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Secret Keepers

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3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  236 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
At age seventy-two, Emma Hanley has finally made a plan to get out of small-town Palmetto, South Carolina, and travel the globe with her husband. But when he dies suddenly, just before their departure, she's taken up with the problems of her grown children. Her once free-spirited daughter, Dora, turns to compulsive shopping and a controlling husband, hoping to blot out her ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Picador (first published April 27th 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 648)
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Kaye
Jul 17, 2010 Kaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such an enjoyable slice of southern life complete with characters that still resonate with me. In her latest book, Secret Keepers, Friddle introduces us to Emma Hanley, 72 year old whose life is about to be turned upside down. When her husband Hal dies suddenly just before leaving on the big trip they were planning, Emma feels that her life will go on as uneventful as always; staying in and taking care of her schizophrenic son Bobby.

All that changes when her daughter Dora's first boyfriend, Jak
...more
Mary
Jun 22, 2010 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-book
Emma Hanley is about to go on a trip of a lifetime. She’s waited her whole life to see the world. And then the unexpected happens. As a result, Emma starts to make decisions on her own and refuses to back down. This impacts Emma’s family and they are not pleased.

One day a man from the past knocks on Emma’s door. Jake was her daughter Nora’s first boyfriend and now he’d like to tend Emma’s yard. Jake runs a lawn service that employs people who seem to be down on their luck. Eventually he hires Em
...more
Allison
Feb 01, 2011 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been fixated on creating quality characters since, well, since my own writing workshops, and I can't help but notice that Mindy is an author whose characters are so believable, they seem lifted from real life. They are so complex and well-written that you feel like you're getting to know them face-to-face. Secret Keepers focuses on a family with a deep, painful history. Some authors do well with a handful of characters narrating their book, and some authors lose the voice - their own and ea ...more
Julie Failla Earhart
The opening of Mindy Friddle’s new novel, Secret Keepers, provides the reader with some of the back story that will be important later in this novel. The action then shifts to current time with “Emma Hanley, seventy-two, found herself just days away from embarking on a journey of a lifetime.”
Emma is the female equivalent of George Bailey from the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Emma has been waiting her whole life to shake the dust of Palmetto, South Carolina, off her heels and see the world. Bu
...more
Donna
Jul 19, 2010 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, the cover design by Michael Storrings is beautiful. I love vintage botanicals and the old seed packets had some of the best.

Secret Keepers drew me in quickly with the beautiful epigraph by Katherine Mansfield. “How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you--you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences--little rags and shreds of your very life.”

The book is a window into the small town of Palmetto, South Carolina and a few of it’s well
...more
Chris
Jul 22, 2010 Chris rated it liked it
I thought this sounded really good - I liked the idea of a gift of gardening that touches a small town and unearths secrets. Two things that I didn't like about this book were that one - in the description it says nothing about the fundamentalist christian theme that one family members is wrapped up in. Granted - it is not really what the book is about, even if it is sort of the problem in the story. I felt that it was a HUGE subject to not be mentioned i the description. And my other dissapoint ...more
Fran
Jul 26, 2009 Fran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved The Garden Angel and I really enjoyed this book, too. I could sure identify with Emma Hanley in Palmetto, GA and all the town's character. Kind of mystical, like Alice Hoffman.
Donna
Jan 19, 2010 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has an interesting cast of characters who live in a small town in South Carolina. I really enjoyed it, and suspect that gardening types would like it even more.
Karenzielinski
Jun 21, 2009 Karenzielinski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
Slow at the beginning, but the characters really gripped me at the end.
Karen
Aug 02, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rare treat. A beautifully written page-turner. I loved this novel.
Alayne Bushey
I had high hopes for Secret Keepers. I’m not ashamed to admit I judge books by their covers and this one is fabulous. The synopsis uses words like “wayward past,” and “old flame,” and “mysterious, potent botanicals and resurgent memories.” Sounds good right? Unfortunately Secret Keepers didn’t really find its true potential until the last third of the book, at which point it was nearly over.

Secret Keepers circles around Emma Hanley and her children. Told in alternating past/present snippets, we
...more
Beth
Sep 19, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off I have to say how much I love this cover! I love anything vintage and having to do with gardening, not that I am a great gardener. This book begs to be read on a front porch or in a garden gazebo while drinking a glass of sweet tea. It is a quiet southern fiction book about a family coming to terms with changes in their lives. We meet Emma Hanley who at age 72, is getting ready to take of on a trip of a lifetime with her husband, Harold and mentally ill son, Bobby. Her husband has an a ...more
Beth
Sep 19, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, read-in-2010
First off I have to say how much I love this cover! I love anything vintage and having to do with gardening, not that I am a great gardener. This book begs to be read on a front porch or in a garden gazebo while drinking a glass of sweet tea. It is a quiet southern fiction book about a family coming to terms with changes in their lives. We meet Emma Hanley who at age 72, is getting ready to take of on a trip of a lifetime with her husband, Harold and mentally ill son, Bobby. Her husband has an a ...more
Sara
Jun 08, 2010 Sara rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. What a great book to win from Goodreads! Emma, a grandmother living in a small town in South Carolina, is ready to take a trip outside the place where she's lived her whole life, but then her husband dies suddenly and she has to stay at home, tending to the problems of her grown children. When her daughter's ex-boyfriend returns to town, starting up a gardening business, he soon becomes unintentionally involved in everyone's life, bringing flowers with magical properties to homes and ...more
Kellie
This book set off a variety of thoughts and opinions while I was reading it. First, I thought it began a little slow. The novel is about a family Emma, who just lost her husband, Dora her daughter, Bobby, Emma’s mentally disturbed son and Kyle, Dora’s son. Emma is trying to adjust to being a widow. A likable character, I liked the transformation the author made with her. She goes from a passive wife to a strong, ambitious widow. Dora is married to Donny. Donny is very religious and down right ri ...more
Jackie
Jun 04, 2010 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mindy Friddle's books make me think of a lazy afternoon listening to Norah Jones cuddled up in bed with a refreshing glass of iced tea by my side. This could be because she's a Southern author featuring all those lovely qualities they tend to exude in their books, or it could be because the first book I read by her, The Garden Angel, takes me back. I read it when I was about 13 and I remember nothing about the plot, nothing at all, but that doesn't matter because I remember how I felt while rea ...more
Robin
Aug 10, 2011 Robin rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2011-list
This is a book that I won from Picador via Twitter back in April (sorry, good people of Picador Marketing who sent this book to me so promptly and I didn't read it until August!)Right away judging from the cover I suspected this would be a light read. Actually, now that I think about it, I did read a few pages at the beginning and I liked what I read but I just put it aside when something else came along. Once I got started with it, I was pleasantly surprised by the complexity of the characters ...more
Karen
Jun 22, 2010 Karen rated it liked it
Recommended to Karen by: First Reads Win
Probably a solid 3 1/2 stars for this one. This was a First Reads win, and I was excited to get it. The writing was engaging at first, and I really enjoyed the characters of Emma, Kyle, and Billy. I felt like it really started to sag in the middle, though, and I didn't have a lot of desire to rush home to read. Thankfully, it did pick up towards the end.
When I read the synopsis, I think I expected a little more magical realism, along the lines of Sarah Addison Allen. There were great glimpses of
...more
Debbie Maskus
This story has all the stereotypes of Southern literature: the decrepit plantation, the old matriarch, the headstrong daughter, the Bible toting pseudo preacher, the young boy straining between puberty and adulthood, and the faint hint of racial prejudice. I enjoyed the story immensely. Kyle, Emma, and Dora display multi dimensional characterizations. The minor struggles between parent and child, good and bad, and truth and falsehood present a life of conflict. Each individual selects the path t ...more
Jennifer Hodges Young
This was pretty good it reminded me of Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.
At 72 Emma Hanley has always wanted to take a big trip and she is finally going to do it. Then her husband dies and she has to take care of her son Bobby, and her daughter Dora. She also gets involved in her grandsons life.

Dora and her husbands characters got on my last nerve with their judgmental super right wing Christianity to the point that when things starting going bad I was like serves you right! But the relation
...more
Jennifer
Jan 16, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very enjoyable, easy read about the ups and downs of a very eccentric southern family. The author could be compared to Lee Smith or Michael Lee West.
Jackie
Sep 05, 2010 Jackie rated it liked it
This is a lovely story of quirky small town familial strife and healing magic. It concerns the Hanleys--Emma, just widowed at 72 at the cusp of making a dream come true; her daughter Dora who is very unhappy and in the deep grips of compulsive shopping that's bankrupting the family; Bobby, Emma's son, who has a mental illness that has rendered him a loner and a couch vegetable; and Jake who moves back to his hometown with a broken heart and a green thumb. This is a light but touching story of ho ...more
Nell
Jul 02, 2016 Nell rated it liked it
Almost everyone in this novel has a secret - a secret desire, a secret compulsion, secret meetings, secret demotions. The characters are well-developed and the setting evokes a real sense of place. The connections between them are a recent widow with an extended family and an injured veteran who returned home and started a gardening service. The scent of a plant literally unearthed and transplanted to gardens around town reminds the characters of their true passions and deepest desires. This nov ...more
Mom2nine
Sep 27, 2013 Mom2nine rated it it was ok
This book had all of the makings to be excellent. The story line was interesting and I like Friddle's writing style. The fundamental Christian slant was so heavily slanted against anything fair or kind about the family that it overtook the story. I have read other books that considered the "holy roller" lifestyle difficult or problematic, but still presented the characters as likeable and their beliefs as understandable. All of the characters in the book who are supportive and caring just happen ...more
Kelly
Jan 12, 2015 Kelly rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-star
It's really too bad that this is such a terrible story because Mindy Friddle is a very good writer and her first book, "The Garden Angel", was great. But "Secret Keepers"? The story is as dried up as they come. The feel is much older, much less interesting, and the characters don't have the quirks and memorable personalities as Cutter and Elizabeth did in "The Garden Angel". They're dowdy and drab, flat and uninteresting, and the story goes nowhere. I definitely wouldn't waste my time if you are ...more
Alice
i won a copy of this book from goodreads,and it just made my day! So this book was a quick read,but i enjoyed reading this book.The characters were so real i felt that these were people that i knew and could feel how they were feeling.Most of the characters were likeable not just good or bad but real.Secret Keepers is a adapt name for this novel as most of the characters have secrets in there past or present that is having an efect on there lives in the present.when the book was comming to the e ...more
Patricia Hart
Jul 16, 2015 Patricia Hart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adorable characters in a small Southern town...loved the ending!
Linda
Greenville, SC author
Barbara Cook
3.5 stars.
Laurie
Sep 19, 2015 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!
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Mindy Friddle is author of The Garden Angel, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and NPR Summer Reading pick. Her second novel,Secret Keepers was published in May 2009. For more information, including excerpts, book club discussion questions and the inspiration behind the books, visit www.MindyFriddle.com and her blog,Novel Thoughts: Musings on Writing, Reading, and the Ear ...more
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