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Game of Secrets

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  378 ratings  ·  103 reviews
In 1957, Jane Weld was eleven years old when her father, Luce, disappeared. His skiff was found drifting near a marsh, empty except for his hunting coat and a box of shotgun shells. No one in their small New England town knew for sure what happened until, three years later, Luce’s skull rolled out of a gravel pit, a bullet hole in the temple. Rumors sprang up that he had b ...more
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Random House (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  378 ratings  ·  103 reviews

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Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it

when you play the game of secrets, you win... or you die.

nahhh, nothing as dramatic as that, and not one single dragon.

this book is better than it looks, but not as good as i had hoped.

it has really beautiful language but really clunky plot.

it made my heart swell with its mentions of del's lemonade, lincoln dog park, newport jai alai, and coffee milk. but the relationships, both romantic and familial, left me without heartswells at all.

the family secrets were everywhere on the spectrum from "e
Mar 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
I don't even know if it's fair for me to review this book because I couldn't finish it. But I feel like if I'm going to give it a one-star rating, I have to explain myself.

I saw the author give a reading from this book at the Boston Book Fest and was deeply turned off by it. It occurred to me immediately that she was not reading her writing as a novelist would, but as a poet: she ran sentences together, used no emotion whatsoever, but sort of lifted and dropped the tone of her voice in a robotic
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-favorite-read

In Game of Secrets, the lives of two women, two families are tied forever by a unsolved crime and secrets of the past. In 1957, Luce Weld, father to (12) year old Jane disappeared. Luce was a womanizer who had been having an affair with Ada Varick. Ada was married to Silas at that time, but left her husband the year her son Ray was born. What exactly happened to Luce, is unknown, however in the 1960's a skull with bullet hole in it was found, and it townspeople suspected it could have been Luce.
Kim Wright
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I know from this writer's past work that she has the ability to create vivid characters who are equally capable of love and violence. Game of Secrets is her best yet and it asks an important central question: How well do we ever really know anyone?

Set in a small New England town and based on a scrabble game between two old friends, Game of Secrets is about the unraveling of a mystery that deeply affected the lives of both women. But, as is often the case in small towns, the p
Jul 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I won this as part of Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway-thank you!

In 1968, Jane Weld was 12 years old her when her father, Luce, went missing. At the time he was having an affair with Alda Varick and her jealous husband was always considered a suspect. Now it is decades later and Jane's daughter, Marne, has struck up a relationship with one of Ada's sons. Jane herself meets once a week for a Scrabble game with Ada and during the game the two of them share detailed memories of the past. While Dawn Tr
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly outstanding book in many ways. Where this book particularly excels is in description. Everything about these people, the place they call home, the lives they have lived, is rendered in lush, exquisite detail. The characters are richly drawn and endlessly interesting. The ending falters a great deal. While poetic, there is not enough of a narrative arc for one of the main characters, Marne, and one of the story's biggest secrets is a bit... frustrating in how it is handled. It is ...more
Caroline Leavitt
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This haunting, exquisitely written novel is about the secrets we choose to tell and the ones we want to keep. I was mesmerized from page one. Over the course of a board game, two women reveal their paths--and each other. You quickly become deeply invested in both the characters and the plot, and it's no wonder that Tripp has the stellar literary reputation that she has.
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Game of Secrets...I did enjoy the prose style. I thought the imagery in some of the passages was beautiful. I did find in parts of the book that the prose could get a little thick which slowed down the progression of the book. There were other places in the book where the prose was more clean and strait forward and then the pace of the story would speed up. I definitely felt the tenison in the story and I kept waiting for something tragic to happen in the present.(2004) As readers we already kne ...more
Erika Robuck
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Set in a small New England town, GAME OF SECRETS is a novel told from multiple points of view in different time periods. Two aged women playing a game of Scrabble with a tangle of shared, unspoken, family tragedies, a pair of young lovers meeting in secret in an old barn, an unearthed skull with a bullet hole revealing a decades-old murder, and a guarded daughter trying to find where she fits into her town and her family provide the framework of the book. The stories weave together through time ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
There is a thin line between literature that is florid and pretentious, and literature that is lyrically beautiful. This novel is definitely the latter. A compelling story of many people, told on two separate but related timelines, this story of loss, love, and finding oneself is utterly satisfying in every regard. The author clearly loves her wordplay, though it does not bog down the story. The characters are flawed and real, the setting achingly realistic (as anyone who grew up in a small coas ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Poetic writing and a plot that takes you to the event, the place and the time frames this is set in. Dawn Tripp's book excels in a way that writers today no longer are able to master---making you think as a reader.
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
maybe 3.5
i wanted to like it, 5 *s on amazon, but too hard to follow, too much subtlety. the scrabble references were great, but not enough to make me like the writing style or the characters
Jessica Keener
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing. Evocative in the way fragments of stories and time interface and finally amass into a whole.
Violette Malan
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable. Voices are clear and distinct, and you don't see a lot of it coming.
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-read
Game Of Secrets by Dawn Tripp
Published by Random House
Publication Date:
ISBN: 1400061881
Pages: 273
Review Copy from: Sparkpoint LLC
Edition: HC
My Rating: 2

Synopsis: In 1957, Jane Weld was eleven years old when her father Luce, a petty thief, disappeared. His skiff was found drifting near the marsh, empty except for his hunting coat and a box of shot-gun shells. No one in his small New England town knew for sure what happened until, three years later, his skull rolled out of a gravel
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I registered a book at!

This story spans generations, but the protagonist is in the present. Is it Marne, the bitter young woman who has come home for a while? Or her mother Jane? It seems that Jane figures most in the actions, so I'll call it for her.

Marne has returned home from California and doesn't know what her next move will be. She is irritated by her mother, as she has been for years, and is again finding herself attracted to h
Samantha Glasser
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I won this as part of Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway.

Game of Secrets is the story of a family. Jane Weld was the daughter of Luce, a man who went missing many years before under mysterious circumstances. At the time of his death, Luce was having an affair with Ada Varick, and when Jane got older, Ada became her best friend. Now old ladies, they play Scrabble together in the park. When Jane's daughter Marne becomes sweet on Ada's son, the tension between the family appears to have dissipated a bi
Margaret Wilkening
I received Game of Secrets in a Goodreads giveaway, and, to be honest, left it sitting on my bedside table for a month. I was uncertain how this "literary thriller" tied to a weekly Scrabble game was going to play out. I dreaded reading one of those dramatic, depressing stories where a parent or a child has to betray the other for the common good.

The promotional quotes proclaiming it to be a thriller is misleading. A thriller implies hot and fast and dramatic unfolding. Game of Secrets was quie
Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)
This was a very quick read and beautifully written. I like the way all the stories intertwined with these families. How Jane is now friends with the woman who was her father's mistress 50 years before - and her daughter and Ada's son are flirting with an attraction that is growing between them. The three women - Ada, Jane and Marne - play the larger roles in this story and while the men they love (or who love them) figure in to the story, it is the women who you learn the most about. While the s ...more
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'd give this a 2.5. I read Dawn Tripp's earlier novels and loved both of them. Sadly, this novel didn't quite measure up to these two earlier works. I found it rather disjointed, and for some reason, I had a hard time keeping track of the relationships between characters. There was a fair amount of emotion around certain characters that I didn't think was fully explained. One particular character appears along the periphery of Jane's life but then seems to fade out without a reason for his appe ...more
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-england
This one is definitely a read again some time in the future. It has layers of complexity that will offer up something new the second time around.
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
story was decent enough, i was pleasantly surprised by the twist in the last chapter. the writing was a bit more "stream of conscious" than i like.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good read but I found it confusing and hard to keep the characters straight - a lot of jumping back and forth in time and between characters. It was one of those books that I needed to finish to try and figure how everyone connected!
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
The prose is beautiful. I particularly descriptions of two characters interacting during a scrabble game. The plot is weak. I expected more from this short family drama.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written story. Although, I'm pretty sure some of it went over my head.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended in an essay of Roxane Gay's in Bad Feminist.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Review originally posted at: Book Cover Justice

Game of Secrets is the story of small town life and how one act can influence many generations. While the main story in the book is of Jane Weld, there are many other smaller stories happening at the same time that all come together. Jane was eleven years old when her father disappeared. Three years later, his skull was found with a bullet wound. While nobody knew for sure and nothing could ever be proven, it was believed that he was murdered by the
Apr 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
From an interview with Dawn Tripp at, wherein she talks about the role of Scrabble in her novel:
How we play that particular game can reveal so much about how we tick, how we live, who we are. Some play to keep the board open; some play to shut it down. Some play with an eye to the sum of the total scores of all players; some play, simply, to maximize their own. Most players will look at the board and see the words that fill it. But a really good player, a canny player -- and she wa
Orbs n Rings
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
An emotionally woven wooden roller coaster ride.

As you partake in Game of Secrets you awaken your senses to a place and time that feels familiar as if you yourself have been there before. The characters in this novel feel frozen in time as emotions ripple through with every turned of the page. The main characters have so much in common yet they keep those emotions encased within themselves as if waiting for someone to come along and crack their shells. As the story unfolds it weaves back and for
Charlotte Lynn
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Game of Secrets is the story of two families that are twisted together by a budding romance, an affair, and a murder. In 1957, Luce Weld was murdered by a gunshot to the head. At the time of his murder he was having an affair with Ada Varick. It is widely believed that Ada’s husband, Silas, is the one who put the bullet in Luce.

Jump ahead to 2004, Jane age 60, Luce’s daughter, plays Scrabble weekly with Ada, 80, in hope of learning more about Luce’s romance and eventual murder. Marne, Jane’s dau
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Confused..... 2 11 Oct 27, 2014 08:35AM  
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Dawn Tripp is the author of GEORGIA, a novel of Georgia O'Keeffe. A National Bestseller, an Indie Next Pick for the American Booksellers Association, and a Pennie's Pick for Costco, GEORGIA has been described as "complex and original" by the New York Times Book Review and "magical and provocative" by USA Today. Winner of the Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction, Tripp is the author of three previo ...more
“She writes only in pencil, as if the words might need to be revoked--borrowed words, for the most part, plucked out of other mouths...” 5 likes
“He'd dust the dirt off with his fingers, wash it in his mouth so it came lean off his tongue like a language.” 2 likes
More quotes…