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Secrets of a Family Album
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Secrets of a Family Album

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  215 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Obsessively neat Lily, a writer who writes about writers, is asked to interview the enigmatic Rita Boothe, journalist, photographer, self-styled culinary expert and wit. Sitting in Rita's living room, leafing through a book of photographs from the early seventies, Lily comes across a picture of an incandescently sexy young woman sitting in the back of a limousine swigging ...more
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published June 6th 2005)
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Jun 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was 200 pages too long.
Probably one of my worst reads, but still worth reading depending on what you want from it.

A short summary:
All the characters have had close to zero development in their desicion-making, social intelligence and responsibility compared to their childhoods, up till this point when the protagonist suddenly discovers a photograph, that she draws false conclusions from, but still lets it become a drastical life-changing moment for her due to her lack of communicati
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Martin White lives with his son, John, and John's scatty wife Mattie. But Martin, in a forgetful moment loses the TV remote, then refrains from admitting to the act. This begins the chance connections to realign the family constellations.
Mattie and John host the annual get together with their children, Lily, Marie, Rory and the various extensions of husbands and children. At first it seems a tale of the usual family misconceptions carried into adult life that all families experience. Holiday str
Sep 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
If you can imagine the tv sitcom 'Modern Family' as an episodic book about a Scottish family, it might be something like 'Secrets of a Family Album.' I had read and liked some fairly dark mysteries by this author so was surprised to find the cover blurb on 'Secrets etc' comparing her to Maeve Binchy, an author of light, Irish family sagas. I can see the comparison, but Dewar is wittier and a bit more wry or even cynical than I recall Binchy's stories. 'Secrets' recounts a year in the life of Mat ...more
May 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit
This book has different writing style from what I was used to read, but it's still good. It's about a family in Scotland, who has their own issues and secrets. At beginning, the parents are "having a row", their children are concerned about this but they have their own problems, one wants to please everyone, has issue with being perfectiont. One is single mother and is trying her best to be best mom as she can, but the father came back after 4 years, and want the kids back. What the mother will ...more
Hilary Tesh
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If I had to pack a chest of books to keep me company on a desert island, most of Isla Dewar's books would be in there. (The exceptions would be Izzy's War and A Winter Bride - why she should want to change her style to romantic tosh when she can write books like Keeping up With Magda, I can't comprehend!) This book takes a snap shot of an extended family over a year plus, as they adjust to changing circumstances and changing relationships. One of the characters describes them as a flock of starl ...more
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I often find Isla Dewar's novels slow to get into with detailed descriptions e.g. of houses and a lot of introspection by the characters. But somehow I am drawn into the storyline and this book was hard to put down, with perceptive observations of the nuances of family life. Not one character stood out for me, but I had to laugh at Grandpa losing the remote control and lying down on the grass to snooze in the sun and his family thinking he had died. I could identify with Mattie's wish to maintai ...more
Apr 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
There's a quote on the cover stating "move over Maeve Binchy: there's a new writer on the block..." I'm a Maeve Binchy fan and, like Binchy's novels, this author examines family dynamics but with a different take. I found a lot of truth in the assumptions, perceptions, sibling rivalry, and expectations relatives have of one another. Loved the part about you just have to have mince pie at Christmas, even though nobody eats it - it's a tradition! Reminds me of my mom and having to have cranberry s ...more
Kirsty Paton
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
If I were to sum this book up in one word it would be 'ok'. Even though it is not the worst book I've read, I did find it hard work to keep reading it to completion. The author does use humor in the book nicely and does well with developing the characters. However, with that said, it was difficult to empathize with many of the characters where many of them came across as self absorbed and childish. This made it difficult to relate to the characters.
Ann Chappe
Jul 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I picked this book up from the library, forgetting that I had read it some years ago. But it actually repays a second reading and I am enjoying it just as much second time around. Perceptive descriptions of relationships and family life
Amira Bani
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Maybe that's the difference between loving someone and being in love. when you're in love it's all euphoria. but love, without the little 'in' before it, is bound up with guilt and responsibility and loyalty."

such a light flowing book, I easily made friends with the characters of it.
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book. I really loved how the author depicted the family members. Every one has good and bad character traits. And some things that are well intended are received by others as negative. That's often the cause for misunderstandings in families.
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A scottish family with a range of vastly different members all pulling in different directions. An easy read but will leave an after glow
May 05, 2010 rated it liked it
An easy light read. I enjoyed the characters.
Nov 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Boring family life wittily described
with some hilarious bits. Worth a bit more but cant give on such a limited scale.
Jun 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love Isla Dewar's writing. This book is an almost perfect picture of family life, complete with all the petty jealousies and squabbles that most families must experience.
Oct 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent book. Author is compared to Maeve Binchy. I don't think she's quite as good.
Jun 11, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Angie Swain
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
A well written observation of family life spanning four generations - sharp and wise and funny. It is a great read.
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Mar 23, 2008
Allie Riley
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Feb 28, 2013
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Feb 08, 2018
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Dec 12, 2010
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Oct 13, 2012
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May 04, 2016
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Dec 26, 2015
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Jul 10, 2012
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Jul 24, 2011
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Jan 06, 2013
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Born in Edinburgh, Isla Dewar now lives in Fife with her husband, a cartoonist, and two sons. Her first novel, Keeping Up with Magda, published in 1995, has been followed by a string of bestsellers.
More about Isla Dewar

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