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Secrets (The Michelli Family Series #1)
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Archived Group Reads 2015 > May Book of the Month - Secrets (The Michelli Family #1) by Kristen Heitzmann

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message 1: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Long-hidden secrets come to light in the shadowed halls of a California villa

Antonia stared out the Studebaker’s rear window as it sped away from her grandfather Quillan’s Sonoma villa, leaving behind the vineyard that had been life to her family — a life now lost….

The old villa needed what Rese Barrett could do as well as any man on the crew. Trained by the best, she had honed her skills with a passion for quality, an eye for detail, and no room for compromise. Renovation was her joy–taking something old and making it new without changing the heart if it. But this time the inn she restored was hers, and this time she worked alone….

The answers were there if he could find them, and the commission from his grandmother Antonia compelled him to do so. Brash and impulsive, Lance Michelli arrived at the inn sure of his quest and sensing his right. After all, it was part of his heritage.

Chef, musician, and spellbinder, Lance talked his way into her plans before she’d even made them and had Rese telling secrets she’d never before revealed. He spoke of faith as if he could touch it, but how much more was left unsaid?

Winner of the Christy Award, presented by the Christian Bookseller Association to honor the best in Christian fiction.

(Summary Info. pulled from her website)


message 2: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
I hope to start this one this weekend! Chime in if you are going to read along & discuss! :)


Chantel (channylee07) | 357 comments I'm intrigued by this book! The goodreads synopsis was short, but that's kinda the reason why I wanted to know more about this book, lol. I'm excited to read it!


message 4: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
I thought it was really short too! So that's why I pulled this info from her website. It won a Christy Award, so I'm even more excited to read it now! :)


Fran | 2 comments I loved this book. Read it at the beginning of the year. 5 stars from me. Enjoy !


Chantel (channylee07) | 357 comments Beth wrote: "I thought it was really short too! So that's why I pulled this info from her website. It won a Christy Award, so I'm even more excited to read it now! :)"

Oh really? Nice. I feel it's going to be a good one.


message 7: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2861 comments Mod
I have this one on my Kindle so will probably try to get it read this month, since I have finished Deceived which I am moderating this month.


message 8: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Gail (lgail) | 2 comments I realized I had this on my Kindle, so I'm excited to finally be reading along with this group. :-) I started the book last night.


message 9: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
I'm about a quarter into and really intrigued! :)


Margaret (njbookluvr) | 5 comments So funny, I hadn't been on here in a while and had no idea this was the book of the month. I really enjoyed the book, well written and great characters!!


message 11: by Beth, Head Librarian (last edited May 05, 2015 10:59AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Glad you liked it, Margaret!

I am loving how Heitzmann writes dialogue!


message 12: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2861 comments Mod
I'll start this one as soon as I finish the last book in Sarah Sundin's Wings of the Nightingale series.


message 13: by Patricia (new) - added it

Patricia | 3 comments This book is being held for me at the library so I'll be reading it this weekend!


message 14: by Hannah (new) - added it

Hannah (bookwormhannah) | 860 comments I have a long time in a waiting room tomorrow, so hopefully can get a start on this...


message 15: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Since it's still early on in the month, I thought I'd start us out with this question - have you read any of Kristen Heitzmann's other novels, and do you have one that you recommend especially?

I have only read The Edge of Recall, and while it was good, I'm liking this one better, at least for now. :)

I really want to read A Rush of Wings and the following two books. Although, depending on how this one ends, I might have to finish this series first!


Sarita | 1179 comments I have only read The Rose Legacy which is Historical fiction and was a great read.

This is my second book from her.


Margaret (njbookluvr) | 5 comments I've read Indivisible and Freefall both of which I enjoyed.


Sarita | 1179 comments Margaret wrote: "I've read Indivisible and Freefall both of which I enjoyed."

I have Freefall in my TBR - looked very interesting.


Margaret (njbookluvr) | 5 comments Sarita wrote: "Margaret wrote: "I've read Indivisible and Freefall both of which I enjoyed."

I have Freefall in my TBR - looked very interesting."


I read it a while ago but I remember it being a great story, lots of twists!


message 20: by Staci, Book Awards Specialist (new)

Staci | 1616 comments Mod
Hello! I've read the three books in Spencer Family Series (Rush of Wings, The Still of the Night and The Breath of Dawn) and really enjoyed them. I plan to start Secrets after I finish my current read.


message 21: by Staci, Book Awards Specialist (new)

Staci | 1616 comments Mod
I got started reading Secrets last night. From page one, I knew I'd read it before. I read 7% and I'm certain I've already read Secrets. With all of the books I'd like to read, I'm not a re reader so will stop now. Not sure if I remember enough to join the discussion. Hope everyone enjoys the book!


message 22: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2861 comments Mod
Staci wrote: "I got started reading Secrets last night. From page one, I knew I'd read it before. I read 7% and I'm certain I've already read Secrets. With all of the books I'd like to read, I'm not a re read..."

That's funny Staci because I had the exact same thing happen! Looked at my Goodreads list and sure enough I had read it 2 or 3 years ago.


message 23: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Vance (sqoosie) | 13 comments I've read this one before, but it was probably more than 10 years ago. Since my residence is in transition, I have a number of books in storage, so I needed to go digital for this one. I haven't started it yet, but should soon


message 24: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Gail (lgail) | 2 comments Just finished! I haven't read any other of her books, although the ones mentioned at the end of this novel sound interesting. I'm sure I'll read more of hers.


Amanda G. Stevens (amandagstevens) | 26 comments I'm a big fan of Kristen Heitzmann but had never read this series before. I finished this one a few days ago and I'm already 200+ pages into the sequel Unforgotten. I LOVE LANCE AND RESE.

And I agree with Beth that Heitzmann writes such great dialogue. One of the reasons I love her.


message 26: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna | 37 comments I loved this book...and it was so nice and long!!! I finished this series, and then started The Rose Legacy series, and realized that it is about Carina and Quillan Shepard, Lance's great-great grandparents!! Antonia's grandparents!! I was sooo excited to learn about them and they were amazing. Kristen Heitzmann is a genius to write a historical fiction series and then a modern-day series about their descendants. Love, Love, Love it!!


message 27: by Beth, Head Librarian (last edited May 12, 2015 04:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Anna, I had no idea!! I have the first book in The Rose Legacy on Kindle, now I'm really excited to read it! :D


Amanda G. Stevens (amandagstevens) | 26 comments Anna wrote: "I loved this book...and it was so nice and long!!! I finished this series, and..."

Anna, I noticed the third book focuses on Sofie as the main character, and I'm very interested in finding out more about her, but I'm also so in love with Rese and Lance that I can't imagine a book that doesn't focus on them. So ... do they still have a big role in Book 3? (I'm going to read it regardless and love it, I'm sure. :)


Amanda G. Stevens (amandagstevens) | 26 comments Beth wrote: "Anna, I had no idea!! I have the first book in The Rose Legacy on Kindle, now I'm really excited to read it! :D"

I did the same thing, Beth! I love Quillan already and can't wait to read his story.


Sarita | 1179 comments Anna wrote: "I loved this book...and it was so nice and long!!! I finished this series, and then started The Rose Legacy series, and realized that it is about Carina and Quillan Shepard, Lance's great-great gra..."

Ah, I have read book 1, Rose legacy but didn't put 2 and 2 together while reading Secrets. Will enjoy finishing both series!


Margaret (njbookluvr) | 5 comments Rose legacy is free for Kindle today http://smile.amazon.com/Rose-Legacy-D...


message 32: by Anna (last edited May 13, 2015 02:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna | 37 comments Amanda wrote: "Anna wrote: "I loved this book...and it was so nice and long!!! I finished this series, and..."

Anna, I noticed the third book focuses on Sofie as the main character, and I'm very interested in fi..."


Don't worry Amanda, Lance and Rese are still big parts of the book! :) While it is a little more focused on Sofie, they still have some dialogue and are a part of what is going with Sofie.


message 33: by Beth, Head Librarian (last edited May 17, 2015 10:21AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Time for some discussion questions! :) These are some I came up with on my own, so forgive me if they aren't up to the standards of typical questions.

1. When you think of the title word, "secrets," what kind of secrets were you expecting to unearth throughout the novel?

2. How did you feel about the combination of Lance's "mission" for his Nonna and Rese's struggles and fears and the situation with her mother? Did the author strike the right balance between both of their story arcs or did one overshadow the other? If so, did that bother you?

3. What do you see happening next for Rese and Lance?

4. Who was your favorite character and why? Least favorite?

5. Do you think Lance was right to withhold the real reason he was there? Should he have told her from the very beginning or just sooner than he did? How do you think Rese would have responded had he told her why he was there from the beginning?

6. Lance told Rese that "sharing a meal is a ritual found in every culture on earth. The breaking of bread signifies connection, acceptance, relationship." Do you agree and why? How do you think partaking of a meal connects to life as a follower of Christ?

7. Toward the end of the novel, Lance says that "God's way" is "total freedom, no decision forced upon an unwilling servant. No walls and traps set out to entangle the disobedient, only the sad consequences of their own wrong choices." Do you think he is right and to what extent? Why or why not?


Margaret (njbookluvr) | 5 comments Answer to Question one. I'm not sure what I was thinking before I started the book but I knew it was some kind of mystery. As it started reading, it was apparent it was going to be family secrets.

Question 2: I thought the two stories paralleled nicely. I didn't find many similarities but the relationship between Lance and Reece provided the crossover that was needed.


Amanda G. Stevens (amandagstevens) | 26 comments 1. I guess that prologue gave me the right idea about what kind of secrets would be in store, plot-wise. The book was the type of book I expected it to be, overall.

2. Because Lance was more able to "do something" with his mission for Nonna, whereas a lot of Rese's struggle was internal in this book, I'm glad that his mission got a bit more page time. It was more layered and there was more the author could do with it from a plot standpoint.

3. I can't answer this one because I have now finished the series. ;)

4. LANCE. I love all the details Heitzmann put into his character--the cooking and the Harley and the earring and the musicianship and the way he mopes a little when his food isn't praised enough (lol). I also love the core she put into him, the impulsive/emotional decision-making (drove me nuts but I loved his passion), his driving desire to do what God asks of him and get things right, the flawed view he has of himself, and the way he always comes back to God in repentance and gratitude that he is forgiven. All this said, I also really love Rese. For so many reasons. And I love that they are so right for each other.

I don't know that I had a least favorite. No one came across to me as over-the-top or unrealistic, so I loved everybody.

5. Given he had reasons to believe the property wasn't actually Rese's, I think he was justified in not telling her everything in the beginning. Especially when their first meeting was so close to hostile; she would have thrown him off the property if he'd told her then. But yes, he should have told her sooner.

6. I do agree and I think it's a "lost art" in current American culture. I love meal-sharing scenes in books/movies where you get to see people come together and connect, or scenes where someone is hungry and someone else offers them food. That care for someone else can be transcendent somehow and full of feeling. And I guess the connection to the Christian life is that Jesus wants to see his church take care of each other and connect in deep ways.

7. I don't remember the context of this one & I'd want to read it again to know for sure I agree with it, but I don't recall anything feeling "off" about the theology in this book & on its own I would say yes, this is true. I believe in free will, and I believe every choice has consequences, especially the choice to reject God.

Great questions, Beth! :)


Sarita | 1179 comments 1. From the prologue and the title "secrets", I expected much more hidden secrets revealed from Nonna Antonia's family past than the bit that was revealed. I expected a bit more suspense with revealing the secrets of Antonia's past.

2. I think the balance was right

3. Hope to see them both grow in their relationship with God and each other. Hope that some more of the family history is revealed (interested to see if they will show what was written in Antonia's diary).

4. Lance - he showed how he felt and the way he treated Rese to get her to open up. His personal struggles with his newly committed faith was also real.

5. I also think he shouldn't have told her from the start due to her high walls around her. But I think as soon as he found evidence that this was his family home and when Rese started to open up to him, he should have told her.

6. Yes, sharing a meal without the distraction of tv etc is important, because then you are 100% focussed on the other person and more open to share. We have some trouble in South Africa with our electricity supplier, which means that a few days a week we don't have power for 2 hours, sometimes over meal time and since it is starting to get winter here, it is dark so it is dinner by candle light. The positive feedback from this is that families now actually talk to each other, more connected and knows what is going on in each other's lives. If you know what is happening with someone, you will be able to be more focused in prayer and other ways to help the person, and through that show God's love for them.

7. Yes I agree. God only gives us grace, life and freedom but it is our choice to want a relationship with him. Times where I totally surrendered situations to him I felt peace and light and free. The enemy however will try to bring us down and unfortunately people made to many rules - you have to go to Church each Sunday, you may not do this, you may not do that and if we fail we are sometimes harder on ourselves due to guilt and condemnation (which is not from God - only forgiveness and freedom).
I also think when we make choices in God's will and obedient to him, you will be more prosperous, but when you make choices that goes against God's will, he is still there and will help you, but the consequence you will have to face and God is a fair God, for example, if you have sex before marriage and become pregnant, God will forgive you and he will help you care for that child, but he will not take the consequence of your choice away.


Amanda G. Stevens (amandagstevens) | 26 comments Sarita wrote: "1. From the prologue and the title "secrets", I expected much more hidden secrets revealed from Nonna Antonia's family past than the bit that was revealed.

Sarita, you find out a LOT more about Antonia's past in the second book. It's my favorite of the three.


Sarita | 1179 comments Amanda wrote: "Sarita wrote: "1. From the prologue and the title "secrets", I expected much more hidden secrets revealed from Nonna Antonia's family past than the bit that was revealed.

Sarita, you find out a LO..."


Oo yeah! Then will have to try to get the rest of the series soon :-)


Sarita | 1179 comments Joy wrote: "I finished the book this morning. I liked it overall but there were times that it seemed to drag. I liked the characters but I didn't like Lance's tendency to force himself on Rese even when she sa..."

Must say, I didn't see Lance's behaviour as forceful. Reading your comments I can see your point. I think reading from my perspective and where I know I can be totally stubborn for no reason, I saw Rese's character more like this and Lance's behaviour as just pushing her out of her comfort zone.

:-)


message 40: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Thanks, everyone, for making this a great discussion! :)


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