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The Secrets She Carried

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  299 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
When a young woman returns to North Carolina after a thirty-year absence, she finds that the once grand tobacco plantation she called home holds more secrets than she ever imagined.

Though Peak Plantation has been in her family for generations, Leslie Nichols can’t wait to rid herself of the farm left to her by her estranged grandmother Maggie—and with it the disturbing mem
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by NAL
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Multiple / Dual story lines
18th out of 87 books — 64 voters
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237th out of 382 books — 2,413 voters

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Community Reviews

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4.5 stars

I shall but love thee better after death.

Upon the death of her grandmother, Leslie Nichols inherits Peak Plantation. She has little interest in keeping it as it dredges up memories of her thirty-year estrangement from her grandmother, Maggie and the death of her mother. When she returns to North Carolina, she discovers that she is to share the inheritance with Jay Davenport, the estate's caretaker and Maggie's friend.

While both Leslie and Jay have their own secrets, mysteries from the
"You’ve heard my story now— my sin and all its wages. I am weary from the telling but sorry for none of it. I made my choices and I have answered for them. Do I have regrets? Once perhaps… but no more. The heart wants what it wants, you see, and eternity is much too long for regrets."

4.5 Stars

A very well written, totally absorbing tale set in the dual time lines of 2013 and the 1930's. I could hardly believe this is Barbara Davis’ first book as she weaves a gripping family saga enveloping the choices and secrets buried in the past. A definite page turner as new information from the past is slowly revealed and the puzzle is finally solved.

While there is a love story, the mystery surrounding Peak Plantation’s inhabitants kept me fully invested from beginning to end. An emotio
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
Jan 11, 2014 Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars
Recommended by Jill

Leslie Nichols cant wait to finally be rid of Peak Plantation,the stately family home left to her by her estranged grandmother Maggie. the Plantation doesn't hold good memories for Leslie, and she wants nothing to do with it. But her estrangement from her grandmother came at a price as she now is not the only one with a claim to Peak Plantation. Jay Davenport the caretaker of the property,still wants to hold onto the land bequeathed to him. Before her death Maggie h
Barbara White
Jun 14, 2013 Barbara White rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced reader copy of THE SECRETS SHE CARRIED from Ms. Davis' publisher. A beautifully crafted page-turner with many twists, this stunning novel has a simple theme: no matter how far you run, you can’t escape your past (or your family). Part contemporary women’s fiction, part historical novel, the plot moves seamlessly back and forth in time to unlock family secrets that bind four generations of women. Add a mysterious death, love that defies the grave, and ...more
Tamara Burford
Jul 18, 2013 Tamara Burford rated it it was amazing
Very well written. The past is interwoven with the present.. And Adele comes to life in these pages . This is a must read
Aug 12, 2014 Chandler rated it really liked it
Quite honestly, the first chapter of this book is probably the most gripping chapter I have ever read in any book.

Leslie Nichols leaves her affluent life up north and returns to her deceased grandmother's home in agricultural eastern North Carolina. Leaving the tried and true crops of the south, tobacco and cotton, the farm is now a vinery runner by Jay Davenport.

Jay and Leslie spend quite a bit of time being belligerent to each other. Spotted throughout the book are glimpses from the past sha
Roger Cole
Oct 05, 2013 Roger Cole rated it it was amazing
I received my iBooks copy of Secrets first thing Monday morning and I finished it early this morning. When I was younger I read incessantly, but have read very few novels recently that were able to hold my attention. I enjoyed this book tremendously. Ms. Davis kept my attention very easily with her debut as a novelist. I have only one word to give regarding this book: BRAVO! Thank you for the journey into your imagination. I look forward to many more.
Apr 20, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
I have a new favorite author! One of many, but definitely a great one. The author delivers a slow to develop, but interesting, story caught between the present and the past. Her characters all lived for me and the storyline was beautiful!
Eric Hall
Apr 21, 2014 Eric Hall rated it it was amazing
I am pleased to say, I received this book as a gift from a dear friend of mine. I can honestly say, that this wonderful story got me interested in reading again. I felt like I knew these characters personally. I found myself saying "just one more chapter" every night. The depth of Leslie's own emotional struggles mingled with the troubles of her past relatives turned into an amazing and heartfelt lesson on the past, forgiveness and moving forward. I am definitely looking forward to Ms. Davis' 2n ...more
Rachel Butler
Sep 26, 2013 Rachel Butler rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced reader copy of THE SECRETS SHE CARRIED ... I felt immediately drawn in to each of the characters and where their stories were headed and I loved that feeling of anticipation of how each of those stories would intersect across generations and societal barriers. I found myself thinking about the characters throughout the day and wanting to rush through whatever was on my schedule so I could get back to reading.

I finished The Secrets She Carried this mo
Stacy Sabala
Dec 04, 2013 Stacy Sabala rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
Book Review- The Secrets She Carried by Barbara Davis

This was a fascinating story that combined the past with the present. The author takes the story of Adele and Henry and intertwined the story of Jay and Leslie. It all takes place on the Peak plantation in Gavin, North Carolina. Gavin is the family name of Henry as his family was the founders of the town. Leslie grew up in Gavin at the Peak plantation living with her grandmother Maggie, Henry’s daughter. Leslie left the plantation when she was
Carmen Slaughter
Oct 09, 2014 Carmen Slaughter rated it it was amazing
I added this title to my "to-read" list last year and never got around to it. Recommendations for it kept popping up so I finally decided to read it. The first few chapters were pleasant but I wasn't overwhelmed and then everything shifted. I became totally engaged with the characters and the mystery woven into the story. I was a little more than halfway through when bedtime rolled around. I planned to finish it today but, as I lay in bed, I couldn't sleep for thinking about the book so I just g ...more
Romancing the Book
Reviewed by Angie
Book provided by the publisher for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

I could barely put this book down from the moment I opened to the first page. I love stories written in the “Old South”, especially if they’re a romantic mystery.

Secrets has two time periods and two female protagonist points of view that you read from; the 1930s and modern day. Adele and Leslie. Both points of view kept me fascinated from chapter to chapter.

It is so hard to not give things awa
Sep 25, 2015 norcalgal rated it it was ok
Subtle, very subtle. That was my overriding feeling about "The Secrets She Carried." I always had a sense something was "off" about Adele [the early chapter with Adele's mother sending her away hinted of mystery and portent] and that did turn out to be so. However, it was subtly done, so good on Barbara Davis.

What was not subtle however, was the telegraphed romance between Leslie and Jay. Couldn't you just smell it coming from a mile away? On this point, Davis didn't go a good job conveying the
Apr 18, 2014 Tori rated it really liked it
Mystery, love, heartbreak... Really good book although I felt like at the end a whole bunch happened without enough explanation. But I still really enjoyed it.
Oct 04, 2014 Anne rated it it was ok
2/5 for characters; 2/5 for originality; 2/5 for writing style; 3/5 for plotting and maintaining interest (hey, usually I start books like this and skip to the last chapter and decide it wouldn't have been worth it); 1/5 for making sense and/or having a point; 1/5 for the inclusion of a character writing a novel about the story in the story; but bonus points for including a novelist character and for producing feel-good fuzzies.
The main disappointment is that the romance at the center of the bo
Sep 16, 2014 Valerie rated it really liked it
I won this in a goodreads give-away and I enjoyed it! It was pretty good for the authors first book. I will read her next book. I loved the history and the setting. I didn't like Leslie at first, but I'm glad to see she turned completely around. If you like historical fiction with a bit of a love story and mystery, I recommend this.
KJ. Andrews
Aug 29, 2015 KJ. Andrews rated it it was amazing
Excellent book ! Set between 1930 then current time. Leslie lives in NY city but when business folds she has no choice but to go back to N. Carolina where she was born. Hasn't been in 30 yrs but her grandma left her the plantation when she died a yr ago.
When she gets there, she finds articles that indicate there were family secrets. Eventually learns that grandma's mom was fair skinned and adopted by white mom and her biological father. her grandma was the product of Henry and his wife's maid an
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I am really surprised at how much I really enjoyed this sweet little book. Such a good story and wonderful writing. Amazing for a newbie author. I will pick up her future books!

Thank you Edelweiss for the copy. Arc received for an honest review.
Laura Lee
May 12, 2014 Laura Lee rated it it was amazing
Very good story and suspenseful. Who is Adele? How is she related to Leslie? Two parallel stories that intersect. Mystery and love story both, the writing is good and I enjoyed it very much. Would recommend for book clubs.
Melinda Lujan
Mar 15, 2015 Melinda Lujan rated it liked it
I received this book as an ARC through goodreads giveaway.

*possible spoilers*

Overall this was a good book, so I'll begin with a few things that kind of took a little bit away from the story. Things that in the scheme of things, aren't a big deal-but it took me out of the story in the moments that I took to be puzzled by.

First off were the outdated references to country music…? I feel the writer was trying so hard to make the story "country" she chose music references from way back twenty years
Colleen Turner
Mar 24, 2014 Colleen Turner rated it really liked it
I reviewed this book for

The Secrets She Carried does that wonderful thing so many books I’ve enjoyed lately do: effortlessly combine the past and the present, swirling the secrets and truths of the two timelines together until all the connections are laid open for the reader to marvel at. The modern day story of Leslie and Jay was very enjoyable, showing a slow but sweet love affair open up for these two characters that have been hurt in the past and need each other’s pers
With dual-narrative books like this, it seems like one strand of the narrative is always more interesting than the other. In this case, I was interested in both Leslie’s story and Adele’s, but I Adele’s story definitely has more depth.

When Leslie comes to Peak Plantation, she’s running away from a disappointing life, but also running back towards memories of her past. She’s barely been at Peak for a chapter before the astute reader can guess how her story is going to end. Eventually she realizes
Jan 24, 2014 Paula rated it liked it
I won this book in a first reads giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity!

Leslie couldn't wait to rid herself of her recent inheritance of Peak Plantation, the North Carolina tobacco farm where she grew up. It is plagued with bad memories and disgrace. Upon her arrival at Peak, Leslie meets Jay Davenport, the caretaker, who has inherited half of the plantation and has his own reasons to hold onto the land. Leslie finds a photograph of an unmarked grave and is suddenly gripped by a
Viviane Crystal
Oct 03, 2013 Viviane Crystal rated it really liked it
Leslie Nichols ran away to New York City years ago but now she’s returned to Peak Plantation in North Carolina to discover that she’s been left half of the plantation by her grandmother, Maggie. She’s not pleased when she discovers a stranger, Jay Davenport, was left the other half. When they first meet, their conversation flounders into the drastic opposite of warm and fuzzy; it gets even worse when Leslie realizes Jay resents her long absence and resents her arriving to quash the plans he had ...more
Sandy M
Oct 26, 2013 Sandy M rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
I think it’s my new-found hobby of genealogy that heightened my curiosity when I read the blurb for this book, telling me I’d be in for a very delicious story. Connecting with your past, finding out the truth, discovering where and who you come from has a way of fascinating folks, who then become addicted to searching for more ancestors and even more ancestors. Our heroine, Leslie, comes to that point in this story, wanting to know more and more. Though her search is slightly different than what ...more
My Book Addiction and More MBA
THE SECRETS SHE CARRIED by Barbara Davis is a wonderful Literary debut Women's Fiction/Historical set in Peak Plantation, North Carolina from 1940 to 2013. Two eras,buried secrets, family secrets, and a love that defies death. Follow Adele Laveau, Henry Gavin, Jay Davenport and Leslie Nichol's journey of love,secrets,a mysterious death,a legacy of redemption, devotion, Adele's heartbreaking life and the secrets she carried. A fast paced story. Which switches from present to the past seemingly an ...more
Andrea (Cozy Up With A Good Read)
This review and others can be found on Cozy Up With A Good Read

I love books that revolve around family secrets, I find it is always interesting and really shows that at times it shows you a different side to people. This book was all about people carrying secrets and how those secrets affected their past and present lives.

The story goes back and forth between two different stories, the story of Leslie Nichols, who has returned home after being gone for almost 30 years. The other story is Adele's
Full review on Two Classy Chics

This book contains a story that is told from 3 different perspectives. Adele, the ladies maid that started working at the plantation in the 1930′s; Leslie, the granddaughter of the plantation owner, Maggie and Jay, a friend and confidante of Maggie. The story is a wonderful tale of family history, romance and drama that surrounds the plantation known as Peak.

The author weaves a beautifully crafted historic tale of a family that spans many decades. Reading the story
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Author of The Secrets She Carried (Penguin/NAL) October 2013, and The Wishing Tide, (Penguin NAL) coming in September 2014. And coming in August of 2015, Summer at Hideaway Key. (Penguin/NAL)
More about Barbara Davis...

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