By Deb Caletti
Publisher: Random House/Bantam Dell
Publication Date: 7/7/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
A special thank you to Random House/Bantam and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS by Deb Caletti, is a quirky novel of women gathering at their aunt’s Nevada divorce ranch, a place where high society women gathered in the 1950s to obtain their quickie divorce, from the men they so longed to be rid of.
“Longed for him. Got him. Shit.“– Margaret Atwood, Six Word Story
Told from Nash (past) and Callie (present) voices in alternating chapters we hear from aunt and niece. When Callie finds a mysterious woman’s phone number in her husband’s possession, she thinks he is having an affair.
All sorts of family drama: Empty nesters: Thomas and Callie. Shay, Callie’s sister also family issues. And the aunt, Nash manages the divorce ranch. Nash of course is acting weird and secretive.
Callie, travels to Tamarosa Ranch to visit Nash, her elderly aunt-she has some big secrets from back in the 40s-50’s on the divorce ranch and her sister Shay joins them. Now the three women begin their journey of present day trials of love and marriage; with loves, losses, and some mysteries of the past with the ranch’s scandalous history. I enjoyed the past, more so than the present--as always find the secrets of the older generation more intriguing.
The two sisters, stroll down memory lane, they recall this familiar place and now it seems to have gone downhill. You know how you recall something from your youth and you return and it is not how you remember? In addition, their aunt is acting odd, and is hoarding all this stuff from the fifties and is very secretive about it.
The negatives: The books starts out with too much in your face all at once making my head spin, with confusion and frustration, while putting it down more than once, with a rather impatient feeling. Would have preferred a slower introduction of characters with a good backstory and easing into the drama filled lives. I tend to agree with some of the other reviewers: it is too tedious a read. Not really my type of book.
The positives: Some nice quotes, humor, and liked the Aunt Nash, eighty years old and her past, managing the divorce ranch where women would come to stay for weeks to establish residency and then their quickie divorce. There are beautiful scenes with the landscape and horses. Some good relationship dynamics; however, could not get past the overall pacing, and the fast introduction of too many characters to quickly, distracting from the root of the story buried underneath.
This was my second adult book by Deb Caletti, having read HE’S GONE, quite some time ago, and enjoyed the author’s writing style.