By Deb Caletti
Publisher: Random House/Bantam Dell
Publication Date: 7/7/2015
My Rating: 3 Stars
From bestselling author Deb Caletti comes a beautiful and profound novel of three women coming to terms with love and marriage—sure to move and delight fans of Kristin Hannah, Liane Moriarty, and Anna Quindlen.
“You don't grow up on a divorce ranch and not learn to take a vow seriously.”
When Callie McBride finds a woman's phone number written on a scrap of paper her husband has thrown away, she thinks that her marriage is over. Callie flees to Nevada and her Aunt Nash's Tamarosa Ranch, where she's shocked to see that the place of so many happy childhood memories is in disrepair. Worse, Aunt Nash is acting bizarrely—hoarding stack
s of old photographs, burying a book in the yard, and railing against Kit Covey, a handsome government park ranger who piques Callie's interest.
But Aunt Nash may prove to be saner than she seems once Callie pulls back the curtain on Tamarosa's heyday—the 1940s and '50s, when high-society and Hollywood women ventured to the ranch for quickie divorces and found a unique sisterhood—and uncovers a secret promise Nash made to her true love. Callie will come to see is that no life is ever ordinary. No story of love is, either.
About the Author
Deb Caletti is an award-winning author and National Book Award finalist.
Her many books for young adults include The Nature of Jade, Stay, The Last Forever, and Honey, Baby Sweetheart, winner of the Washington State Book award, the PNBA Best Book Award, and a finalist for the California Young Reader Medal and the PEN USA Award.
Her first book for adults, He’s Gone, was released from Random House in April of 2013, and will be followed withThe Divorce Ranch in 2015. With the staggering commercial success of HE’S GONE following the award winning success of her three Young Adult novels, Deb Caletti has proven to be a gifted and diverse novelist. Her latest novel, THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS, by Random House-Ballantine, on sale July 7, 2015.
A special thank you to Random House, Bantam Dell 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. Nash’s two nieces, Callie and Shaye, are sent by their mother (Nash’s sister, Gloria) to assess the situation. Neither sister realizes that their mother asked both of them to help, so they are initially quite surprised to see one another at Tamarosa Ranch. Now the three women begin their journey of present day trials of love, betrayal, and marriage; with loves, losses, and some mysteries of the past with the ranch’s scandalous history. Ranch guests were given relaxing day trips to Lake Tahoe and exciting night trips to Reno’s casinos. I am not a fan of casinos or ranches; however, enjoyed the Nash's 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 between family; 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. In the end, Tamarosa Ranch ends up, once again being a healing and transitional spot for women with emotional and marital problems, leaving them better equipped to handle their futures. 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.