist

"Starred Review. A fantastic choice for book clubs, this novel deals beautifully with controversial topics of domestic abuse, faith, and adultery without resorting to sensationalism." - Library Journal

"As much as I love Bohjalian's books—I've read most of them—Secrets may become my favorite. Book groups will eat this one up." - Carol Katsoulis, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill

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Author Information

Chris Bohjalian Author Biography

Chris Bohjalian and his wife decided to leave New York City in 1986 for "pastoral" Vermont after a wild and terrifying 45-minute cab ride that ultimately dropped them at a crack house being stormed by police.

Fans of Mr. Bohjalian are probably very pleased that he did not take the advice given him in college by the writer-in-residence when he applied for a writing seminar. After reading the short story required for admittance, the writer/instructor "slid my short story across the expanse of the desk as if it were a piece of profoundly disagreeable road kill. 'I have three words for you, she said. Be a banker'."

Instead he had the courage to follow his dream and take his own advice which he now doles out to new writers wanting to be discovered. "Have a thick skin. Read lots and ...

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Name Pronunciation
Chris Bohjalian: bo-jail-yen (first syllable pronounced like to tie a bow)

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