I recently had the opportunity to read the manuscript for a re-write on an existing novel – naturally I jumped at the chance! I contaced the publisher, Book-Hub, Inc. and offered to do a review of anything they sent me, after some back and forth, Family Secerets by Candice Kohl found its way to my email – like any book once I got through the initial few chapters and the story took off I was hooked! Literally, I stayed up way past my normal bedtime to read on Sunday evening this week and then during my lunch hour on Monday! I just had to get through and find out how the story played out! And, below are my thoughts on the story and my official review!!!
Family Secrets is a very well written story, thoroughly describing the internal struggle of each character, how each wishes for their own desires, dreams and love. Geneva wishes to be seen as an adult, though she is a child, she still clings to some of the innocence of her childhood while reaching for her own adulthood. The path she chooses to take is a twisted one with many turns along the way, but eventually she learns that she needs to show she is also thinking of others while reaching for herself. Part of that is in part to becoming a mother herself, she knows then what Esther was thinking and why she did what she did. Only then does she truly understand the conflict and internal struggle Esther feels every day. The author seems to have a good understanding of the struggles of society and women during the 1920s, how women were affected with needing to maintain a certain image all the while being a wife or lover to their husbands. This struggle being fought internally by Prudence, Esther, and Geneva – each with her own conflicts – Prudence’s need to be a mother while unable to bear children of her own; Esther’s guilt with becoming a teen mother in 1910 and the subsequent death of her first husband; and Geneva’s desires to be her lover’s wife and not just his mistress. The reader can feel their pain and finds a way to latch onto these struggles and root for each woman to come out on top!
I did not care though for the seemingly incestuous relationship of Geneva and her Uncle – while he is just her Uncle by marriage he is her Uncle nonetheless. He is also roughly twenty years older than she is – she being fifteen when their affair begins, he being married to Prudence, Geneva’s Aunt. To me it just seemed entirely wrong and uncomfortable to read about. The selfish way they choose to set-up their lives in the end with Geneva and Brock putting their own spouses’ needs and desires off to the side in order to continue their affair – all living under the same roof for their entire lives, all the while raising a child in this environment. By today’s standards this would not have been acceptable, and in my own mind it truly is not.
This story is one of manipulation, of family, of the ties that bind. It focuses on the Brown – Wakefield – Langtry – Spence family – and the bonds therein when pushed to their thinnest. Secrets and lies surround this family, starting with the Matriarch Maude Tremble-Spence, mother to Esther Brown and Prudence Langtry. To what ends will a mother reach to ensure her life does not end with her being along? To what ends will a daughter go when she finds her life is a farce? What will that same daughter do when her own teen daughter pushes her to the absolute ends of her patience? Another will test the bonds of her marriage when a somewhat innocent houseguest defies the sacred vows of marriage with her husband. This books tells this story, the way the above questions are answered is one in which a seemingly innocent decision turns a family almost inside-out, pushing their bonds to their near thinnest. Once picked-up this book was near impossible to put away. Each page left you craving for more, always curious about what will happen next and how the family resolves the secrets when they surface, and the manipulations when they come to be revealed.
When publication rolls, I completely suggest everyone to read it!!! It’s not a long novel, it’s a very easy read, and appeals to a wide audience!
Happy Reading Everyone!