Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Last Secret

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The Last Secret

A Novel

by Mary McGarry Morris

The Last Secret by Mary McGarry Morris
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2009, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2010, 288 pages

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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 and the PEN/Faulkner Award; Jean Naggar is still her agent today.

A Dangerous Woman was published in 1991 and was chosen by Time magazine as one of the "Five Best Novels of the Year."  It was made into a motion picture starring Debra Winger, Barbara Hershey, and Gabriel Byrne.  As a result of A Dangerous Woman, Morris won the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award.

Songs In Ordinary Time was published in 1995.  Two years later, it was chosen as an Oprah's Book Club selection, which propelled it to the top of the New York Times Best Sellers List. It was also made into a CBS television movie starring Sissy Spacek and Beau Bridges. 

The highly acclaimed Fiona Range was published in 2000.  A reviewer for the The New York Times Book Review stated about Morris' writing: "She can bring the ordinary to life with the sheer clarity of vision. She knows how a house with children in it sounds at night, what the heat and bustle in a kitchen feel like before a family dinner and how indiscretions arise in a dining room when everyone is flushed with wine."

A Hole In The Universe, about a man who returns to his community after serving 25 years in prison for murder, was published in 2004.

The Lost Mother, published in 2005, is written from the perspective of a 12 year old boy who tells the story of what happens when his mother leaves him, his sister and his father in the midst of the Great Depression.  The Washington Post wrote, "The Lost Mother is the quietest, subtlest novel that ever kept me up into the small hours of the night, unable to look away."  

The Last Secret was published in the USA in April 2009.

This article was originally published in April 2009, and has been updated for the April 2010 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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