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Public Secrets

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  15,455 ratings  ·  652 reviews
New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts deftly blends romance and suspense in this compelling novel of a woman whose career, marriage, and very life are threatened by the truth about her own past.

Emma McAvoy may have grown up in the limelight, but some secrets are hidden in a darkness no light can reach. Now on the verge of a successful career, and having fallen in
Audible Audio, Unabridged, 20 pages
Published July 23rd 2014 by Brilliance Audio (first published January 1990)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,455 ratings  ·  652 reviews

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Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to jenjn79 by: favorite author
Public Secrets isn't one of Nora Roberts most popular books. It's not one that gets mentioned much and I know a lot of her readers don't particularly care for it. But there's something about this book that thoroughly captures me. It's one of my all-time favorite books. I think I've read it about 6 times now.

It's a rather atypical romance novel (semi-romantic suspense) because the romance doesn't really come into play seriously until the last 150 pages. This book is more about the heroine, Emma,
Emma McAvoy met her rock star father for the first time at the age of three when her mother, a pitiful but vengeful mess, forced the interaction. Brian McAvoy had no idea of her existence and fell in love with his daughter, his spitting image, at first sight. From here on out, the tale unfolds about their lives, a saga of heartache, betrayal, love and commitment.

It's hard to capsulize this book into a one-paragraph summary as it chronicles the lives of this family over a 20-year time span. Even
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I purchased the book last year, it looked vaguely familiar. Let me be clear; I have read a LOT of Nora Roberts. Between haunting the library shelves in Germany for her books and purchasing almost all of the rest, I do believe that I have read most of her books. There are only a few I have not gotten around to reading. When I bought Public Secrets, I thought this was one of those that remained unread. After reading the first page, I remembered the story. It turns out I did read it more than ...more
For some reason I've just started to get into Nora Robert's books and I have zero regrets. Bring them all to me!

Public Secrets was a pretty good audiobook if I do say so myself. Now this book is basically all about Emma and her life. At the beginning, I believe she's about 3 years old? Which is adorable nonetheless but her life was complete shit. Her mother was neglecting her but at the same time being abusive as shit. Ugh, abusive parents are the absolute WORST and it pains me that people actua
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Wow, this is... intense. I want to say it reminds me of Coming Home, a little bit, because they've both got this - atmosphere, I guess - that conveys such a sense of reality. As if the story is already known and is simply being transcribed. Not the sort of work where you think about plot and pacing, just about the inexorable march of time. The almost inevitability of the ending, something hard-won after years of work put into making it from day to day. The courage of everyday living.

I wish there
So this book was a LOT. Not in a bad way, but I wasn't prepared, especially given my copy has one of the most misleading backcover summaries ever. (I'll put in behind a spoiler cut, but it basically just describes the last 50 pages of the book . . . with incorrect information.) (view spoiler) ...more
I have really mixed feelings about this book. I generally love all the books by Nora Roberts and this one is really well written. But I haven't enjoyed it as much as some of her other books.

First, I was definitely expecting something completely different. I was thinking about a good romantic suspense with nice developed characters and a bit of this rock star glitter. Instead it is a story more into woman's fiction genre or even a very well-written biography of a non-existing person, Emma. Really
I am torn between 3.5 and 4 STARS...UGH. I've waited a week and still can't decide how I truly feel.

I've read quite a few NR books, and this is hands down the most intense. It spans multiple years and addresses some dark storylines. Even though Emma is the MC, I felt she was too often overshadowed by Brian. Also, due to the large time span, it felt like key events were not sufficiently covered. Despite that, it was an engaging read, and I could't put it down.
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an oldie but a goodie. I first read Public Secrets over 15 years ago and since then I continually pick it back up for a reread. I just finished rereading the story after a good 7 or 8 year break and I am so happy to say that it's still as compelling, intriguing, and delightful as it was the first time I read it.

This story in particular is a favorite of mine as it follow the story of not just the main character Emma, but an entire cast of characters that you love to love and love to hate
Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey)
A saga unfolds...

There were times I hated this book. Not the story, but the characters and their actions. It made me a lot uncomfortable and queasy.

Everyone was so selfishness and the one redeemable character became a weak reflection.

Talk about a soap opera, this book most certainly was.

Though there is a happy ending, for the most part, I hated how they got there, which took the sweetness out of it.

As much as I hated it, the plot, the writing, the storyline were all engaging. So despite all of
Mar 08, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up wanting a basic Nora Roberts comfort read, forgetting that her stand alones are...not that comforting lmao. This one definitely had some dark shit I wasn’t anticipating (child death, spousal abuse, lotta drugs, etc.). But honestly the thing that bugged me the most was the side plot where a recovering addict becomes romantically involved with their therapist that they met in rehab? NORA! THIS IS UNETHICAL! I KNOW IT WAS THE NINETIES BUT SHEESH!
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
Wow, if that wasn't one roller coaster of life I don't know what is.... This is one of those stories that passes a LOT of time. You become deeply involved in every character, who they are, what they are dealing with, their thoughts, feelings- get ready to become overly attached to all of them. There is abuse, love, addiction, loss- in every way imaginable, emotional manipulation, murder, attraction, lust, turmoil, fear, devastation, joy, heartache, redemption, healing, you seriously go
Very emotional book from start to finish but I loved every minute of it and think this is probably one of the best NR book I have read.

Although this story spans 23 years, telling the life of the heroine, Emma McAvoy, from just before her third birthday to the beginning of the nineties, from the moment she met her father, through her adolescence, her first crush, through a disastrous marriage, to the moment she discovers the truth about a tragic incident in her youth, I didn't understand the woman. Maybe I didn't because I couldn't connect or empathize with her due to the fact I didn't live such a life, or maybe I couldn't becau ...more
This book reminded me why I like Nora Roberts. I'll admit, I haven't been impressed with her lately (and by lately I'm pretty sure any book she's written in the last decade because it felt like too many of the same re-tellings to me), but this one, I really enjoyed and in fact stayed up late last night because I was halfway through and didn't want to stop. I love that this story took place over about a span of thirty years or so. I love that it was about rockers and stardom and drugs and family ...more
Scott Rhine
The characterization and settings are superb. based solely on this, it would have been a 5. but after a while the detail is too much. For about an hour's worth of crime drama, you need to span 20 years. There were scenes where the person has traveled hours to ask one life-or-death question. Rather than ask, they draw it out for a page saying "I'm going to ask a question," or neglect to share a vital piece of information entirely. I found myself wanting to edit several times. Whole chapters, such ...more
Lora Savchova
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I simply loved this book. I honestly couldn't put it down. The characters were touching and real, not flawless and perfect but real.
What I hated was being in Emma's head. Not the writing hate, I just loved the story, but rather the existantial hate. I don't want to think of child abuse, that's just one of the most horrible things out there. And the worst of it was that, even when she grew up in a loving environment with all luxuries etc., in the end she was still the traumatised little girl who
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was not one of my favorites from Roberts, but it was well written and a good read. Most of the reasoning for my rating has to do with pacing. It's not that the story ever lags, but there was a section I felt lasted too many chapters. That being said, it's more of my personal distaste for the subject matter going on in the story--brutal domestic abuse and violence against children. It makes me sick to even read about such things and know they exist in reality. So, though it may be a bit unfa ...more
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing! It's not a typical romance, more of a story about the girl Emma and her life which at times is quite tragic. But I just loved this book and found myself unable to put it down. I felt like I was right along with Emma experiencing and feeling all of these events and emotions with her. It's a not so glamorous side to life but I truly loved it and again, Roberts will NEVER disapoint! ...more
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most wonderfull book I've ever read! The book has it all, love, happiness and sadness. It's the first book that made me have tears in my eyes, some where from happiness but there where also tears of sadness. But everything meaningful in the book and I love the happy end!!!! ...more
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Nora Roberts book. The plot was thick. It was incredibly intense. Will always be in my top 10.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From its very first pages you find yourself hooked. It is the kind of books I deeply love; the kind that induces you to forget time and surroundings and captures you in an unstoppable reading trance.
If the bookshelves categories look confusing it's because the story runs from 1967 to 1990 and while there is as much love and sex as anyone could want there is also a very ugly murder which isn't solved until the end.
The novel centres around Emma McAvoy, the illegitimate daughter of Brian McAvoy who founded the rock band Devastation. Emma's mother had known Brian from youth and hung with him and the band until they began to be successful. Jane was an alcoholic and drug addict who abused her dau
Nancy H
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic early Nora Roberts, and is excellent. It tells the story of a woman who was the daughter of a rock store, abused by her mother, rescued by her father, haunted by a tragedy early in her life, and subject to more tragedy as an adult. It is definitely a page-turner and a good read.
I have great memories of this book and decided it was time to take Nora Roberts Public Secrets off the shelf and enjoy it once more. While it was definitely as good as I remembered there was so much more to this book than just a romance. In fact I wouldn't really even call this book a Romance but because NR wrote it, the publishing industry lacks imagination and insists on calling it so.

This book is a retrospective of life, love, family, connections and how you learn to deal with it all.

At the
My travel beach read, Nora didn't disappoint! ...more
Carolyn R
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nora Robert's fabulous storytelling skills, great character portrayals, mystery, and roaming through the great music of the sixties. ...more
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis above, not going to make my own.

This was a great book from Nora Roberts, better than some of the others I have read. It is one of her time progression novels, so a lot of the book is about Emma's childhood and the lives of the band members. The major romance between Emma and Michael doesn't really begin until after half of the book is already over with, somewhere in the last 175 pages or so.

I loved reading about all the lives in this book, though. Usually NR focuses on the main two cha
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Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including Hideaway, Under Currents, Come Sundown and coming in November 2020 -- The Awakening -- the first book in The Dragon Heart Legacy. She is also the author of the futuristic suspense In Death series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print. ...more

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