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

The Last Secret

A Novel

by Mary McGarry Morris

The Last Secret
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2009, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2010, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Nora Hammond is a woman blessed with the perfect life: a charming husband, two bright teenage children, a successful career. But Nora's comfortable existence threatens to unravel when she learns of her husband's longtime affair, and a sordid incident from her youth returns with terrifying force.

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 ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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).

Full Review Members Only (360 words).

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

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

Joyce

Hang on for a Wild Ride!
When Nora discovers her husband is having an affair, her emotions begin a roller coaster ride. Mary McGarry Morris' descriptions of the stages one goes through are unbelievably accurate. What starts as a story of a family's pain, anger and betrayal...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

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 ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Last Secret, try these:

  • Live by Night jacket

    Live by Night

    by Dennis Lehane

    Published 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream.

  • The Given Day jacket

    The Given Day

    by Dennis Lehane

    Published 2009

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane's long-awaited eighth novel unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers were uniformly impressed by this difficult yet heartwarming ...
  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bones of Grace
    The Bones of Grace
    by Tahmima Anam
    The Bones of Grace completes Tahmima Anam's Bangladesh trilogy. The three novels, which can be ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach

    "An auspicious, gut-wrenching, wonderful debut." - Kirkus, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.