Review

The Book of Secrets

by Elizabeth Joy Arnold

Chloe Sinclair and her husband, Nate, have been together since they were children, having met as eight-year-olds. Chloe is an only child in a one-parent family, while Nate has two sisters. His father is a minister, and his mother stays at home. Following the death of his mother when he is only 17, Nate’s family falls apart. There was much familial strife and discord before her passing, but it gets much worse following such a heartbreaking loss.

THE BOOK OF SECRETS opens when Nate leaves Chloe without any explanation after being together for many years. They have suffered the death of their son, Gabriel, but seemed to make it through that tragedy intact. However, both were harboring feelings of anger, pain, loneliness, guilt and resentment that they didn’t share with the other. Over the years, since Gabriel’s death, their marriage has been slowly eroding.

"Elizabeth Joy Arnold weaves words seamlessly together to create a rich tapestry of insight into the human conditions of love, marriage and life. Do yourself a favor and read this book; you won’t regret it."

When Nate leaves, not only does Chloe have to determine where he is, she also must figure out why he left and if there’s any reason for him to come back. In doing so, she finds clues to the past that Nate hid from her, causing her to relive painful memories and dig at the truth.

Nate indeed is hiding a secret. Chloe finds the first clue inside a book he had hollowed out for a hiding spot. She tells Nate’s sister, Cecilia, “Hidden inside this book he’d made into a shell, and that’s so symbolic of the way he’s always been with me, hidden and pretending to be something else.” Cecilia responds, “Isn’t that always the way with secrets? You’re not going to let yourself share them openly but in the end they’re too big for just you, so subconsciously you’re wishing they’d be discovered.”

There are so many layers to THE BOOK OF SECRETS. It’s the story of a marriage that’s eroding and what occurred in the past that must be dealt with in the present. It’s also a story about the power of secrets, words, religious beliefs and perspectives, and how each person perceives an event differently. As Chloe says, “We’d all lived the same story from different angles, and like any story, what one took from it reflected the perspective of one’s past.”

Elizabeth Joy Arnold weaves words seamlessly together to create a rich tapestry of insight into the human conditions of love, marriage and life. Do yourself a favor and read this book; you won’t regret it.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on August 9, 2013

The Book of Secrets
by Elizabeth Joy Arnold

  • Publication Date: July 2, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam
  • ISBN-10: 055359253X
  • ISBN-13: 9780553592535