THE FIFTH SECRET by Joanna Hines


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Nursery owner Jane Baer's life with her oppressively perfect husband Owen and their equally perfect children is already fraying around the edges when Jane gets a call invoking the childhood password (""Urgently Derby"") that sends her racing across England to Berkshire and a rendezvous with Rob Hallam--a glamorous crusader for the homeless whose recent return to his childhood sweetheart, Esme Drummond, has been shattered by an attack that's left Esme near death. Led on by hints from Esme's old diary, Jane plunges back into the past--into the golden time she spent with Owen, Rob, Esme, and her own idolized brother Lucien, dead at 23--in order to make sense of present upheavals--upheavals ranging from the attempted murder of Esme to Owen's dalliance with a conveniently unrepressed neighbor to the histrionic outbursts of Jane's actressy mother, Faith Piper. Eventually, Jane uncovers not only the secret Lucien swore to take to his grave, but enough florid family skeletons to cure her forever of her restlessness with poor, perfect Owen. Hines's first US publication is just the thing for readers who've found Barbara Vine's last few forays into a troubled past a little flat emotionally.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Carroll & Graf