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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Secret Keeper

For a while I was getting overwhelmed with books for review so I stopped accepting any new ones. But when I saw this book over at TLC Book Tours and knew I had to read it so I requested a copy right away. And I am SO glad I did ...

The Secret Keeper
by Paul Harris
318 pages

"The Secret Keeper, set in war-torn Sierra Leone, tells the story of one man’s search for the truth in a nation where the rules of civilized society simply don’t apply."

After reading that sentence I knew I had to read this book.

*** The Plot ***

Danny is a British journalist whose life has never been the same since his trip to Sierra Leone four years ago. His time in that war-torn country, meeting Maria, the woman of his dreams, and seeing the brutality of a war fought using children, changed him. Back in England Danny is on auto-pilot, ghosting through his own life. When he receives a letter from Maria asking for his help he begins to come back to life. Unfortunately, it is too late for Maria - she is already dead. Danny goes back to Sierra Leone anyway, hoping to find out what really happened to her. But things are not as they were four years before. Peace has come to the country, and with it a whole host of new secrets ...

*** What It Is Really About ***

The central theme of this book is the idea of right and wrong and whether or not the line between them can ever be blurred. Do circumstances determine morality or is it always as simple as black and white?

This is a heavy but completely relevant topic and Harris does an excellent job with it in this book. It is obviously an issue he has struggled with personally, as you'll see in the interview with him that I'm posting tomorrow.

*** My Thoughts ***

This is an amazing book. Once I picked it up I could not put it down. The characters, the writing, the pace - all of it worked for me. I will definitely be looking for future books by Paul Harris.

As one reviewer pointed out, this book brings social issues to the forefront without being preachy. For me, it is similar to the way historical fiction teaches you about history while still drawing you into the story. THE SECRET KEEPER makes you think. What would YOU do in Danny's situation?

Before reading this book I had just read LITTLE BEE and listened to MR. PIP. Both of those books related to this one in so many ways. Don't you love when your reading converges like that?

Oh, and I highly recommend this book.

*** Other Reviews ***

This book has been getting a lot of attention lately, and deservedly so. Here are a few reviews that you may want to check out.
If you've reviewed this as well post your link in the comments and I'll add it here.


bermudaonion said...

I have this book on my wish list.

Jess said...

This sounds like a great read, it definitely needs to go on the TBR list.

lisamm said...

Great review, Heather! I'm so happy you liked the book and really appreciate all the time and effort that went into your review. Thanks, too, for all the links at the end, that is really helpful.

SuziQoregon said...

It's on the hold shelf at the library for me right now. I'm not going to pick it up until I finish the current library book I'm reading. I need to maximize my time with it since I know I won't be able to renew it. That means I'll be reading it within the next 2 weeks. I'm really looking forward to it.

Diane said...

This sounds good! Thanks for the post!

Heather J. said...

bermudaonion - Hope you enjoy it!

Jess - Yea! A convert!

lisamm - Thanks for the opportunity - this was a great book and deserves lots of attention.

SuziQoregon - I know how that feels - gotta make sure there is enough time to finish it before it is due! Please come back and let me know what you thought of it once you finish reading.

Diane - Glad you enjoyed it.

Amy said...

I didn't think the language was too bad either. lol at short and to the point! No matter how wordy I try to get, I just can't! Aargh. ;)

I'm so glad you enjoyed this, I really really liked this one.

Heather J. said...

Thanks Amy!

violetcrush said...

I've read so many good reviews of this book. Glad you liked it too Heather. It's already on my wishlist and your review makes me want to read it even more.

Heather J. said...

violetcrush - It is a great book, I do hope you read it.

Literary Feline said...

This really was a good one, wasn't it? I couldn't resist saying yes to this one either. :-)

Heather J. said...

Literary Feline - I'm glad you agree! :)

Serena said...

I'll be posting my review for this well-written novel tomorrow. This is a debut novel...I cannot believe it.

Heather J. said...

Serena - I'll be heading over to see what you have to say about it. :)

Serena said...

I really loved this novel. I don't think there is anything else to say but WOW.

I've added a link to your review in my post.

Heather J. said...

Serena - Thanks, I'm off to read your review right now.

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