Amy's Reviews > The Art of Keeping Secrets

The Art of Keeping Secrets by Patti Callahan Henry
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's review
Feb 04, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: bookcrossing, charleston-sc, met-or-know-the-author, set-in-my-stomping-grounds, set-in-the-south, southern-author
Read from February 03 to 05, 2011

(There is a moderate spoiler after the 3rd paragraph. Not enough to hide the whole review, but enough, that if you are serious about reading the book, you might not want to know ahead of time, though I will try and be vague as possible.)

I feel really bad that I just don't like this author's premises that much, but obviously it doesn't keep me from trying again when a book of hers comes my way. She loves the low country. I love the low country. We have that meeting ground. But honestly, I think we sometimes inhabit two different worlds.

I understand all the angst and drama that surfaced for Belle who lost her beloved husband in a small plane crash two years before this story starts. What I can't understand is the immediate conclusion that this man who shared her heart and life was unfaithful since, when the plane was found, there was also found the body of a woman passenger. I could construct a number of other reasons that would have been plausible. My sympathy while reading the novel was for Knox, and for him to be vindicated. But Knox was dead, and I had to deal with his wife and two kids, and Sophie, the daughter of the dead woman in the plane.

I must say that I think PCH's writing is getting stronger, better defined and more evocative. I'm just not so crazy about some of the characters/stories she creates. I also don't think the occasional secret regarding the past is necessarily a bad thing. It's not everyone's style, but for some people, it's probably better not to let the nightmares out of the closet, or the stuff out of the box. Not all boxes are like Pandora's, with hope at the bottom.

spoiler alert: Do not read beyond this if you don't want a moderate spoiler.

Stop! Spoiler ahead!

I really disliked the treatment of Hurricane Hugo in Sophie's telling of her mom's tale. I lived through that storm, and remember the gratitude that a storm that big was not the killer it could have been here in Charleston. To throw away a life, even fictitiously as an escape from an abusive marriage really irked me.
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Reading Progress

02/04/2011 page 160
42.0% "Husband goes missing in small-plane crash. Years later when body is found, there appears to have been a woman in the plane with him. Why does everyone assume he'd been unfaithful? I can think of a bunch of other reasons she was there."

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