Kat's Reviews > Secrets She Left Behind

Secrets She Left Behind by Diane Chamberlain
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's review
Jul 12, 2011

really liked it
Read in July, 2011

I can't believe it's been a year since I read Before the Storm. Nor can I believe I've had this book on my shelf for so long. Since reading Before the Storm I've read 3 more Diane Chamberlain novels (in addition to the Lost Daughter which I read before BTS) and I have to say I am really loving her work.

Secrets she Left Behind takes place a year after Before the Storm. So maybe the gap in my reading makes sense. The novel picks up with Maggie Lockwood finishing her 12 month sentence for the fire. The fire which killed three and injured many including Keith.

While the back of the novel seems to promote this as Maggie's book really it is Keith's – although their stories are very much intertwined. Keith was badly scarred in the fire which Maggie set but he's story is about a lot more than that. Keith is actually Maggie's half-brother – fathered as the result of an affair between Jamie (Maggie's dad) and Sara (Keith's mum). Making this family tree a little bit more complicated is Andy – Maggie's little brother who Maggie discovers during the book (but which the read found out in book 1) is actually her half brother as well. Andy's real father is not Jamie Lockwood but rather Jamie's brother Marcus. So back to Keith. His story really starts with the disappearance of his mum Sara. As time passes and Sara isn't found Keith goes on quite an emotional journey.

Maggie's story is a little different with her adjusting to life back in the world. The characters of the novel live on what I believe is quite a small island so everybody knows who Maggie is and what she did. She spends a lot of the novel hiding away. As part of her sentence Maggie must complete 300 hours of community service. And some of the scenes in the hospital where she does some of these hours is very emotional.

And then there is Jen. A character who ties to both Keith and Maggie although the reason isn't quite clear until near the end of the novel. I guessed that something was going to happen with the character and that she wasn't what she seemed but I didn't manage to work out exactly who she was.

Throughout the novel we are given Sara's insight in to the past through memoirs she had written. This allowed the reader to get her point of view on many of the events that we talked about in Before the Storm. It actually gave a bit more depth to it. Although I'll admit I did end up thumbing quickly through BTS just to jog my memory of certain things. - like how Jamie died.

And then there is the sweet little story of Andy and his girlfriend Kimmie. The previous book was very much about Andy but in this novel he takes more of a back seat although his actions early on in the novel do set some wheels in motion. I liked the relationship between the two although I wish we had seen his friend Emily from the first novel in the role. Emily isn't seen in this book at all although her family are briefly mentioned a few times.

This was a very enjoyable book to read although I'm not sure that I enjoyed it as much as Before The Storm and I wish it hadn't end where it did. I'd have liked to have known what happened to Maggie – did she complete her 300 hours and how did she do? Did she ever leave Topsail in order to live more freely? How did Keith cope with life? Did he and Maggie ever manage to forge a relationship after everything that happened? What about Keith and Andy?

Maybe there will be a third book. But I somehow doubt it.

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07/10/2011 page 140
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