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Secrets of Eden

by Chris Bohjalian

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0268615,212 (3.42)70
After the murder of Alice Hayward and the suicide of her husband, Reverend Stephen Drew flees the pulpit and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about angels. Heather, identifying deeply with Alice's daughter, Katie, mentors the young girl but soon suspects that Alice's husband may not have killed himself ... and that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
15-year-old Katie Hayward, who has grown up and become used to her father's drunken rages against her mother, one day awakens to the news that her parents are the victims of an apparent murder-suicide. After further investigation reveals that her father's death may not have been a suicide, the minister of her mother's church, Rev. Stephen Drew, becomes a primary suspect. Was it truly a suicide, was Rev. Drew a murderer, or was someone else responsible?

I've read quite a few of Bohjalian's novels now, all very different from one another. Some I've felt are excellent, others somewhat disappointing, and others, like this one, somewhere in the middle. For the most part I enjoyed this novel. Told from the point of view of 4 main characters (the reverend, the prosecutor, an author, & daughter Katie), each brought something fresh and unique to the story. I had just two problems with this one. One, the whole "angels" theme didn't really seem to add a lot to the story and I found it distracting and mostly irrelevant. Second, though I vacillated a little bit with the actual "whodunnit", I was correct with my original assumption, so it didn't surprise me as much as it could've. But overall a good story. Not my favorite of Bohjalian's, but also certainly not my least favorite. ( )
  indygo88 | Sep 15, 2021 |
After the murder of Alice Hayward and the suicide of her husband, Reverend Stephen Drew flees the pulpit and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about angels. Heather, identifying deeply with Alice's daughter, Katie, mentors the young girl but soon suspects that Alice's husband may not have killed himself ... and that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.

My review: Since I am writing this review long after reading the book and I barely remember reading it at all, it probably didn't stand out for me. In general, I like Chris Bohjalian's work, but this was probably not his best. ( )
  lrobe190 | Sep 5, 2021 |
Read over halfway and just couldn't invest any more time into it. Yawnsville. ( )
  Tosta | Jul 5, 2021 |
As usual, I loved this book. I think Bohjalian could write about any topic, no matter how controversial or uncomfortable, and still make me feel at peace reading about it. Make no mistake, this is a very sad and dark story, but he writes his characters in such a tender way that I don't feel manipulated or as if I'm gawking at a car wreck. They feel like authentic characters and their actions feel true to the intent of the story, even if things aren't wrapped in a perfect package. I also think Bohjalian can write female characters in such a believable way that I initially thought he was a woman. The story itself is more of an exploration of grief and loss of faith. I always appreciate that he reveals important details at the end but not as a shocking twist; it feels very organic and natural. I was sad reading this story but am glad that I read it. ( )
  JustZelma | Dec 20, 2020 |
I did not like the set up of the novel with each section and piece of the story told by a different character and a different POV. But the ending rocked! ( )
  LoisSusan | Dec 10, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Fans of Bohjalian's 11 other novels (including Midwives) know to expect the unexpected and, thanks to his creativity and cunning, readers usually get walloped by one heck of a plot twist by book's end.

In Secrets of Eden, the old saw that none of us knows what really goes on in a house when the shades are drawn rings chillingly true.
added by Shortride | editUSA Today, Carol Memmott (Feb 4, 2010)
 
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Epigraph
But for sorrow there is no remedy provided by nature; it is often occasioned by accidents irreparable, and dwells upon objects that have lost or changed their existence; it requires what it cannot hope, that the laws of the universe should be repealed; that the dead should return, or the past should be recalled.
-- Samuel Johnson
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
- - Genesis 2:24-25
Dedication
For David Reed Wood and, once more, for Victoria
First words
As a minister I rarely found the entirety of a Sunday service depressing.
Quotations
I tried to remind myself that hostility invariably boomerangs back. In the end we wound ourselves, too, when we lash out.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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After the murder of Alice Hayward and the suicide of her husband, Reverend Stephen Drew flees the pulpit and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about angels. Heather, identifying deeply with Alice's daughter, Katie, mentors the young girl but soon suspects that Alice's husband may not have killed himself ... and that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.

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From the bestselling author of The Double Bind, Midwives, and Skeletons at the Feast comes a novel of shattered faith, intimate secrets, and the delicate nature of sacrifice.
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Chris Bohjalian is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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