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The Secrets She Carried

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  950 ratings  ·  133 reviews
When a young woman returns to North Carolina after a thirty-year absence, she finds that the once grand tobacco plantation she called home holds more secrets than she ever imagined.

Though Peak Plantation has been in her family for generations, Leslie Nichols can’t wait to rid herself of the farm left to her by her estranged grandmother Maggie—and with it the disturbing mem
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by NAL
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4.5 stars

I shall but love thee better after death.

Upon the death of her grandmother, Leslie Nichols inherits Peak Plantation. She has little interest in keeping it as it dredges up memories of her thirty-year estrangement from her grandmother, Maggie and the death of her mother. When she returns to North Carolina, she discovers that she is to share the inheritance with Jay Davenport, the estate's caretaker and Maggie's friend.

While both Leslie and Jay have their own secrets, mysteries from the
4.5 Stars

A very well written, totally absorbing tale set in the dual time lines of 2013 and the 1930's. I could hardly believe this is Barbara Davis’ first book as she weaves a gripping family saga enveloping the choices and secrets buried in the past. A definite page turner as new information from the past is slowly revealed and the puzzle is finally solved.

While there is a love story, the mystery surrounding Peak Plantation’s inhabitants kept me fully invested from beginning to end. An emotio
Dale Harcombe
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars
Out of a job and with bills piling up, Leslie decides maybe she does need to go and investigate the inheritance of Peak Plantation, the lawyer notified her about almost twelve months ago. She is running out of time. If she does nothing before the twelve months is up the Planation will go to another. Despite not wanting to return after 30 years away, Leslie feels she has no choice. Especially when her father Jimmy has located her and been pestering her again. She cannot forg
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars
Recommended by Jill

Leslie Nichols cant wait to finally be rid of Peak Plantation,the stately family home left to her by her estranged grandmother Maggie. the Plantation doesn't hold good memories for Leslie, and she wants nothing to do with it. But her estrangement from her grandmother came at a price as she now is not the only one with a claim to Peak Plantation. Jay Davenport the caretaker of the property,still wants to hold onto the land bequeathed to him. Before her death Maggie h
Barbara White
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced reader copy of THE SECRETS SHE CARRIED from Ms. Davis' publisher. A beautifully crafted page-turner with many twists, this stunning novel has a simple theme: no matter how far you run, you can’t escape your past (or your family). Part contemporary women’s fiction, part historical novel, the plot moves seamlessly back and forth in time to unlock family secrets that bind four generations of women. Add a mysterious death, love that defies the grave, and ...more
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Why am I supposed to believe that the historical romance in this book was...well, romantic?
Henry made me want to run over him with his own damn pickup truck. He was a big old limp, saggy, wuss. How was I supposed to believe that he was the love of anyone's life? He wasn't nice and gentle, he was weak, weak, WEAK.
It didn't take me any time to figure out the two BIG secrets.
PacaLipstick Gramma
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gvwy-mystery
I felt like the author had too many story lines going on. It felt like she couldn't decide whether it should be a mystery or a romance. Not that that is a bad thing! But the mystery just fell a little flat, and the romance sappy and predictable.

The mystery wasn't too difficult to figure out. Jumping back and forth between past and present flowed smoothly, but then when it came to the present it felt as if just didn't gel. It was just too fragmented, as if the main character, Leslie, had absorbed
Tamara Burford
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very well written. The past is interwoven with the present.. And Adele comes to life in these pages . This is a must read
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
2/5 for characters; 2/5 for originality; 2/5 for writing style; 3/5 for plotting and maintaining interest (hey, usually I start books like this and skip to the last chapter and decide it wouldn't have been worth it); 1/5 for making sense and/or having a point; 1/5 for the inclusion of a character writing a novel about the story in the story; but bonus points for including a novelist character and for producing feel-good fuzzies.
The main disappointment is that the romance at the center of the bo
Roger Cole
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I received my iBooks copy of Secrets first thing Monday morning and I finished it early this morning. When I was younger I read incessantly, but have read very few novels recently that were able to hold my attention. I enjoyed this book tremendously. Ms. Davis kept my attention very easily with her debut as a novelist. I have only one word to give regarding this book: BRAVO! Thank you for the journey into your imagination. I look forward to many more.
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
I have a new favorite author! One of many, but definitely a great one. The author delivers a slow to develop, but interesting, story caught between the present and the past. Her characters all lived for me and the storyline was beautiful!
Camille Maio
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has been in my shelf for a long time and I’m sorry it took me this long to get to it! A compelling dual-narrative of love and secrets in the South, this was a spectacular debut that launched the successful career of Barbara Davis.
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Leslie has lost her job in New York City and is struggling to make ends meet. When she receives a call from a lawyer informing her time is almost up for her to claim her inheritance from her grandmother, she packs up and heads south. Peak Plantation has been in the family for several generations, and is home to many secrets. Leslie left at 8 years old following the death of her mother, and has not been back since. Upon arrival, Leslie discovers her grandmother, Maggie, has willed half of her est ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
The main character was obnoxious, the secondary characters were dull and the secrets weren't very mysterious. ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
I could not really put my finger on what was missing in this novel. I am still not sure. But I knew it was something when I fell asleep (not the first time), and did not rewind so to say. Instead I went forward and did not feel I had missed much. That is when I do know that something is missing for me. And I do not know what!

Maybe it was that it was two parts? I felt like the Adele story could have been a really good and tragic book. But now we had to read about Leslie too, and sure her part cou
Diana Donnelly
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The five stars tells you how I felt about this book, a story that fluctuates between two generations. It's hard to believe this was her first novel. It's part historical as well as contemporary and is a family saga at the same time it's a mystery. As far as I'm concerned it had it all and I loved it. ...more
Stacy Sabala
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
Book Review- The Secrets She Carried by Barbara Davis

This was a fascinating story that combined the past with the present. The author takes the story of Adele and Henry and intertwined the story of Jay and Leslie. It all takes place on the Peak plantation in Gavin, North Carolina. Gavin is the family name of Henry as his family was the founders of the town. Leslie grew up in Gavin at the Peak plantation living with her grandmother Maggie, Henry’s daughter. Leslie left the plantation when she was
Subtle, very subtle. That was my overriding feeling about "The Secrets She Carried." I always had a sense something was "off" about Adele [the early chapter with Adele's mother sending her away hinted of mystery and portent] and that did turn out to be so. However, it was subtly done, so good on Barbara Davis.

What was not subtle however, was the telegraphed romance between Leslie and Jay. Couldn't you just smell it coming from a mile away? On this point, Davis didn't go a good job conveying the
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quite honestly, the first chapter of this book is probably the most gripping chapter I have ever read in any book.

Leslie Nichols leaves her affluent life up north and returns to her deceased grandmother's home in agricultural eastern North Carolina. Leaving the tried and true crops of the south, tobacco and cotton, the farm is now a vinery runner by Jay Davenport.

Jay and Leslie spend quite a bit of time being belligerent to each other. Spotted throughout the book are glimpses from the past sha
Rachel Butler
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced reader copy of THE SECRETS SHE CARRIED ... I felt immediately drawn in to each of the characters and where their stories were headed and I loved that feeling of anticipation of how each of those stories would intersect across generations and societal barriers. I found myself thinking about the characters throughout the day and wanting to rush through whatever was on my schedule so I could get back to reading.

I finished The Secrets She Carried this mo
Carmen Slaughter
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I added this title to my "to-read" list last year and never got around to it. Recommendations for it kept popping up so I finally decided to read it. The first few chapters were pleasant but I wasn't overwhelmed and then everything shifted. I became totally engaged with the characters and the mystery woven into the story. I was a little more than halfway through when bedtime rolled around. I planned to finish it today but, as I lay in bed, I couldn't sleep for thinking about the book so I just g ...more
Eric Hall
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am pleased to say, I received this book as a gift from a dear friend of mine. I can honestly say, that this wonderful story got me interested in reading again. I felt like I knew these characters personally. I found myself saying "just one more chapter" every night. The depth of Leslie's own emotional struggles mingled with the troubles of her past relatives turned into an amazing and heartfelt lesson on the past, forgiveness and moving forward. I am definitely looking forward to Ms. Davis' 2n ...more
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
I think with a little reshuffle this book could have actually been a mystery for the audience instead of only the characters. The author gave away too much information upfront so I wasn't given enough drive to keep reading. Instead at the end with the great unveiling I already knew everything because she told me. Also, the main character was obnoxious. The end. ...more
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I won this in a goodreads give-away and I enjoyed it! It was pretty good for the authors first book. I will read her next book. I loved the history and the setting. I didn't like Leslie at first, but I'm glad to see she turned completely around. If you like historical fiction with a bit of a love story and mystery, I recommend this. ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I am really surprised at how much I really enjoyed this sweet little book. Such a good story and wonderful writing. Amazing for a newbie author. I will pick up her future books!

Thank you Edelweiss for the copy. Arc received for an honest review.
Laura Lee
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very good story and suspenseful. Who is Adele? How is she related to Leslie? Two parallel stories that intersect. Mystery and love story both, the writing is good and I enjoyed it very much. Would recommend for book clubs.
Tori (Book Chick)
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mystery, love, heartbreak... Really good book although I felt like at the end a whole bunch happened without enough explanation. But I still really enjoyed it.
Joan Roll
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-reads
Following the death of her grandmother, Leslie Nichols returns to North Carolina to Peak Plantation. Her estranged Grandmother, Maggie, has willed a portion of the plantation to Leslie. Since Leslie has lost her job, she goes to North Carolina from New York with the intentions of selling the plantation.

However, after she arrives she finds that Jay Davenport owns a portion of the land and has started a vineyard on the land. She becomes interested in the business and in Jay and decides she may st
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"There's a difference between running away and starting over."

In debt and out of work thanks to the digital age, and with her lowlife of a father heading toward her front door, Leslie Nichols has no choice but to return to North Carolina and take her place in a family she'd abandoned decades ago. The discovery of a grave leads her to an unexpected career, romance, and secrets that force her to question everything she thinks she knows. This is a a well crafted, hauntingly beautiful novel of rein
Lisa Wiegand
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Its not easy writing a historical love story and entwining it with a current love story - especially since you don't want to be cliched and sappy.

This author has done fairly well. Its a story about a mixed race southern woman from the 1920's whose mother would like her to have a better life than she has had. She sends her daughter from New Orleans to North Carolina to be a ladies companion on a large tobacco plantation. The cliched part comes in that she falls for the husband of the lady that s
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Author of The Secrets She Carried, The Wishing Tide, Summer at Hideaway Key, Love, Alice. (Penguin/Berkley) When Never Comes (Lake Union) Coming in June 2020, The Last of the Moon Girls (Lake Union)

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