Y’all. I read a novel with a male narrator and the world didn’t end!!! Ok, ok…I’ve read plenty of books with male narrators before but if you’ve read this post or this one, you’ll know I typically gravitate toward a female voice…especially in fiction.
A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay caught my eye at my local library as a quick, fun read mainly because I remember enjoying Sarah’s Key when I read it several years ago. This one seemed to have a similar plot-driven-by-a-family-secret vibe. Here’s a synopsis —
Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island , where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island―over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased. But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.
Trapped in the wake of a family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children. How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself? Suddenly fragile on all fronts – as a son, a husband, a brother and a father – Antoine Rey will soon learn the shocking truth about his family and himself.
If you’ve enjoyed Mrs. de Rosnay’s previous work, I would definitely recommend giving this one a read as well. If you’re unfamiliar but love psychological fiction, like Gone Girl or A Girl on the Train, then I think you’ll enjoy A Secret Kept. While it’s less of a thriller than those I mentioned, you’ll still find yourself feverishly turning pages as you attempt to get to the bottom of things. Similarly, if you have a soft spot for pulpy family drama books this will give you your fix. (My middle school years were spent devouring V.C. Andrews books…so I’m kind of an expert on such things. No one did family drama like good ol’ V.C.) But it’s French and written by a New York Times bestselling author so it’s FANCY!
Speaking of French…I felt totally transported to France while reading. De Rosnay was raised in Paris and then Boston. She moved to England in the 80’s to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and currently lives in Paris again. Meaning, she knows her stuff when it comes to writing about life in France and creating super realistic French characters and settings. Back when Netflix first started streaming, I went through a phase where I watched a ton of French romantic dramedies from the 90’s and early 00’s. So, I was well impressed with how easy it was to imagine this book’s plot and characters existing in that realm. Yes, I am using a Netflix binge as a barometer for realistic French-ness. Whatta ya gonna do?
I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to folks looking for a beach read as the temperature starts to rise!
Have you read A Secret Kept? What did you think?