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The Language of Secrets

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  1,117 ratings  ·  237 reviews
From a fresh and exciting new voice in women's fiction, The Language of Secrets unflinchingly examines the lifelong repercussions of a father's betrayal.

Justin Fisher has a successful career as the manager of a luxury hotel, a lovely wife, and a charming young son. While all signs point to a bright future, Justin can no longer ignore the hole in his life left by his estra
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by Doubleday
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3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,117 ratings  ·  237 reviews

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Dale Harcombe
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Justin Fisher seems to be doing well in life but there is something missing. When he finally decides to try and connect with the family he has been estranged from for many years, he finds the house in Lima Street has changed hands. He then learns his parents are both dead. His visit to the cemetery reveals three graves, those of his parents but it is the one of three and a half year old Thomas Justin Fisher, which gives him a jolt. His own name, how can that be? And so begins his search to uncov ...more
Gail Cooke
Apr 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ever noticed how often lately we've been pleasantly surprised when reading or listening to a book by a first-time author? It's almost as if you've suddenly discovered something wonderful, and can't wait to tell your friends about it. Many are telling their pals about THE LANGUAGE OF SECRETS by California screenwriter Dianne Dixon. It's original, compelling, and tends to make one think about his or her personal values.

Justin Fisher should be happily content. He's the manager of a plush hotel, hap
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I liked how engrossing this book was and it really hooked me into it, but I absolutely hated the ending. I like books that have closure, and this one ended horrifying. Tragic. There is enough sadness in life without putting you through this one. Very good writing though. Want another ending. About the saddest book I have ever endured, though I wanted to finish it. That is why it is a 3. "Torn."
Mar 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
In The Language of Secrets, Justin Fisher has been long estranged from his family. He returns to Southern California with his wife and young son, deciding to reconnect with the family from whom he has been long estranged, but when he arrives he is in for a shock. He learns that his parents have died, and when he visits the cemetery, he notices on the gravestone, not only the names of his parents, but his name as well. The dates next to his name indicate he died when he was just four year's old. ...more
May 17, 2010 rated it liked it

The Language of Secrets is a tightly wound mystery, with a plot unlike any other I’ve ever run across. The entire story is unusual and grabs you immediately. The main character had moved to London to pursue a career, and remained out of touch with his immediate family. After many, many years, he returns to California and tries to reconnect. He finds his parents have died, and when he visits their graves, he sees another headstone next to them. His. Showing that he died at age four. Immediately h
May 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
When I first started The Language of Secrets, I wasn't sure what to expect. The book opens with Justin Fisher pulling up to a beautiful old wooden house 20 minutes from Los Angeles. Justin is so nervous that he's trembling and he hides this from his young wife. It is clear that Justin doesn't know what to expect and is somewhat disoriented, we don't know why his memory appears spotty - whether there is something wrong with Justin's mental state or if some event has caused these "missing pieces - ...more
Mar 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
Won this book as part of a First Reads giveaway.

I have to say that the second half of the book was better than the first. The first part seemed clumsy to me--like the author was playing at being a writer and alternately wasn't that into it or was trying too hard. The prose just did not flow. The characters lacked dimension. I was also bothered by the fact that she had two kids fighting over who got to be Smurfette and have the Smurf doll while playing in 1971. The Smurfs didn't make it to the St

Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
It was okay. I gave it two stars because I enjoyed reading it to the end and it did stir an emotion in me. For a debut novel, it wasn't bad. If the author stays in this business, I really hope of the serious flaws are corrected for the next work.

A gaping-holed mystery, this novel teases at your curiosity from the beginning. The disappointment only arrives several chapters in and you're too committed now to put it down.

Filled with absolutely ridiculous story lines that never, ever, ever connect,
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
As I was thinking about what to write in this review, I decided there are two types of books I like. One is well written with a great characters, a good story, and a perspective that really makes you think. These types of books stay with you long after you've finished them. The other is pure entertainment. As the reader, you see some holes in the plot, you know the writing isn't perfect, but the story pulled you along and you were entertained. This book was the latter.

The Language of Secrets is
Barbara Bryan
Nov 02, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a profoundly sad novel but also a real look at family and the secrets within them. I honestly had a hard time putting it down. The ending was not what I wanted it to be but was instead an ending that was true to life and I have to respect that
Books are there to tell you a story; to take you into the lives of some fictional characters; to escape your own life for a time. A book that completely captures your imagination and keeps you up until all hours of the night reading is what makes for a great book. The Language of Secrets did that for me. This story had me under a spell from the beginning (especially by the end of chapter 2) that I could not go to sleep until I had finished the novel. I started it at about 5pm EST and finished it ...more
May 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those who can tolerate infidelity as part of the storyline
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Colleen Turner
Apr 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! I say that with some trepidation, because I almost feel bad loving a book that had so much heartbreak in it. There was not one character in this book that was solid, happy and completely void of secrets. Even my favorite character, Barton (priestly friend of Carolyn and Robert) had a devastating secret that isn't revealed until the last page. Every single character is making monumental mistakes that lead to often devastating consequences. Some don't mean to do it wh ...more
Haley Mathiot
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-bookshelf
Justin Fisher was just an ordinary guy—he was a manager of a hotel, married with a son, and a great future ahead of him. But he decides that he must go back to his home, because he hasn’t spoken with his family in years.

When he arrives, his parents are dead—and his gravestone is beside theirs.

Justin embarks on an amazing terrifying journey of mystery, self discovery, and secrets to try to fix his broken past—or at least figure out who he is.

The Language of Secrets was powerful, ironic, and prof
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Of the three books I took with me on vacation, The Language of Secrets was the only one that I actually had time to read. I am so glad that I chose this one to begin with. Dixon captured my attention immediately and I didn't want to put the book down. I loved how the story was told from a variety of perspectives and time frames. The reader more fully understands Justin's story than he ever will because of the way information is revealed. Alternating between the present and the past, chapters are ...more
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Justin Fisher has returned home to play his respects to his parents. He comes back to a huge surprise. One that will change his life and everything he knew about it forever.

Justin goes to the grave yard. There he finds his mother’s and father’s headstones. Justin also sees another headstone. The name on the head stone says Thomas Justin Fisher…born August 5, 1972 to February 20, 1976. It is Justin’s headstone but how can that be as Justin is alive. Justin is about to travel down a path that he
Jun 03, 2010 rated it liked it
I really do not know what to make of this book. It was recommended to me by Marilyn Hudson, who sent it, along with several others, as a suggestion for book club.

The story was so horrifying that it really sucked me in. There were a couple of different time periods being dealt with, and I found the one in present day lacking quite a bit compared with the one dealing with the main character's past. Plus there was a bit of a side story going on that really went nowhere.

The other thing that bother
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Friends
I really liked this book. I have seen some reviews criticizing the writing, the plot, the characters but guess what - if the story is as good as this one was in keeping my attention and keeping me guessing and trying hard to figure it out - then I don't even notice if it lacks a little in other areas and, to be honest I really have nothing to criticize. It would have been nice to have more details about some of the characters and the things that occurred but that would have made for a much longe ...more
The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon is a comprised of a mystery around a life. Justin Fisher wanted to introduce his family to his wife and child. Only to find out that he is dead and buried next to his father and mother. Before you have time to assimilate how horrid the situation is, you are dragged into a story that goes back and forth in time. Pieces are slowly revealed, but in ways that the whole truth is not seen by the characters all the time.

On the GoodReads site the last line of the
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy (literatiloves)
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wow! This was a roller coaster ride of a book. There were twists and turns from the beginning to the VERY.LAST.PAGE! I read this book in two days. It is hard to put down once you start reading. The book begins with Justin visiting the house he grew up in (or so he thought),wanting to find out why large chunks of his memory are missing. This leads him to a tombstone that has his name on it. He starts uncovering information that he has seemingly forgotten, or has chosen to subconsciously hide awa ...more
Apr 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
Family doesn't have one solid definition. For Justin Fisher, this knowledge is all too real. After years of not speaking to his parents, he decides to take a trip bringing his wife and son with him. When he finds out that his parents have passed away, he is more than shattered. While visiting the cemetery, he sees that there is a three year old boy named Thomas Fisher buried right next to his parents. All of a sudden he begins to remember his life as a young boy. The drama has just begun for Jus ...more
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read! Highly recommend it.
Justin Fisher has a lovely wife, a young son, nd a successful career as a manager of a luxury hotel, but he's troubled by the hole in his life left by his absent family. Hardly sure anymore why they became estranged in the first place, Justin gathers the courage to reconnect, only to find that his parents have passed away. And a visit to the cemetery brings the greatest shock of all.......... next to the graves of his father and mother sits
Good characters, but a little choppy in their development. I think the author meant to write it that way to be "mysterious" and throw the reader off track so she could have a "surprise" ending, but I had already figured out the ending so that aspect of the writing got a little bothersome. Sad stories, especially since the daughters didn't realize all that went in to their parents relationship and didn't empathize with their mother at all.
Linda Parks
Recommended by our store manager - I read this advance copy and found it to be entertaining. Great story, struggle and ending. My only wish is that a couple of the other characters in the story would have been developed a bit more... I think their unspoken history created a slight slack in this story. Overall well written with good twists.
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Narrator finds a gravestone that reads he died at age 4. Very interesting as he tries to put the pieces of his life back together. His mother narrates every few chapters as they go back to his childhood. I liked the twists in this book, especially at the end.
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very interesting concept, dealing with the trauma of childhood abuse and the lengths the mind will go to conceal it. Quite a few interesting twists, especially the ending. This one kept me guessing and I really liked it.
Apr 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Interesting story of many wounded souls, some with self-inflicted wounds, and others not just wounded. Not something that changed the way I think or feel, but a reasonably good read.
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
This book starts with a lot of intrigue and I was excited to read it! But the story ended up just feeling so tragic in the end, with some things happening throughout that I can't imagine anyone doing. The women are weak and the men are nasty controlling, and abusive. I actually liked the main character, Justin, and was rooting for him to have a better ending. I chose this book as an audio book because I just love Rebecca Lowman as a narrator. I think she does as great job as usual, but I don't r ...more
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  • Stash
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  • The Queen of Palmyra
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  • The Lovers
  • Chocolate Roses
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Dianne Dixon (winner of the Humanitas Prize for Excellence in Screenwriting and double Emmy nominee) regularly received glowing reviews for her work in television: “Her characters dance off the page.” (Jane Hewland/Sky Television, UK) “An enormously gifted writer.” (LaVerne McKinnon/CBS Television) “Her knowledge of storytelling is both clear and articulate.” (Nate Hopper/Sony Pictures).

Now Diann
“What's a feminist?" Julie asked.
"Someone who thinks women are fish," Barton replied. He was smiling at Lily. "And that men are bicycles, which makes us basically useless to anyone of the fish persuasion. But it does categorize us as creatures who exist solely for the purpose of being ridden.”
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