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Secrets of Eden

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  12,429 ratings  ·  1,856 reviews
From the bestselling author of The Double Bind, Midwives, and Skeletons at the Feast comes a novel of shattered faith, intimate secrets, and the delicate nature of sacrifice.

"There," says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Crown
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Djb No, since her stomach contents were identifiable, meaning not digested, she died first, less than an hour after she ate. His stomach contents were…moreNo, since her stomach contents were identifiable, meaning not digested, she died first, less than an hour after she ate. His stomach contents were mush, meaning that there was enough time between eating and the time of death for digestion to take place, so he died at least 4 - 5 hours after he ate.(less)
Allison Malter Oh wow. I just finished this book. It's very compelling and will grab you from the very beginning. Very interesting how he rotates the narrators and…moreOh wow. I just finished this book. It's very compelling and will grab you from the very beginning. Very interesting how he rotates the narrators and builds on the story. Definitely recommend it.(less)
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Average rating 3.44  · 
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 ·  12,429 ratings  ·  1,856 reviews

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B the BookAddict
Apr 28, 2013 rated it liked it

I have read other Chris Bohjailian books and really enjoyed them. Having said that, this is not the case here. This novel is passable but not up to his usual standard.

Murder/suicide of Alice and George Hayward. Told in four separate parts by four main characters. Stephen Drew who is Alice's pastor, then Catherine Benincasa, the prosecutor overseeing the investigation, followed by Heather Laurent, an author who sees angels and whose parents died in the same manner and lastly Katie Hayward the
Becca Wilds
Apr 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010
Dear Mr. Bohjalian,

Tell me, what happened to the man who skillfully channeled 360 degrees of the female soul in "Midwives"? Where might the author be who so cleverly knit elements of Gatsby in with a modern story in "The Double Bind"? What has become of the writer who bravely took on the tired topic of WWII and crafted a gorgeous story in "Skeletons at the Feast"?

Because certainly - the same fellow did not write this dimestore paperback drivel? We know it happens from time to time. A great
Oct 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
Here is the plot of this book: The victim of domestic violence and her husband are found dead in a small town in Vermont, apparently a murder suicide. The woman had been having an affair with the pastor of her church. The pastor feels guilty that he did not intervene more strongly and he takes off with a best-selling author of a book about angels. We dont know why he has an affair with her, as she is a kook who is so into angels that she can barely utter dialogue without bringing them into a ...more
Mariah Roze
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This book was very good and interesting in the beginning, but about halfway through it just kind of stalled. It was interesting, but I didn't have this deep desire to know what happened next. That is why it only received 4 stars.

"'There,' says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality
Martie Nees Record
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Genre: Psychological Fiction
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pub. Date: 2010

Wanting a quick break from Advanced Review Copies (ARCs), I decided to read a 2010 novel by Chris Bohjailian. He is one of my preferred authors of page-turners. In "Midwives," one of my favorite novels, Bohalian crafts a courtroom drama that investigates an impossible decision made by a midwife who lives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. In "The Double Bind," he weaves together the world of The Great Gatsby and the lives of
Feb 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Not my favorite Bohjalian book, but pretty good nonetheless. A murder suicide (or was it 2 murders?) has occurred in a small Vermont town, and we are told about the domestic abuse situation and its aftermath from four different points of view. The first is Stephen, the local pastor to the couple and their daughter; next is the D.A.; then an author of angel books whose parents also died in a murder/suicide and who decides to go hang around the pastor, the daughter, and the mortician (just weird); ...more
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Chris Bohjalian book and I am pleased with his easy reading style. This book follows the murder/suicide of a couple in Vermont. Or was it? All is not how it seems in this household or with the deaths themselves. The story unfolds through the narratives of 4 different characters. I loved three of them, the pastor who questions his spiritual path after the deaths and perhaps knows more than he lets on....the tough DA who has seen too many of these cases to take them at face ...more
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Barbara by: CHRIS BOHJALIAN!
I have been an avid follower of Chris Bohjalian's writing for a long time. It pains me to say that this novel was a disappointment to me. My first introduction to this author was "Skeletons at the Feast", which so impressed me that I followed it with many more of his boooks. This could not compare with that first book, or others. The story weaves around the apparent murder/ suicide in a small town in Vermont. It is a tale of wife battering and alcoholism and the effects of these abuses on ...more
Steve Lindahl
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audio version of Chris Bohjalian's novel Secrets of Eden and want to recommend it highly. There are multiple readers who all do an excellent job. It's perfect for a long commute, although I found myself driving an extra block or two a couple of times when I couldn't stop listening.

Many writing instructors, especially those who are teaching beginning courses, tell writers to show rather than tell. It's a bit of advice that has always irritated me, because it simplifies the
Jul 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jackie by: Chris and Kira
I had the privilege of getting to read a very early, pre-final-edit manuscript of this book, and I am SO glad, because now I can be among the first to tell everyone how fabulous it is! Once again, Bohjalian creates big, believable drama in a small town Vermont setting. This time it involves a preacher who is losing his faith, two deaths and plenty of mystery of the "whodoneit" variety. It is interesting to read a book where two dead people are very much central characters and seeing the plot ...more
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
"The Buffalo Soldier" was the first of Bohjalian's books I've read, which was followed by "Midwives" and "Double Bind"... and I feel as though I am on a slow downward spiral with Chris Bohjalian's books, although "Secrets of Eden" is, in parts, well written, it is equally torturous to read in others.

The character of the minister starts out with a somewhat weary-of-his-pathetic-excuse-for-parishioners recounting of the typical Sunday whinings mixed with more heartwarming stories told by
Elyse  Walters
Mar 24, 2010 rated it liked it
I enjoyed 'Secrets of Eden' ---
I was engaged with every part of the book ---
I'll my 'least' favorite section was when Prosecutor Catherine Beninocasa takes over being the narrator from Pastor Stephen Drew.

I wasn't ready for a 'change' of voice ---(I felt this section of the book needed better editing).

To leave Stephen Drew's voice out of the story for as long as was done ---was just too long. (or either the first chapter ABOUT Drew was too long)....
but as a reader, my emotional tie (by
Lydia Presley
Mar 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have a love/hate relationship with Chris Bohjalian and this book emphasized it even more. It takes forever for me to get myself fully involved in his books.. but I do it. Why? Because the final chapters of the book will punch me in the gut and leave me shaking my head in awe. That's what keeps me reading.

From Double Bind to Midwives and now to Secrets of Eden, he hasn't disappointed me. Books that, if I would have only read the first half, I would have given 1-2 stars of rating get 4-5 stars
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
A man who undergoes a crisis of faith who becomes embroiled in a murder/suicide. I found the premise of this book fascinating due to the moral and spiritual implications, this one kept my interest I did love the set up, having the opening of the book be told by the Pastor of this small town in Vermont you really took him at face first. There is a propensity to want to believe a man of honour and a man of the cloth as the story unravels and your belief in him gets obliterated it makes ...more
I read this a few years ago. It was good but not as good as Midwives.
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Secrets of Eden," my third Chris Bohjalian book, reinforced why I'm such a fan of this author. Beginning with the deaths of Alice and George Hayward in an apparent murder-suicide, the story devolves into a mystery when it becomes apparent that George died by a hand other than his own.

Told from the perspectives of four characters who are very different from one another, the book reveals interesting personality traits of each, yet keeps each character enigmatic enough that I was pondering some
Book Concierge
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Audio book performed by Mark Bramhall, Susan Denaker, Rebecca Lowman and Kathe Mazur.

When Alice and George Hayward die in a murder/suicide, Reverend Stephen Drew suffers a crisis of faith. He is tormented by his inability to stop the tragedy, and tortured by a sense of guilt. In despair he leaves the small Vermont town and seeks consolation with a wildly successful new-age author of angel books. But the medical directors autopsy findings arent consistent with suicide and the state prosecutor
Feb 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Bohjalian (Law of Similars) has built a reputation on his rich characters and immersing readers in diverse subjectshomeopathy, animal rights activism, midwiferyand his latest surely wont disappoint. The morning after her baptism into the Rev. Stephen Drews Vermont Baptist church, Alice Hayward and her abusive husband are found dead in their home, an apparent murder-suicide. Stephen, the novels first narrator, is so racked with guilt over his failure to save Alice that he leaves town. Soon, he ...more
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Suzka by: library reading group
This was the February selection for OLBC, and I read it because I'm committed to the OLBC.

What I enjoyed:

* The story was told from the point of view of four different characters, weaving perceptions into an interesting braid for the reader. Nice touch.
* The setting (small rural northern New England town) was fun, especially as it felt like the author was translating this specific flavor of Small Town (which is where I live) for the rest of the world.

What I didn't so much enjoy:

* The ending was
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
I liked some things about this book, but overall I didn't care for it.

In a small town in Vermont, an apparent murder/suicide takes place. It seems George Hayward has murdered his wife (whom he was abusing) and then committed suicide...or IS this what happened??

Each section of the story is narrated by a different person: the town pastor, who is struggling with his faith, a woman who writes books about angels (whose own parents killed themselves in a murder/suicide), law enforcement, the only
3.75 stars

Steven is a minister in a small town. ****This may be a SPOILER, but its revealed fairly early on.**** Little do most people know, hes been having an affair with one of his parishoners, Alice. ****END POSSIBLE SPOILER**** Alice is married, but her husband is abusive toward her. Alice and her husband have a teenage daughter, Katie. When Katies parents are discovered one Monday morning by Alices best friend, Ginny, it appears that Alice was murdered by her husband, who then killed
Diane Chamberlain
Feb 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved the different points of view and what was revealed by each. This approach will not be everyone's cup of tea, but it worked for me. I thought Bohjalian did a great job with the different voices. I knew "who-dunnit" early on, either because I read too much or write with a similar structure myself, but that didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book at all.
Elevate Difference
Apr 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Like Midwives and The Double Bind, Chris Bohjalian's newest suspense novel, Secrets of Eden, was (no exaggeration) nearly impossible for me to put down.

Set against the beautiful backdrop of a small town in rural Vermont is the horrific murder-suicide of a local couple. Businessman George Hayward, who has a history of abusing his wife Alice, murders her while their teenage daughter, Katie, is out at a concert, and then turns the gun on himself. Holding the familyand the towntogether immediately
May 05, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was pretty good. I like the author's talent for speaking in the voices of the characters and really bringing them to life. I found a lot of quotables which in my opinion is a testiment to the book itself as well as the author's good work. However, great quotes does not a good book make, therefore I had to hold back that fourth star.
This book is supposed to be a murder, a mystery, the investigation, a veritable "who done it" and the view points of all those involved as they recount the
Desiree reilly
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
5.0 out of 5 stars SECERTS OF EDEN, July 23, 2012
desi reilly (ozark mo) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Secrets of Eden: A Novel (Paperback)
wow this book is great. I could not get the book done quick enough.Here you got the country folks and the people all now each
other and usually now what goes on in the home form word of mouth or groups they are in.What happen in town stay in town or they
say it will you have a couple who has a daughter is only a high school kid.the daughter is
Kirk Smith
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book did not set well with me from the very start. Most of the story revolves around a philandering minister who had been carrying on an affair with a married lady from his congregation. The smug, cold, and entirely justified attitude of the minister just heightened my disgust. I can stomach the Elmer Gantry type stories where there is more of an imminent train wreck coming and the charismatic seducer is later brought back down to earth. In fact I often love those kinds of stories because ...more
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
I just have to quote another reader who said it perfectly!

"Tell me, what happened to the man who skillfully channeled 360 degrees of the female soul in "Midwives"? Where might the author be who so cleverly knit elements of Gatsby in with a modern story in "The Double Bind"? What has become of the writer who bravely took on the tired topic of WWII and crafted a gorgeous story in "Skeletons at the Feast"?"

I am woefully disappointed in my favorite modern author. I felt no connection or "soul" from
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book but it was a disappointment from the beginning. 
The characters are hollow, and the story is weak to non existent. The parts about the angels added nothing to the mystery story. Told by 3 different characters, there is little to bring the 3 parts together. The main characters, The Haywards are dead before the story begins. Who killed who, and why is speculated on by all of the narrators.

All I could come up with are questions, why the romance between the angel
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
A very disappointing read. I figured out the whole thing about a third of the way through the book. It did not flow the way some of Chris' books have flowed. It felt as though he had done his research about DV and was compelled to show the reader that he knew a lot about the subject and interjected it throughout rather than embedding it skillfully. I am usually blown away by how Chris researches a subject and then is able to weave a great story. This time was not the case. I was also very ...more
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Chris Bohjalian is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 21 books. His work has been translated into 35 languages and three times become movies.

His new novel about a deadly pathogen, The Red Lotus, was just published -- a twisting story of love and deceit. An American man vanishes on a rural road in Vietnam and his girlfriend, an emergency room doctor trained to ask questions, follows a path

Articles featuring this book

The reader doesn't know how much to believe. My favorite line in the book is spoken by Stephen Drew: "Believe no one, trust no one, assume all of o...
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“Food is a gift and should be treated reverentially--romanced and ritualized and seasoned with memory.” 69 likes
“We may talk a good game and write even better ones, but we never outgrow those small wounded things we were when we were five and six and seven.” 56 likes
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