Secrets of Eden
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Secrets of Eden

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  7,925 ratings  ·  1,462 reviews
From the bestselling author of The Double Bind, Midwives, and Skeletons at the Feast comes a novel of shattered faith, intimate secrets, and the delicate nature of sacrifice.

"There," says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryp...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Random House Audio (first published 2010)
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Dear Mr. Bohjalian,

Tell me, what happened to the man who skillfully channeled 360 degrees of the female soul in "Midwives"? Where might the author be who so cleverly knit elements of Gatsby in with a modern story in "The Double Bind"? What has become of the writer who bravely took on the tired topic of WWII and crafted a gorgeous story in "Skeletons at the Feast"?

Because certainly - the same fellow did not write this dimestore paperback drivel? We know it happens from time to time. A great wri...more
Here is the plot of this book: The victim of domestic violence and her husband are found dead in a small town in Vermont, apparently a murder suicide. The woman had been having an affair with the pastor of her church. The pastor feels guilty that he did not intervene more strongly and he takes off with a best-selling author of a book about angels. We don’t know why he has an affair with her, as she is a kook who is so into angels that she can barely utter dialogue without bringing them into a co...more
Feb 08, 2012 Barbara rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: CHRIS BOHJALIAN!
I have been an avid follower of Chris Bohjalian's writing for a long time. It pains me to say that this novel was a disappointment to me. My first introduction to this author was "Skeletons at the Feast", which so impressed me that I followed it with many more of his boooks. This could not compare with that first book, or others. The story weaves around the apparent murder/ suicide in a small town in Vermont. It is a tale of wife battering and alcoholism and the effects of these abuses on famil...more
Jul 20, 2009 Jackie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jackie by: Chris and Kira
I had the privilege of getting to read a very early, pre-final-edit manuscript of this book, and I am SO glad, because now I can be among the first to tell everyone how fabulous it is! Once again, Bohjalian creates big, believable drama in a small town Vermont setting. This time it involves a preacher who is losing his faith, two deaths and plenty of mystery of the "whodoneit" variety. It is interesting to read a book where two dead people are very much central characters and seeing the plot blo...more
Steve Lindahl
I listened to the audio version of Chris Bohjalian's novel Secrets of Eden and want to recommend it highly. There are multiple readers who all do an excellent job. It's perfect for a long commute, although I found myself driving an extra block or two a couple of times when I couldn't stop listening.

Many writing instructors, especially those who are teaching beginning courses, tell writers to show rather than tell. It's a bit of advice that has always irritated me, because it simplifies the proce...more
Book Concierge
Audio book performed by Mark Bramhall, Susan Denaker, Rebecca Lowman and Kathe Mazur.

When Alice and George Hayward die in a murder/suicide, Reverend Stephen Drew suffers a crisis of faith. He is tormented by his inability to stop the tragedy, and tortured by a sense of guilt. In despair he leaves the small Vermont town and seeks consolation with a wildly successful new-age author of “angel” books. But the medical director’s autopsy findings aren’t consistent with suicide and the state prosecutor...more
Eileen Granfors
Among my favorite authors is Chris Bohjalian. This is a novelist I find the most appealing of all our "new" authors, from the early work of "Midwives," "Before You Know Kindness," and last year's "Skeletons at the Feast" to his new work, "Secrets of Eden."

"Secrets of Eden" begins with a "slam dunk" verdict of murder-suicide. But as we follow the domestic abuse and the secrets of a marriage, more details emerge to be interpreted. The other primary characters still alive--the pastor, the best fr...more
Lydia Presley
I have a love/hate relationship with Chris Bohjalian and this book emphasized it even more. It takes forever for me to get myself fully involved in his books.. but I do it. Why? Because the final chapters of the book will punch me in the gut and leave me shaking my head in awe. That's what keeps me reading.

From Double Bind to Midwives and now to Secrets of Eden, he hasn't disappointed me. Books that, if I would have only read the first half, I would have given 1-2 stars of rating get 4-5 stars f...more
"The Buffalo Soldier" was the first of Bohjalian's books I've read, which was followed by "Midwives" and "Double Bind"... and I feel as though I am on a slow downward spiral with Chris Bohjalian's books, although "Secrets of Eden" is, in parts, well written, it is equally torturous to read in others.

The character of the minister starts out with a somewhat weary-of-his-pathetic-excuse-for-parishioners recounting of the typical Sunday whinings mixed with more heartwarming stories told by recipien...more
Elevate Difference
Like Midwives and The Double Bind, Chris Bohjalian's newest suspense novel, Secrets of Eden, was (no exaggeration) nearly impossible for me to put down.

Set against the beautiful backdrop of a small town in rural Vermont is the horrific murder-suicide of a local couple. Businessman George Hayward, who has a history of abusing his wife Alice, murders her while their teenage daughter, Katie, is out at a concert, and then turns the gun on himself. Holding the family—and the town—together immediately...more
Bohjalian (Law of Similars) has built a reputation on his rich characters and immersing readers in diverse subjects—homeopathy, animal rights activism, midwifery—and his latest surely won’t disappoint. The morning after her baptism into the Rev. Stephen Drew’s Vermont Baptist church, Alice Hayward and her abusive husband are found dead in their home, an apparent murder-suicide. Stephen, the novel’s first narrator, is so racked with guilt over his failure to save Alice that he leaves town. Soon,...more
I liked some things about this book, but overall I didn't care for it.

In a small town in Vermont, an apparent murder/suicide takes place. It seems George Hayward has murdered his wife (whom he was abusing) and then committed suicide...or IS this what happened??

Each section of the story is narrated by a different person: the town pastor, who is struggling with his faith, a woman who writes books about angels (whose own parents killed themselves in a murder/suicide), law enforcement, the only chi...more
Desiree reilly
5.0 out of 5 stars SECERTS OF EDEN, July 23, 2012
desi reilly (ozark mo) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Secrets of Eden: A Novel (Paperback)
wow this book is great. I could not get the book done quick enough.Here you got the country folks and the people all now each
other and usually now what goes on in the home form word of mouth or groups they are in.What happen in town stay in town or they
say it will you have a couple who has a daughter is only a high school kid.the daughter is dys...more
"Secrets of Eden," my third Chris Bohjalian book, reinforced why I'm such a fan of this author. Beginning with the deaths of Alice and George Hayward in an apparent murder-suicide, the story devolves into a mystery when it becomes apparent that George died by a hand other than his own.

Told from the perspectives of four characters who are very different from one another, the book reveals interesting personality traits of each, yet keeps each character enigmatic enough that I was pondering some o...more
Feb 26, 2010 Steven rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Mystery readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I just have to quote another reader who said it perfectly!

"Tell me, what happened to the man who skillfully channeled 360 degrees of the female soul in "Midwives"? Where might the author be who so cleverly knit elements of Gatsby in with a modern story in "The Double Bind"? What has become of the writer who bravely took on the tired topic of WWII and crafted a gorgeous story in "Skeletons at the Feast"?"

I am woefully disappointed in my favorite modern author. I felt no connection or "soul" from...more
A very disappointing read. I figured out the whole thing about a third of the way through the book. It did not flow the way some of Chris' books have flowed. It felt as though he had done his research about DV and was compelled to show the reader that he knew a lot about the subject and interjected it throughout rather than embedding it skillfully. I am usually blown away by how Chris researches a subject and then is able to weave a great story. This time was not the case. I was also very sadden...more
Diane Chamberlain
I loved the different points of view and what was revealed by each. This approach will not be everyone's cup of tea, but it worked for me. I thought Bohjalian did a great job with the different voices. I knew "who-dunnit" early on, either because I read too much or write with a similar structure myself, but that didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book at all.
Chris Bohjalian is one of my favorite authors. His novels often take a moral issue and wring every complexity and nuance from it, leading the reader on a roller coaster ride wondering how it will all turn out. Secrets of Eden has the potential to do this, but in the end, fails, in my opinion. I felt the novel was forced and completely predictable. At one point, towards the end of the novel, I began to re-evaluate my opinion thinking (hoping) that I was absolutely wrong in my smug prediction form...more
Feb 18, 2011 Suzka rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzka by: library reading group
This was the February selection for OLBC, and I read it because I'm committed to the OLBC.

What I enjoyed:

* The story was told from the point of view of four different characters, weaving perceptions into an interesting braid for the reader. Nice touch.
* The setting (small rural northern New England town) was fun, especially as it felt like the author was translating this specific flavor of Small Town (which is where I live) for the rest of the world.

What I didn't so much enjoy:

* The ending was o...more
The title alone of Chris Bohjalian's latest book: The Secrets of Eden, drew me in, and never let go. Having read all of this author's books, I can say without a doubt that Bohjalian is one of those talented authors, who can expertly write about controversial subject matters and family issues while keeping the reader hanging on and anxiously turning the pages,

Secrets of Eden takes place in the small town of Havehill, Vermont. The story is told through the perspectives of four central characters....more
This is a haunting, almost humorless book. I can't say at all that I disliked it, though. I read it within a few days, and only suspecting the "who done it" until the very end (I was right, for those who care).

The author breaks his story up into four voices: Reverend Stephen Drew, State Attorney Catherine Benincasa, New Age author Heather Laurent, and fifteen year-old Katie Hayward.

The book begins with the Reverend's Stephen Drew's memory of baptizing a member of his congregation and the morning...more
Ooooh. This is the second book in a row on domestic abuse. My brain needs to read something light.
This story is told by four voices - the minister, the detective, the "lover" and the daughter of the murdered couple.
Once again, a woman is killed by her abusive husband and then dies himself. It turns out, though, that he did not commit suicide - someone shot him. The minister is suspect because he had an affair with the murdered woman. After the murders, he leaves the town and this makes him suspe...more
Kasa Cotugno
Chris Bohjalian tells vivid tales of families in crisis with topics of universal interest. His latest is an in depth account of the troubled marriage of George and Alice, which has climaxed into their apparent murder/suicide. By judicious release of information, he has created a mystery out of what at first seems to be a straight forward event. There are four narrators, each with a distinctive voice. Stephen Drew, Alice's guild-ridden pastor, opens with his enigmatic account; the final account i...more
Jen C (ReadinginWBL)
Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian raises awareness of the devastating effects of domestic violence on families. The story starts out with the deaths of George and Alice Hayward in a murder/suicide situation. A few members of the small town in Vermont are aware of the spousal abuse that Alice suffered at the hands of George, but many were not. There are many secrets that come to light throughout the book.

The story is told in four parts by four different narrators. Part one is told Stephen Drew,...more
This book was totally disappointing. I have enjoyed many of Chris Bohjalian's previous books as he chooses such diverse topics that you learn a lot about as you read the book. I guess the topic he chose to be "interesting" in this book was angels and auras. While angels and auras have no particular appeal to me, I expected that I would "learn" something. In reality, that element was just superfluous fluff that was "filler" rather than a topic you could build a story around--something he did well...more
Chris Bohjalian is one of my favorite authors too, but I am not loving this book. It's OK, but nothing more so far. I just started disc 7 out of 9 and unless something terrific and out of the ordinary happens I am going to be disappointed. The narrations are good, and since there are multiple characters that are multiple people sharing the reading, but the book just doesn't pop. I knew how the story was going to end after the first chapters. We'll wait to see if I was right or not. Chris, you're...more
I've read a number of Bohjalian's books and enjoyed them all. This is not my favorite, but it is interesting. And I think that I didn't really realize how good it was until I finished it. The story begins being told by Reverend Stephen Drew, who has given support to Alice Hayward, a member of his congregation. She suffers from her husband's battering whenever he gets drunk. Alice is baptized and the next day she and her husband are found dead.. At first it is thought that it is a case of murder...more
This book was pretty good. I like the author's talent for speaking in the voices of the characters and really bringing them to life. I found a lot of quotables which in my opinion is a testiment to the book itself as well as the author's good work. However, great quotes does not a good book make, therefore I had to hold back that fourth star.
This book is supposed to be a murder, a mystery, the investigation, a veritable "who done it" and the view points of all those involved as they recount the...more
This is my third book for Bohjalian. My biggest hangup with this author is his name. I cannot pronounce it, sound it out, I am just mystified with his last name. There has to be a way for me to learn how to say his name. But..., what I have noticed about Bo..ja..lan is none of the three books I have read are alike. The Sandcastle Girls, historic fiction; The Night Strangers, ghost thriller; and now this one I would describe as a mystery. It seems by the reviews I have looked at that people eithe...more
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Wise Women, Giggl...: SECRETS OF EDEN .... Book 2 ~ Oct 2011 SPOILERS 9 41 Oct 31, 2011 11:29AM  
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Chris Bohjalian is the author of seventeen books, including Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, arriving July 8, 2014 from Doubleday.

His other books include such New York Times bestsellers as The Light in the Ruins, The Sandcastle Girls, The Night Strangers, Secrets of Eden, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, Before Your Know Kindness, and Midwives.

Chris's awards include the ANCA Arts and Letters...more
More about Chris Bohjalian...
Midwives The Double Bind The Sandcastle Girls Skeletons at the Feast The Light in the Ruins

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