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4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  39 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Secrets trail an American soldier from his Depression upbringing to the cold winter battles in the Ardennes Forest in the last months of World War II, and through the post-war decades, as he struggles to keep his family from being torn apart while keeping the truth buried close to his heart. Clay Brock, proprietor of Jake's Tavern, has endured terrible losses throughout ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published February 27th 2012 by E-Reads
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Andrew Lee
Jan 11, 2015 Andrew Lee rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book that meshed good old World War II settings involving mainly the Battle of the Bulge but with a much bigger overarching story regarding friendships and obviously "souvenirs" that people carry with them. The story follows the main character from three different times in his life. His World War II part, another portion in the 1960s, and then as an old man at the turn of the century.

As always, Benn has done his research and delivers an action packed yet very introspective
Martha Alami
May 25, 2016 Martha Alami rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story of World War II vets and their lives after the war. I am the daughter of a vet and many descriptions of the war and how the veterans felt, not being able to talk about it, knowing what other vets went thru without even discussing it and life after the war, all rang true to me. Benn has created a well researched and very realistic story of a veteran with secrets. The story is well told, alternating between the war and the years after the war and then the later years of ...more
May 15, 2012 James added it
SOUVENIR is a book of secrets, a novel of memory, loss and identity.
As Marcel Proust said:

The moments of the past do not remain still;
they retain in our memory the motion which drew them towards the future,
towards a future which has itself become the past,
and draw us on in their train.

Clay Brock is trying to forget. Forget a harsh childhood during the Depression, horrific combat in the frigid Adrennes Forest, and a terrible personal loss. But he finds, as a young father in the 1960s and as a
May 01, 2016 Ellen rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, library, 2016
This charts a man's life in three stages: his WW2 experience, his marriage and his later years. The man, Clay Brock, has well-hidden secrets which make his life difficult and make him hard to live with and love. The story weaves in betwen these periods of his life revealing snippets of information until we find out some truths at the end.

I found parts of this book very interesting but I wasn't gripped by the war descriptions. There seemed to be, for me, too many of these and I wanted the story
Jan 05, 2015 Heathy rated it really liked it
This story grabbed my attention and didn't let go. The author's writing style is very beautiful and perfectly outlines the scenery without seeming too tedious. It just flows. I also like how the flashbacks were well identified with dates at the beginning of each chapter.

My only problem is the lack of quotations or italicized sentences to differentiate between spoken sentences, internal thoughts, etc. There were SOME quotation marks, but sometimes I was left wondering if something was actually sp
Oct 28, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it
What a lovely surprise this read was. This story was told over three time periods, 1945, 1964 and 2000 with an epilogue in 2002.
The story is about a man with two secrets and how he deals with them in the WWII theatre, through a marriage and fatherhood and finally in his dotage. The stories interweave and slowly the secrets are exposed to us.

A well written plot and a page turner. I really wanted to know those secrets!! Enjoy.
Mar 08, 2013 David rated it really liked it
I had idea of what happen somewhere in the middle, but I could not figure out how he pulled it off till the end.
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James R. Benn is the author of Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery, selected by Book Sense as one of the top five mysteries of 2006 and nominated for a Dilys Award. The First Wave was a Book Sense Notable title.
Benn is a librarian and lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut.

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