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The Secrets They Kept

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  44 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Every family has its secrets. Elena Poulous knew that. As an attorney she witnessed such deception every day. But she never thought her Greek-American family was like everybody else’s. She believed she knew everything there was to know about them - until the Saturday morning, the police knock on the door of her New York City apartment. Her otherwise organized and controlle ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 2011 by Joanne Tombrakos
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Zach Sparks
I won this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

Wow. That is all I can say. Up till now my only experience with Greek media has been My Big Fat Greek Wedding and a few scenes from The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants. I always enjoy having the opportunity to immerse myself in the traditions, customs, and food of other cultures, and with The Secrets They Kept I was able to do that all the while reading a very compelling story.
We've all been there, stewing in our own guilt because we have hidden
Susan Anderson
An Unforgettable saga of a family and its secrets, a contemporary woman's "Zorba The Greek"

Secrets. The word itself slaps us with something scary and ominous. It reeks of ghosts and irrevocable mistakes committed in the dark, hidden, buried so deep that, in time, they become ingrown, take on a life of their own, and mushroom in significance. And of course secrets have a siren's call, sucking us into the page. Like the voice and the story line in this family saga, they make us turn the page.

Suzi Baum
What a wonderful read. Just the right mix of romance and suspense, folded in with really interesting family details. I kept thinking of the Greek restaurants I used to go to in Queens- all these characters must have eaten in those places at one time or another. Joanne's descriptive voice is so strong. I can see objects and moments she describes with such clarity because of her strong use of emotion soaked language. There are passages that recur from the point of view of several different charact ...more
Lee Holz
The Secrets They Kept The Secrets They Kept by Joanne Tombrakos
The Secrets They Kept is a poignant, moving portrait of a close-knit Greek immigrant family and their descendants, including the second generation who is, in part, breaking away from the family’s traditions. The action is driven in part by the mental illness of Yannis, but more by the personalities and decisions of various family members in dealing with Yannis, particularly the secrets they kept about him and about their respective interactions with him. The novel revolves
Cathy Speight
This was the author’s first novel. Elena Poulous, a Greek-American attorney, gets the surprise of her life one weekend when the police notify her of the death of a Yiannis Poulous. Having never heard of him, she is somewhat further mystified to learn she has been listed as next of kin, nominated to settle his affairs. Her immediate task, apart from arranging his funeral, is to interrogate her family about this man and discover why she has never heard about him. But she heads straight into one br ...more
Cheryl M-M
This book was like a warm cup of cocoa on very cold day. It squeezes your heart just a tad and might just make your eyes mist over. I can absolutely understand why it won't be everyones cup of tea, because the author didn't feel the necessity to add any mega dramatic unbelievable sub-plots. It didn't need any. The story was the simplicity and the complexity of family all rolled into one.
For me it wasn't about any secrets, whether they were emotional, destructive or mundane. It was about the stru
Stephanie Cowart
I received a copy of this book from the author for review.
The book's premise looked very interesting to me. It really did exceed my expectations and I enjoyed delving into the secrets of the Poulose family. The book was written and well researched. I enjoyed learning more about the Greek Orthodox beliefs and practices. The Greek traditions were richly represented and my mouth watered most times when the author mentioned the delicious Greek food!
The characters were complex yet relatable. I especi
Your Need To Read
Full review here

The book's premise looked very interesting to me. It really did exceed my expectations and I enjoyed delving into the secrets of the Poulous family. The book was written and well researched. I enjoyed learning more about the Greek Orthodox beliefs and practices. The Greek traditions were richly represented, and my mouth watered most times when the author mentioned the delicious Greek food!

The characters were complex yet relatable. I especi
The story is more from a woman's perspective, and perhaps a woman reader may connect with the story better. Overall, i liked it, but not loved it. We are all imbibed with values of love and respect for everyone, especially our family. This is what this novel is very strong on. The fact that the plot revolves around a secret is incidental, to my mind. This story is really more about love and caring that one ought to have for near and dear ones. Unwavering support is the very basis of all relation ...more
The Secrets They Kept by Joanne Tombrakos is a book so far out of my comfort zone that I'm not sure how exactly to describe it. I would normally not give a book about family secrets and drama a second look, but I read the sample and was intrigued. While reading the book my interest stayed peaked throughout and I had no problem finishing the book. That honestly doesn't sound like words of high praise, but coming from me it is a superb recommendation.

If this book at all fits your reading profile
Growing up in Queens, I can hear the voices, and see the characters of Joanne Tombrakos' novel on every corner. She's written an incredible snapshot of the intrigues and emotions surrounding 1st and 2nd generation Greek immigrants that are bound together through thick and thin. Not unlike My Big Fat Greek Wedding you can't help but be touched, amused, frustrated, and engrossed with the actions and interactions of the Poulos family and friends. It's a heartwarming insight. Hard to believe that th ...more
Deanna Sletten
This is Joanne Tombrakos' first novel and she did an excellent job with it! I really enjoyed this family drama - the characters were well fleshed out and the storyline stayed consistant. In a book such as this, where there are flashbacks, it can become confusing if not written properly, but Tombrakos had no problem doing this. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fiction family drama.
I am pretty ambivalent about this book. So many people were keeping their dark secrets. Elena was trying to get her mother to tell what was going on the whole book long. The mother was waffling: I should tell her, I'm not ready to yet. It felt like it dragged out a lot longer than necessary. We the readers pretty much knew what the secrets were for the whole book. Talk about it already!
I felt like an extended member of the Poulous family, getting to know all the characters in this big Greek family. I stayed up too late many nights reading this book, eagerly anticipating what would be revealed next about which family member. Considering how many half-read books there are on my bookshelf, that's saying something!
Cynthia Kauffmann
I enjoyed this book. If you want to feel like you are living in a Greek family, read this book. It was realistic in the way mothers and daughters can aggravate each other. Having said that, it was also all about families always being there for each other.
I enjoyed this book. The effect of keeping secrets on relationships is well described. The characters are well drawn and the relationships are believable.
I really liked this book. I liked the characters, they were flawed and very real. The writing was really good and flowed really well.
Kristi Johnson-Russell
It was way too dragged out to get to an ending I had figured out pretty early in the book. Very boring in my opinion.
Excellent fast read about families, their love and the secrets that are directed by culture and religion.
Meh...the secret was not that big a deal and I never felt that the characters really came alive.
Liz marked it as to-read
Oct 29, 2014
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Jul 16, 2014
Pamela marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2014
Patty Sandifer-Baskin
Patty Sandifer-Baskin marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2014
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Nov 12, 2013
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A Storyteller, Marketing and Sales Consultant, Professor of Digital Marketing at NYU, Speaker and Author, Joanne blogs on demystifying digital for business and life at

She works with individuals and corporations to better understand this beast we call digital through programs designed to inform, educate and offer practical tools and training to keep you, your staff and your
More about Joanne Tombrakos...
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