Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes” as Want to Read:
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  36,064 Ratings  ·  3,246 Reviews
In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child.

CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she knows what happened to her missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the bab
Paperback, 522 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Mira Books (first published January 1st 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Julie (jjmachshev)
Sep 01, 2008 Julie (jjmachshev) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mothers
What makes a mother? Genes? Childbirth? Love? And once a mother bonds with her child, is there anything that can break that bond? Diane Chamberlain’s novel “The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes” gives us the story of a teenage mother and her child. But there’s a lot more to it than just that and one small review can’t possibly describe the incredible and fascinating twists and turns the story takes.

CeeCee’s mother died when she was just twelve. But she left her daughter a legacy of letters. Each let
Jul 29, 2011 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why? Why do I do it to myself? Why do I, once a book finds its way onto my bookshelf, feel a personal responsibility to usher it safely, chapter-by-chapter, to Read-dom and its ultimate resting place (be that the 'favourites' bookshelf or the charity shop)?

The cover even warned me: "For fans of Jodi Picoult this is a must read". I've had my fill and then some of JP and her creative writing class assignments.

But somehow I'm still labouring under the misapprehension that, if only I could just get
Jul 07, 2008 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Kelly by: People magazine
Wow, I could not put this book down! This book would make a great movie. I can't wait to read others by Diane Chamberlain!
Apr 24, 2016 Mariah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my July Pick-For-Me book for Goodreads’ Bibliophile Beauties Group ( I get really nervous when someone picks a book for me because on my to-read list I have a lot of popular reads and they always select one that is extremely popular, just like this book. Most of the time I end up being disappointed because the hype doesn’t actually match the quality of the book. BUT this book’s hype did!

This was an extremely good book! 4.5 stars!! I rounded up
Set in the state of North Carolina, The Lost Daughter tells the story of a vulnerable and naive sixteen-year-old orphan, CeeCee Wilkes, whose mother passed away when she was just twelve-years-old. CeeCee never knew who her father was, and after spending the past four years of her life in various foster homes, CeeCee finds herself working as a waitress in order to save money to eventually go to college. Due to her mother's death and her years in foster care, CeeCee is starving for love and affect ...more
Jan 27, 2008 Alison rated it it was amazing
Overall, a really great book. Despite the gumption she often showed as a teenager, with all of her big plans, I really believed that CeeCee was still naieve enough to succumb to Tim's charms.

My one criticism is in the character development of Cory during the last quarter of the novel. CeeCee/Eve was incredibly fleshed-out as a character, but I found Cory a bit lacking. First, the transition of her from a girl too scared to stay in college at Chapel Hill alone to one that cuts off her family com
Oct 27, 2012 Britany rated it liked it
Shelves: 500
What a twisted web of lies that was spun... slowly loosing control, and finally letting it catch up to you...

CeeCee Wilkes met a handsome man while waitressing at a diner. Tim Gleason was 12 years older than her and quickly had CeeCee wrapped around his finger. She was sixteen, and made a decision that would haunt the rest of her life. A scheme to kidnap the Governor's wife goes horribly wrong and CeeCee makes a decision that will impact everyone's future. Twenty years pass, and just when she th
Jun 08, 2010 Cate rated it did not like it
The worst sort of crossover novel--the only reason I am glad I read it as an ebook is that some trees were spared. It is to literature what Cheez Whiz in a can is to a triple cream brie. This is not a book for reading; this is a book for avoiding.

That's right, I didn't like it.

What is it that makes this book so painful to read? Is it the utter unbelievability of the plot? The flatness of the characters? The awkward and embarrassing writing and the gratuitous and entirely off-putting "romance?" C
Jul 05, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was so hard to put down. If I had not needed sleep, I would have read it in one sitting.
♥ Marlene♥
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Trish at Between My Lines

This review was originally posted on [Between My Lines]

Two facts about The Lost Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

Fact 1 : It is known as The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes in the US (no idea why it's different over here, I prefer the US title).

Fact 2 : It is an emotional timebomb.  The counter starts ticking on page one and it's just a matter of time until you explode with some very messy conflicting feels.

First Line of The Lost Daughter by Diane Chamberlain:

"She couldn't concentrate on making love
Apr 12, 2016 Mo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! Talk about an emotional read. It was fantastic. OK, you have to suspend the disbelief a bit but, it's fiction.

In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child.

I have never read anything by this author but I will definitely be checking out more of her books.It was a real page-turner and towards the end my emotions were all over the place.
She felt happy the
"Twenty-eight years ago a North Carolina governor's young, pregnant wife was kidnapped. Now her remains have been found and a man charged with her murder. Only one person -- CeeCee Wilkes -- can refute the charges against him. But CeeCee disappeared years ago . . ." (from summary on

I thought the young naive CeeCee was a believable character. I felt her pain of losing her mother at such a young age. I loved the letters her Mother left her to tell her what to expect from life - givi
Jun 08, 2008 Robin rated it really liked it
Am I ever so glad I picked up this book, in Kroger and started reading it. I didn't buy it. But I did track it down at the library and check it out. :)

One thing I learned or was reinforced from this book was how family is not just nature. Mothers and fathers are people that raise you, and make you who you grow up to be, the good and the bad. Genetics are a smaller part of who we grow up to be, and possibly more superficial - hair & eye color and such.

I actually got chills while reading this
Mar 17, 2008 Jeanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008-reads
I have been a fan of Diane Chamberlain's writing since I read the first book when I was living in Alexandria, Virginia. At that time, she had a private psychotherapy practice in Alexandria, and I am always interested in local authors. Chamberlain's books usually involve phobias, problems in personal relationships or some psychological issue, no doubt because of her background in psychotherapy.

This is a heart wrenching story of the consequences of youthful bad choices. The only issue I can take w
Dec 19, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing
WHEW! 500 pages of non-stop reading enjoyment with lots of suspense to boot! The letters of love and advice from CeeCee's mom throughout the book really added to my reading experience.

I look forward to reading more books by Diane Chamberlain, The Midwife's Confession next.

Sep 15, 2011 Alena rated it liked it
Shelves: bound-together
This book is much more made-for-tv-movie than my usual reading choices, but I had no trouble getting caught up in CeeCee's story. It's fast paced and engaging, even if I don't want to believe any woman (even 16 year-olds) would be gullible enough to fall for the lines that ensnared CeeCee.
Vicki Willis
Oct 03, 2016 Vicki Willis rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible, z-2016
This was a roller coaster read with lots of social aspects to consider. Diane Chamberlain really drew me in and gave empathy to all sides of the story. The book didn't feel as lengthy as it actually was and the pacing of the story was good. The characters were mostly well developed though I felt Cory had some holes in her development timeline. Overall, an engaging read that was worth the time.
I could definitely see Jodi Picoult writing a book with the same premise — a mother’s love, a child’s life marked by a crime, and the moral dilemmas that accompany that crime — but Chamberlain is no Picoult and it shows. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes is too nice, too perfect, too neatly wrapped up and packaged in the end.

Overall, the story focuses on the most boring aspect of the whole plot – how CeeCee was conned into the crime and her life with the stolen child — and ignored the most intere
Nov 13, 2010 ☮Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: 500-plus-pages
I'm really not sure how to rate this. On the one hand, I was taken in with the suspense running concurrent with the plot, and I finished the book in two days. On the other hand I thought the entire premise of the plot was just too far fetched to even imagine ever working. By that I mean the absurd scheme that Tim and his brother were planning, and that the intelligent, mature-at-16 CeeCee had very few second thoughts about going along with. I couldn't get over the ridiculousness of it all, but I ...more
Jul 14, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Hands down one of(if not the) best book I have ever read. A true page turner from start to finish, I never wanted it to end and when it did all I wanted to do was read more. Finally found an author who is as good as Jodi Piccoult. Can't wait to read another one.
Liza Fireman
This is my third book by Diane Chamberlain. It is not as strong as Necessary Lies, and the plot not as realistic as Pretending to Dance, but it is still a really good book, still a page turner, with wonderful characters, and some psychology (that Diane Chamberlain tends to throw in in her books).
The plot is a bit farfetched, and still well woven. The characters are masterfully developed. Even when I got a point when I thought that it is a good point to stop the story, Chamberline succeeded to mo
Janie Johnson
Mar 17, 2015 Janie Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-challenge
I found this book at our local Good Will and decided to buy it for $2. I picked this up to read as a buddy read not really knowing what to expect from this one. It was one of those cases of what would you do? How can you judge without being in a particular position. I have to say it was definitely a very profound read. It made me really think. I am so glad I picked it up.

In this book we have CeeCee Wilkes who had made a bad choice that would greatly impact so many different lives, including her
Oct 18, 2014 leslye rated it really liked it
This was my introduction to Diane Chamberlain. I'll be reading more of her books because this one tugged at my heart a little.

The story is about a young mother, Eve Elliot and her daughter Corinne. Eve has been living a life of lies and her daughter is heavily tangled within them. Corinne loves her mother and has lived a mostly normal life until the day she learns the truth. Throughout the book, Eve is forced to relive her past and make the decision whether or not to open up about what actually
Oct 05, 2010 Fredsky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story starts out with a sort of normal set-up, but after not too long the real story begins to surface and then the fun begins. CeeCee Wilkes is a young 16-year-old who lost her mother when she was 12. She's gone through all the foster homes, she's gotten somewhere, she loves her job as a waitress and that cute guy keeps coming in and talking to her every day. And then the darkness takes over.

The plot moves into a story I have a hard time believing. Or, more accurately, I can hardly believe
Kath Middleton
Mar 01, 2015 Kath Middleton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Diane Chamberlain novel and it tells us the story of CeeCee Wilkes, a sixteen year old girl who lost her mother at the age of twelve. She is needy and eager to love and be loved and makes some bad choices which she has to live with for the rest of her life. Her over-protectiveness makes her first daughter, Cory, into a nervous woman who blames her mother for making her fearful as a child. CeeCee lives a lie for her adult years and eventually her past mistakes catch up with her. ...more
*****FIVE***** (and If I could give more, I would) well deserved stars.

What a read! Its hard for me to explain this story without giving it away so I encourage you to refer to the Goodreads synopsis of the book. If you have read Diane Chamberlain before, this book is set up like most of her books, with alternating narrations. This is a beautiful story of a mother's love. It is also the shocking tale of a dark crime. I'll leave it at that.

The characters are unforgettable. My emotions were all o
Oct 06, 2011 Tania rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.5 stars. This is my first book by Diane Chamberlain and I was pleasantly surprised. It tells the story of a young girl who needs to change her identity, and ends up with a kidnapped daughter, because of some bad decisions made. The story is intriguing with lots of twists and turns. I especially liked the fact that it was told from the viewpoint of the "mother" and the kidnapped daughter. The characters were very well-developed, especially the main character. I will be reading more by this auth ...more
Bad bad boring book. It's a mystery so without giving anything away just want to say that everything is so fucking improbable.

They kidnap a woman knowing fullly well that she is more than 8 month pregenant. She gives birth and dies in most unnatural circumstances. Then after so many years her body is found.

Cee cee ia a complete indiot and sinister girl. No sympathies to her.
And suddenly she develops a conscience. Hate her for all she did.

Very bad novel. Cee cee is pure evil. So is her accomp
Jul 17, 2008 Lakjo3 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It's the first book that I've read in a long time that I couldn't put down.
The depth of all of the main characters and the effects of the decisions that they made were the things that made this book so good for me. It reinforces the idea that people are generally good, but are sometimes forced into horrible situations where bad decisions are made.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Me & Emma
  • The Good Sister
  • Magic Hour
  • Goodnight, Beautiful
  • The Kindness Of Strangers
  • Little Mercies
  • Best Kept Secret
  • The Murderer's Daughters
  • Girls in Trouble
  • What Happened to Hannah
  • Life Without Summer
  • Shelter Me
  • While My Sister Sleeps
  • Pismo gospođe Vilme
  • Saving Max
  • After You
  • The Slow Moon
  • The Kindest Thing
Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 24 novels published in more than twenty languages. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and ...more
More about Diane Chamberlain...

Share This Book

“She felt happy these days, yet there was always an undercurrent of sadness just below the surface” 41 likes
“You got dealt some crappy cards. But you're the one who has to decide how to play them.” 26 likes
More quotes…