The Last Secret: A Novel
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The Last Secret: A Novel

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  451 ratings  ·  79 reviews
"In The Last Secret, Mary McGarry Morris tells the story of Nora Hammond, a woman blessed with the perfect life: a charming husband, two bright teenage children, a successful career in the family's newspaper business, and an esteemed role in the charity work of her New England town. But Nora's comfortable existence threatens to unravel when she learns of her husband's long...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 829)
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Beth
It's a mixed blessing to get good dust-jacket blurbs. Mary McGarry Morris's work was described as brilliant, absorbing, thrilling, deeply affecting, and astonishing---among others. And the people giving the praise are no slouches since they are writing for the NYTimes and the Washington Post (among others).
I found this piece (which I didn't finish) both predictable and unrealistic -- the story of an apparently happily married woman (Nora) whose life crumbles around her (partially because of some...more
Andrea Heidebrecht
It is inconceivable to me that the author of this novel also wrote the brilliant work "The Lost Mother." In this book, Morris' character development is poor and the major plot revelations near the end of the novel were blatantly obvious by the second chapter. The fact that Nora doesn't even consider divorce as a possibility after learning of her husband's lengthy affair, especially after Ken says he doesn't "do" guilt very well, is unrealistic and so is the fact that she doesn't ask Ken the ques...more
Lynne Adams
I'm really surprised I didn't like this book because I love Mary McGarry Morris's other books. This one just fell flat in every respect. The plot was predictable and tedious, and more importantly, I disliked EVERY character, even the children. No one was particularly sympathetic or even interesting. The main character was like an infuriating friend you want to scream at because they are acting so ridiculous. Her refusal to take any action after she found out her husband's secrets was just unbear...more
Nette
Next time I'm going to trust the Goodreads reviewers rather than the established print critics, who thought this book was rich and lyrical and wrenching (and who all must have discovered crisp hundred dollar bills tucked into their review copies). Imagine a novelization of the worst Lifetime "Woman in Peril" movie you've ever seen. Then imagine that the heroine is whiny and unlikeable and the villain is right out of a crappy L&O: SVO episode (sorry, mixing my TV metaphors), and voila: this b...more
Nina
I think we all have days when we wake up hating the world and wanting everyone in it to be as miserable as we are. For me these days usually coincide with the first two of my period. This book is perfect for those times. Also for right after (or before) a break-up or when you specifically dislike someone and want them to suffer in fiction. Gorge yourself on schadenfreude! Warning: I don't recommend reading the entire book at once or undiluted by other books, as you may end up feeling disgusted w...more
Bonnie Brody
There are some books and authors that I'd like to have with me on a desert island. Mary McGarry Morris is one of those writers. I have always been drawn to her books, their dark and brooding nature with the sentience of doom and fatality omnipresent. I can almost smell the darkness when I read her novels, feel the desperation of the dissolute and the outsider. I have read all but two of her books and those two I'm saving for a very special time and place - - a desert island kind of moment. She's...more
Ruth
What can I say? My library seems to love MMG, and their list of MP3 downloads is light on stuff I want to read. This is a loser. Talk about the Perils of Pauline. Poor Nora, in the space of about a year, has almost every misfortune one can imagine dumped into her unable-to-cope lap. Describing all this is some of the most purple over-the-top prose I've read in a long time. Only reason I slogged on to the end was to see how in the hell MMG was going to resolve this melodramatic stew. Not well, it...more
Donna Girouard
Well, by the time the last secret is revealed in The Last Secret, it's really no secret because any reader with half a brain and a little savvy has already figured it out. But that's not the biggest problem (for me) with this novel.
The main reason I rated this book the way I have is because of the ending. Too many people survived (and some even to live happily ever after). Honestly, I wanted this novel to end like a Shakespearean tragedy: with nearly everyone dead (at least all the main charact...more
Kathleen
I was hooked in immediately to this book, which kept me on the edge of my seat. The characters were unlikeable--mostly rich and abrasive. The Last Secret has a trashy veneer to it, with the con man hovering on the edges, waiting to strike, and no one being honest with anyone...still I kept reading.
Jennifer
Competent but not riveting account of a woman's life falling apart...husband in an affair, kids running wild and a charismatic loser from her past back in town and looking for money. Just okay from a writing standpoint and pretty depressing on top of that.
Sa
I was disappointed with The Last Secret. Being a fan of Mary MaGarry Morris, I expected more. The story and details seemed contrived. If you want to read a good Mary MaGarry Morris book I recommend Songs of Ordinary Times.
Cathryn
I couldn't put this down. The rich writing and Nora's view of the world captured me when the book opened on her 17-year-old self and never let go. If you like psychological suspense, I highly recommend it.
RNOCEAN
Mary McGarry Morris has been hailed as “one of the most skillful writers at work in America today” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times). In The Last Secret, she tells the riveting story of Nora Hammond, a woman blessed with the perfect life: a charming husband, two bright teenage children, a successful career in the family’s newspaper business, and an esteemed role in the charity work of her New England town. But Nora’s comfortable existence threatens to unravel when she learns of her husband’s lo...more
Peggy
The Last secret by Mary McGarry Morris is a faily good book. I enjoyed reading it, but had a few problems with some of the details. Maybe I didn't pay enough attention or just missed something in the plot. I read most of the book on Sunday while I was at my volunteer job, so maybe it was too hot to concentrate.

The basic plot is that Nora Hammond has an ideal life, or so she thinks. Maybe she just doesn't take enough time to figure out what is going on around her. After all, she has a demanding j...more
Ron Charles
"The Last Secret" would be another (!) depressing story of a woman discovering her husband's betrayal, but Morris pumps that old tale full of adrenaline by running a wicked psychological thriller in the background. She signals her approach in an explosive preface that takes place more than two decades before the rest of the novel: Seventeen-year-old Nora has run away with a manipulative grad student who wants her to lure men into their car to rob them, but the scam immediately goes bad, and her...more
Karen
Normally I like MMM's work, so I was prepared to enjoy this book. By page 50, I (and probably everyone else who read it) had figured out what the last secret is. That gave me lots of time to consider other things--like the predictable descriptions and the extreme portrayals. Still, I have to say I kept reading so there must have been something else at work. I found the ending so weak--the old saying about an actor phoning in his lines--that's what it was like. Too bad, as the ending was the only...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
I just couldn't believe the main character in this book and her actions and lack of actions. Just two examples: would a woman this achieved really think her 17 year old self's actions were that bad that she keeps them secret. OK, I can see that but not as Morris has her actor do. Second, why would she be so dumb as to pay off her threatening nemesis and expect him to leave town? She works for a newspaper and is involved in all parts of it through her husband and his brother, the editor, and the...more
Jeanne
Dec 10, 2009 Jeanne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeanne by: LJ
Nora Hammond seems to have it all: great husband, terrific kids, nice job, and lots of money. And she even makes time for her favorite charities. She is blessed with a good life, but she is haunted by her past.

In her past is a dark episode with a man named Eddie. She was only a teenager then, but she still has nightmares about the incident.

But she’s not the only one with a secret. Far from it! Her husband’s been having an affair for four years, and everyone knows about it. Except Nora. When the...more
Darryl Mexic
Fiction. In present day Massachusetts, Nora lives a seemingly perfect life, editor of a small town newspaper owned by her husband, Ken, and his brother, two teenage well adjusted children, wonderful friends, including her best friend Robin, who along with Robin’s husband Bob, have been Ken’s best friends since childhood. But there is a secret in Nora’s long ago past and there is an affair between Robin and Ken, and these two episodes cause a sequence of events that are seemingly endless, trauma...more
Kat
This book had a very unexpected "reader perspective realignment", which is very rare. However, I should warn you that a large chunk of it is creepy, depressing, and suspenseful and the ending seems so unfair to the heroine, even after our view of what might have happened and what her intensions might have been has been challenged. It is a perfect book club book, since different people would probaly think that different things happened! It is very skillfully written to make you reexamine what you...more
Joyce
When a troubled teen, a woman briefly ran away with a young man and got into a situation that will effect her for the remainder of her life. Years later she learns that her husband has been in a four year "relationship with a close friend of hers. To make matters more complicated the man from her teen years reappears and forces himself into not only her life but also the lives of her family and her husband's mistress. I will not go into any further detail about what happens, but will tell you th...more
Leslie
This was a good book and it ended as I hoped - after things went horribly wrong. It was predictable in some ways and not so much in others. I wasn't disappointed - I wasn't over the moon - I was satisfied and closed the cover with a sigh.

I guess I wanted a bit more justice and I felt a little let down about that - but I may not have liked it if justice had been served on the two timing husband - who sort of redeemed himself by keeping his mouth shut. He totally misunderstood events and Nora cou...more
Amy
I really wanted to like "The Last Secret," and I can see that the author is a talented writer, but ultimately I found this tale unrealistic and disappointing. Every aspect of "The Last Secret" is exaggerated and overblown: Nora's supposedly "perfect" marriage is beyond messed up, her bad boyfriend who returns from the past is a deranged killer, etc. None of the characters are likable, leaving the reader with no one to identify with or cheer for. [Read my full review:]
Christine
Nora Trimble Hammond was living the perfect life. When a relationship between her husband and her best friend comes out into the open that illusion of perfection becomes the nightmare of trying to hold together a family that is slowly disintegrating. As if that isn't enough, a spectre from her past shows up at the same time reminding Nora of a week long interlude from her teens that she would just as soon not recall. Overall the story was a good one but I found the “voice” of the book annoyingly...more
Katie
Page-turning novel about dark secrets and adultery. A woman's dark secret from long ago shows up in her current life and threatens to tear it all to pieces.

I kept wanting to get back to it whenever I put it down. One thing I appreciated about it was that it was different--the two main characters kept getting less moral and less likeable. It was an interesting effect; it had you questioning your first impressions of them.
Lisa Gregor
A good read for the most part but found a few of the details confusing and the characters uninteresting (except for Eddie Hawkins). The protagonist, Nora, lacked in depth, which made her seem cold at times, a heroine hard to cheer on. I did find myself hooked, though, I suppose if anything, to clear up some of the confusion. The secrets weren’t hard to figure but the ending was totally unexpected.
AmblingBooks
Mary McGarry Morris, one of America's finest writers and the author of Songs in Ordinary Time and A Dangerous Woman, presents this riveting new novel that explores the irreparable consequences of one family's crimes of the heart.

Listen to The Last Secret on your smartphone, notebook or desktop computer.
Barbara
Each person brings their own "baggage" to a marriage. In this book the author tells the story of how conflicting issues of a married couple affect everyone in their path. It was easy reading and a good story but there was one major issue: no character to like. The author lets us see the "secrets" of each and every character so that the book became across as very dark.
Catherine Sandy
Dec 30, 2011 Catherine Sandy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kate, Debbie, Chella, Linda, angie
This was a real page turner. The main character Nora who seemingly has it all discovers that her husband has been having an affair with her best friend for years and apparently she was the only one who didn't know about it. but she too harbors a secret-the result of a bad choice when she was a teenager. You'll have to read it to see how it turns out.
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As the author of several novels, Mary McGarry Morris has received considerable attention from critics and readers, as well as from prestigious awards panels.
Her books are noted for their depictions of mentally and emotionally impaired individuals who have difficulty coping with an inhospitable world.
As New York Times Book Review contributor Alice McDermott put it, “Morris does not devise plots,...more
More about Mary McGarry Morris...
Songs in Ordinary Time The Lost Mother Light from a Distant Star A Dangerous Woman Fiona Range

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