Summary

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal - and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is her wealthy, controlling mother. Instead she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid - Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at 16. He's back on the island, and, to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister. Maisey's convinced that child existed. So where is she now?
©2015 Brenda Novak, Inc. (P)2015 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Susan on 04-12-15

Good mixture of romance and mystery

This is a fairly decent read about a woman recovered from a divorce following the tragic death of her baby. It follows her return to her hometown to “lick her wounds” and face up to her brother who suffers from addiction and had recently attempted suicide, and her mother, who was controlling, demanding, cruel, and had been pretty abusive to her children when they were younger. She meets a contractor - single dad of a young blind girl- working on the family holiday chalets and their attraction is immediate. She had a bit of a history with the contractor but this does not really play a big part in the plot. It’s more about her developing relationships (good and bad) with her brother, her mother and her new romance, while trying to recover from her bereavement and divorce, and put her life back on track. While doing this she find evidence that she may have had an older sister, who seems to have vanished from the family history. The story then follows her research into this and what she uncovers.

I really liked this book but it just felt incomplete. It was like an editor had decided it was too long and so randomly cut huge chunks from the book. I sometimes found myself thinking maybe I had missed a bit. There were many strings of plot left dangling. What happened to her ex-husband who was so determined to win her back? What consequences did the father of the nanny face? How was it possible for the death of a child to be simply wiped from history, in a small town where gossip was a constant? In addition, the whole blackmail plot didn’t make sense because it was based on the idea that a four year old child could be seriously held accountable or responsible for “murder”. The romance, which was lovely, did not have any great angst or drama, but did seem to change overnight from a quick fling to something serious, without much dating, or significant time spent together without other drama happening around them. As the end of the book focused more on the missing sister plot, the romance was actually conducted by text message and phone calls. Including a text message proposal! It did fit into the story quite nicely, but I did feel that something was missing in both the romance and the missing sister plot. There was a lovely epilogue that gave everyone their “happy ever after”, but I couldn’t help thinking that the “mother from hell” had gone unpunished for some pretty awful behaviour.

In summary, this is a book worth listening to, and I would recommend. I just wish the author would take a second look and fill in some of the gaps for me.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By SWV on 21-09-15

Not Novak's Best but Still a Good Story

The beginning was a little slow to start but a couple hours in, I stated to get into the storyline. I really liked Rafe and his daughter. Also, loved the twist near the end. Did not see it coming.

The narrator was good with the female parts but all the men sounded obnoxious and angry (sorry).

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By erobbins33 on 08-06-16

Great story!

Swirling lies, temptations, and family disputes make this a Must-read for anyone looking for "the feels". I've been a lifelong fan of Novak, thanks to my mother's love of paperbacks, and she continues to impress me with her gift of prose. I grew up reading her paperbacks on family camping trips, after finishing my own supply of thrillers and mysteries. Secret Sister is a sordid family tale that ends with such a huge plot twist, I didn't see it coming. I loved the narration! I don't think I've ever heard this narrator before, and it cracks me up that we have a similar last name. I would totally recommend this to my friends and family, and already bought a copy for my mom, who loved it too!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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