Secrets (The Michelli Family Bk. 1)
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Secrets (The Michelli Family Series #1)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  2,237 ratings  ·  210 reviews
Set in 1931. Story of family secrets, love and trust. Lance is a free spirit until his grandmother sends him on a quest. His life takes a turn after meeting the woman who now owns his grandmother's childhood home.
Kindle Edition, 410 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Bethany House Publishers (first published January 1st 2004)
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I really enjoyed this book! It was the right kind of book for my state of mind this week. I've read others' reviews where they criticize the author for her use of faith and scripture quotes, but I found it not only to be refreshing in this politically correct world but handled in a believable manner. Yes, there are Catholic men who value their faith and aren't afraid to practice it. I enjoyed the unfolding mystery and the characters. I'll definitely be reading more by this author.
This is my very favorite of all of Kristen Heitzmann's books. There is always a mystery, a romance, and one or more characters come unto the Lord. They always make for a great read!

This book, in particular, shines because of the banter between the two main characters. It had me giggling in the tub!

Looking for a good time that will leave you feeling good about life and longing to be better than you are? This is it!! (And the two more in the series are an added bonus.) :)
Lance and Rese are well-developed and likable characters. They bring out the best in each other, although they try to fight the attraction and avoid a relationship because both have secrets. Lance's faith is as much a part of him as his love for cooking and his desire to help women in trouble (which has gotten him in trouble a few times). The book is a touching and sometimes funny romance mixed with mystery and Rese's faith journey.
D.M. Webb
I found this book very trying and difficult to read. From the stereotype of a Bronx raised Italian man (leather vest, white t-shirt, and earring) to the unfeminine attributes given to a female construction worker, from no character growth (ARC) to slow progression of the plot and redundancy of the narrative.

It took a few chapters to realize that there was a dog with the character and that he was still in Sonoma. The transition from one setting to another was abrupt. The author tried hard to sho...more
Robin Patchen
Absolutely riveting. I couldn't put this book down, and I'd purchased the sequel before I finished it, just to make sure I wouldn't have to wait. Both the hero and heroine are so flawed and real, I found myself wanting to pray for them. It makes me sad they don't exist in real life. I'll be reading more from Kristen Heitzmann.
Secrets is a book full of mystery that builds on a previous series, "The Diamond of the Rockies". Lance Michelli has been sent on a mission by his bedridden Grandmother, to discover the secrets of her past and right the wrongs that will not let her rest. His path leads to a woman named Rese Barret, who is struggling with her own secrets. From start to finish this book will hold your attention and leave you searching for the sequel. Kristen Heitzmann does a wonderful job creating characters and s...more
Inspirational! What a great book with mystery, suspense, romance and Christian values. This story had me hooked from the epilogue! It's a well written and developed plot with well defined characters. I love that both of the main characters are searching to discover themselves while also seeking a meaningful relationship with God. Twists, turns and SECRETS...looking forward to seeing where this goes...
Strange that I am reading a religious book I know. This one raised some really interesting questions about life and what one really wants out of it. I appreciate how you aren't rolled over with religion but it's there and it drives the characters in interesting ways. Heitzmann interweaves a good story with her personal message about salvation and God in a non-invasive way.
Lisa Carter
Really loved the indepth characterization of Rese and Lance. Their sizzling, albeit reluctant, chemistry. The soul-searching, faith-challenging questions. The angst, the pain, the loss, the suffering, the place of all comfort and security.

This is why I love Kristen Heitzmann novels—the raw honesty, the courage to examine the uncomfortable.
Can't wait to read the next book in this series! Especially loved it because the man could cook and he was Catholic, and a good-lookin' Italian! Although I must say.....reading the cooking scenes made me really hungry for some of his food. Too bad he doesn't exist. :(
Jan Mcclung-short
Excellent book! I had a hard time getting to where I enjoyed the character Rese Barret, but that was just because she was so damaged and hard to read. Lance Michelli, the main man in the book is care free and lives life to the fullest and he describes Rese as an onion with all the layers. You keep peeling and you finally get a soft sweet onion with less fire. Lance is easy to like, easy on the eyes, and easy to be around. He tells a good tale, doesn't really lie, but just doesn' t tell everythin...more
Michelle Bolanger
I picked this book up for free and I am SOOOO glad I did. I'm not much into mysteries and suspense, but Secrets had me hooked from the beginning.

Well written and deep in both character and plot lines without getting you lost in who's who or what's what. It kept me turning pages wondering who was going to find the next shocking secret. The relationship between Lance and Rese never became easy or cheesy right upto the end of the book, and I hope the tension and development of the relationship cont...more
Jessica Krall
Really enjoyed this book a LOT. It dealt with so many themes, but all were woven so intricately together...very impressed with the writing abilities of this author, Kristen Heitzmann. This was the first book of hers that I had read. It will NOT be the last, as this book is the first of a trilogy and I've already purchased the second one. The main character of this story, Rese, is a very strong, independent woman, who has learned the hard way, to stand on her own two feet. Like many of us, she'd...more
Twenty-seven-year-old Lance Michelli and his Nonna have a deep connection in Secrets, Book one of Kristen Heitzmann's Michelli Family Series. That's why when Nonna has a stroke and can no longer talk, Lance is still able to understand something of what she wants. It has to do with righting a family wrong--a mission that takes him eventually from New York to Sonoma California and the estate that the family once owned.

Twenty-four-year-old Rese Barrett has recently bought that property and is renov...more
Ahhh... a book that earned awards and deserved them, Secrets is a great beginning to what looks to be an equally good series. No perfect people here. One family remains torn apart by mental illness, another by two wrongful deaths spanning two generations. Every character's own burdens creates no small measure of drama. At the same time, it doesn't get too grim or depressing. There was just enough suspense in the mystery of the secrets to puzzle my mind and keep me turning pages, and just enough...more
I just reread this after a few years, trying to remember if it was with keeping. I remember why I kept it, but I don't think it's worth it anymore. It has some sigh-worthy romance moments, but argh the guy irritates me! He's absolutely pushy and controlling, and with a woman he knows doesn't want to be controlled. And she bugs me, too. Does no one get any counseling in books? She needed it! Horrible trauma in her past, and she was not dealing with it. And for being Miss Stoic and in Control, she...more
Melanie Pietrowski
I'll be honest, I've never read anything where religion was so openly talked about by the characters. This was an extremely well written book with romance and suspense that it left me wanting to read more. The characters each have their own dark secrets that they draw out of each other and work through. It's not like BAM find Christ and your all better. There is pain and tears and betrayal all mixed up in this that makes it so real that you want to just smack Rese upside the head at times or yel...more
Laura Jinkins
Dec 11, 2012 Laura Jinkins rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Valerie Eyerly
At the recommendation of my friend, Valerie, I finally made time to read a Kristen Heitzmann novel. I was not disappointed. The two main characters, Lance and Rese, were well developed and Kristen's skilled telling of their story really pulled emotions from me throughout: I laughed, I cried, I got angry . . . especially when I got to the end of the book (a library copy) and discovered a couple of pages had fallen out and someone had glued them back into the book in the wrong order. Thank goodnes...more
I almost abandoned Secrets in the first couple of chapters - it just didn't seem to be going anywhere. I am glad I stuck with it because it is one of the best books I've read recently. The characters were real and likable, the plot was multi-faceted and unusual, and the writer's style was effective and smooth.
Trudy E
Lance Michelli is on a mission. His grandmother, Antonia, has had a stroke, leaving her barely able to communicate. She sends him to Italy to find a cousin and he goes from there to the vineyards of California on a family quest. He doesn't know what he is looking for, but as he appears at his grandmother's childhood home he finds a job opportunity to work for the new owner as he scouts around for a clue about what his grandmother needs him to find or do. Rese Barrett is a renovator. Her goal in...more
Lance Michelli sets out on a journey for his grandmother (a recent stroke victim), but he's not sure what he's looking for. He's led to her childhood home, which is being renovated into a bed and breakfast by Rese (Theresa) Barrett. She hiring for the b&b, and Lance jumps at the opportunity to have access to the house.

Although they don't hit it off initially, they are just what each other needs. But, Lance hasn't been forthcoming about why he's really there. Will his secrets keep him from t...more
I truly enjoyed this story. It had believable, likable characters who came across as real people, whose flaws were genuine parts of their individual stories: they made sense, in the context of their lives. The story, too, is gripping. The thing I found the most refreshing about this book, though, was not just the compelling story and characters, or the excellent writing. No, what grabbed me was that Christianity was not just context, here, but was a vital part of the story, without being preachy...more
Tracy Wainwright
I was hesitant at first, as books with lots of detail (and 400 pages worth of it) aren't typically my style. However, the story compelled me to keep reading and I'm so glad I did! The characters are wonderfully created and the depth of the story is masterfully done. Rese and Lance's stories come together in a series of collisions that make you want them to work it all out, but doubt that they will be able to. I didn't want the story to end, as much as I was drawn to finish the book. Fortunately...more
lance michelli leaves his grandmother's sickbed on a quest to discove what is it she so desperately needs him to find. this leads him to an old villa in sonoma, the villa his grandmother used to live in, but now it is owned by a young woman who neither knows nor cares about his mission. he gets a job at the villa, but finds the owner rese barret a force to contend with, and her own impending storm could sweep him up as their sparring creates a fierce and uncomfortable attraction. [return]as roma...more
Great Christian fiction--romance with some suspense! Have to get book 2:)

Lance Michelli is on a quest to discover the secrets his grandmother cannot tell. What happened all those years ago, and what is it she so desperately needs him to find? The old villa in Sonoma holds the answers, but it is now owned by a young woman who neither knows nor cares about his mission. But Rese Barret is a force to contend with, and her own impending storm could sweep him up as their sparring creates a fierce and...more
Just read this for at least the third time. Heitzmann is one of my favorite writers of contemporary fiction--and yes it happens to be Christian fiction, but I hate to tar her with that brush, as it carries too much baggage. This particular series captures my imagination in ways that very few books have done. I thoroughly believe in these characters, these situations. I love it that she allows their stories to unfold slowly. And how I would love to turn the trilogy of Michelli family books into a...more
Really more like 3 1/2 stars. I just find all of Heitzmann's books so OVERWRITTEN. ONE scene or even TWO of a sleepless night or a fear of ghosts or confronting truths about her mom or making breakfast or exploring the basement would have sufficed. I found the dragging out of events wearing. If I were exploring a hidden basement, I would do it one session, not 12. Strong points were his kindness to her and her tentative unfurling, although, it never really describes her feelings about him much....more
Christy Finecy
Family is everything to Lance Michelli. After Nonna Antonia's stroke, Lance is given a mission that takes him to an Italian convent and Sonoma, California. Lance finds much more than he bargained for when he meets Rese Barrett.

Heitzmann has crafted a beautiful story, full of love, loss and mystery. Faith and testimony to the grace of God are woven into the story adeptly.

This book is thoroughly enjoyable. I can't wait to continue getting to know the Michelli family even better in the next book.
Unlike Morgan/Jill's story in The Still of Night, Lance/Rese's story doesn't take nearly as long to unravel. Boasting expertise in gourmet cooking and carpentry, Lance and Rese are my favorite characters yet, and I hardly missed the Rocky Mountains thanks to the rich vineyards of Sonoma.

I'm pretty sure this book could have stood alone, but I've already started the second, so obviously, I'm not too upset about learning the rest of Lance and Rese's secrets.
I'm not a romantic novel reader, but a friend told me to try Heitzmann. It is a romantic novel rich in characters set in modern time, steeped in religion.

Lance and Rese come from two very different worlds, but you know the two must collide. It was a page turner from the beginning. Past their relationship woes, is a deep mystery that passes through generations. Despite their faults, I found myself rooting for Lance everytime.

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Kristen learned to read at age four in the sit-on-the-floor school her father taught at home. That was the start of her love affair with stories. Skipping kindergarten, she went to first grade at five and dove into learning with a passion. In elementary school, she wrote and illustrated her own miniature books and the highlight of the week was the mile and a half walk to the book mobile.

A bit of a...more
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“She headed for a wide flat rock on the creek's bank, her posture still demanding 'no trespassing' but no longer 'trespassers will be shot.” 2 likes
“His gaze was so soft that she would like to wrap herself with it.” 1 likes
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