SECRECY by Belva Plain

SECRECY

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Plain returns, this time with the story of a young rape victim struggling to overcome obstacles to intimacy and true love. There's also a clammy subplot having to do with a missing person and the infiltration by the mob of an industrial site belonging to an old New England family. Charlotte Dawes is raped at 14 by her cousin-by-marriage, the randy Ted, son of her uncle Cliff's new wife, Claudia, whose first husband was shot in--where else?--Chicago. When Charlotte becomes pregnant, then, her father and her romantic adventuress mother are wild with rage. Both are beside their daughter's bedside as she recovers from an operation for a ruptured tubal pregnancy. In the meantime, Ted continues to assault women and is finally arrested and indicted for rape and kidnapping. Home on bail, he escapes in the night. (Reports from abroad of Ted-sightings occur now and then.) Skip to Manhattan eight years later, where adult Charlotte works for an architectural firm. She loves her work but despairs of forming a firm relationship with a man, sex-shy as she is. She designs for her own pleasure a ``public square'' fit for the Dawes's now shuttered mill. Unfortunately, her family has inadvertently leased the mill to a polluting waste-disposal firm, to the anger of the town and the despair of the Daweses. Then Charlotte meets the dashing Roger Heywood, whose family deals in commercial real estate. Roger is not only able to come up with the ready cash to finance Charlotte's project, but (of course) coaxes her out of her trauma-related fear of sex. Finally, Claudia, trading on her late husband's mob connections, talks a boss out of retaining the mill. Looks like smooth sailing for the lovers, but disaster threatens again in the form of a flood and a potential terrible discovery. Plain Plain (Promises, 1986, etc.), but nonetheless name- anointed for success. (Literary Guild main selection; author tour)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-31686-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997




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