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Secret Lives by Diane Chamberlain

Shifting gracefully between Eden's world and Katherine's, Secret Lives seduces with the power of its images and the lyricism of its prose.

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Actress Eden Riley's decision to make a film about her mother plunges her into a shattering confrontation with her own past, irrevocably altering her life and the lives of those she loves. Her mother, Katherine Swift, was a renowned children's author who died when Eden was very young. Now Eden, recovering from a divorce and disillusioned with her glamorous life, returns to the childhood home of the mother she barely knew. She moves in with her uncle, archaeologist Kyle Swift and his wife, Louise.

Eden gets more than she bargained for when Kyle gives her the journal her mother had kept from the age of thirteen until her death. Eden is spellbound by the powerfully written, intimate diary that chronicles a life of hardship, madness and tragedy. But her fascination turns to horror when she discovers the shocking truth about her mother's life.

Eden turns for comfort to Ben Alexander, Kyle's colleague, not knowing that Ben has a secret of his own that could ruin Eden and her career. Now Eden must make a heartbreaking decision as she struggles to lay the ghosts of the past to rest and come to terms with her own future.

Shifting gracefully between Eden's world and Katherine's, Secret Lives seduces with the power of its images and the lyricism of its prose.

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Secret Lives (fiction)
Diane Chamberlain (Author)
customer reviews (Yes)
Print List Price: £2.99
Kindle Price: £2.99 
includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
Text-to-Speech: Enabled

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Reviews from Amazon:
There's a little introduction to this edition stating that the book is no longer in print, but thanks to the invention of downloadable books it's once more available. This shows how cut-throat and competitive the world of publishing is, because this is a beautifully written and highly accomplished story which deserves to be available to a wider audience.

It's written in a format which I always enjoy: a current third person narrative interspersed with a sub-plot written in the first person. All of the main characters keep their secrets and the gradual and sometimes painful revelations are what keep turning the pages. I'd guessed pretty early on a couple of these secrets, but I started to care so much about the characters that I wanted to find out how things would pan out for them. Of course, for one of them, the enigmatic and elusive Kate Swift, we know right from the start that she has died young and follow her daughter's attempts to understand her life and discover what happened. But we want so much for the past to be healed and an optimistic future for all involved.

Along the way, whilst carrying her own demons, Eden Riley meets and falls in love with a man who also has demons of his own. Ultimately, we learn that we are all victims of victims in some way.

The author very bravely - and fairly graphically - touches on the subject of child abuse. It's enough to make you feel deeply uncomfortable, but doesn't go too far.

It's all about a web of human relationships, each person carrying their own burden and intrinsically linking together. The only minor criticism I have is that as fully rounded and empathetic as Kate's character is, I find her unconvincing in the capacity of a successful children's book author. That is only a little niggle and doesn't detract from the story.

The ending ties things together very nicely, is happy and poignant in equal measures and I'm sure will stay with me for a long time.

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