- The Book of Secrets
- Elizabeth Joy Arnold
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (July 2, 2013)
I received an advanced copy of this book from Amazon Vine in return for an honest review.
"The Book of Secrets is a complex novel that tells a story in the present, as it simultaneously recounts the known past and uncovers past secrets. It is narrated by Chloe Sinclair, a bibliophile and bookstore owner. She and Nate have been married over twenty years, and have begun to drift apart. One evening, Nate is gone, leaving only a letter telling her that he has gone back to their childhood home to deal with a family crisis. Chloe is hurt at his departure, at his secretiveness and at his willingness to return to a place that holds emotional scars for them both. She then finds Nate's secret book, a journal he has kept in code. As she begins to decode it, both she and reader return to the past, face the future and find answers to secrets.
Arnold very skillfully allows the reader only glimpses of events that were so pivotal in shaping Nate, Chloe and their relationship. She allows the reader to guess, to anticipate and to be surprised. Her prose is beautiful and descriptive, drawing both people and places in vivid pictures.
In addition, Arnold celebrates words and literature with the Book of Secrets. She weaves various classics as integral parts to the story throughout, and the joy of words, especially the right words, as another recurring theme. With this novel, Arnold gives, not only a love story of people, but of people for books.
The Book of Secrets is an absorbing novel of love, loss, betrayal, deception and books. It is also one that is certain to appeal to fellow bibliophiles."
On a personal note, despite it's size of over 400 pages, I read this in two nights. It was quite engrossing and I would certainly recommend it. Yes, there were bits that I didn't like, but were overshadow by the overall quality of the rest of the book.