Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Secrets She Carried by Barbara Davis

4 Star

When a young woman returns to North Carolina after a thirty-year absence, she finds that the once grand tobacco plantation she called home holds more secrets than she ever imagined.

Though Peak Plantation has been in her family for generations, Leslie Nichols can’t wait to rid herself of the farm left to her by her estranged grandmother Maggie—and with it the disturbing memories of her mother’s death, her father’s disgrace, and her unhappy childhood. But Leslie isn’t the only one with a claim to Peak.

Jay Davenport, Peak’s reclusive caretaker, has his own reasons for holding onto the land bequeathed to him by Leslie’s grandmother. Before she died, Maggie hinted at a terrible secret surrounding Adele Laveau, a lady’s maid who came to Peak during the 1930s and died under mysterious circumstances. Jay is haunted by Maggie’s story, yet the truth eludes him—until Leslie uncovers a cryptically marked grave on the property.

As they delve into the mystery of Adele’s death, Leslie and Jay discover shocking secrets that extend deep into the roots of Leslie’s family tree—secrets that have the power to alter her life forever.

Lydia - 4 Star

The Secrets She Carried is filled with mystery, family drama, secrets, and a little bit of romance, and it was a pleasure to read. This novel has many layers and is often thought provoking as it weaves back and forth from a present day story to a historical one.

Who doesn’t love a story about family secrets, particularly dark, forbidden ones? Okay, maybe not everyone, but I seem to be loving this style lately. This cross genre novel blends a contemporary story about a woman returning home to her inherited property in order to prepare to sell it, and the historical story of her family, something Leslie gradually unveils during her preparations and gradual decision to stay at the property for a while.

Although I thought Leslie a little abrasive and harsh at first, I gradually came to like her as she relaxed and became more interested in the property. This was probably just my personal preference. I love history, particularly family history so when she wasn’t interested and just wanted to sell the property, I was a little annoyed. It also irked me that she wasn’t around for her family. But eventually I got over this too, when more of her reasons were revealed. I loved Jay. I’m not sure how you couldn’t. He helped look after Leslie’s grandmother, he loved her property, and even though he had some demons of his own, he was looking out for Leslie, too. 

Although I figured out some parts of the story, there was still plenty that I couldn’t, and the slow reveal was done with perfection. I kept flipping pages to see how events would unfold with Leslie and Jay’s budding romance and with also wanting to know what had happened in the past and how it was related to the present.

Fans of Sarah Jio would appreciate this one, particularly those with an interest in the south.

Thank you to NAL Trade for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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