Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SECRETS by Katharine Marlowe


by Katharine Marlowe

Pub Date: March 26th, 1992
ISBN: 1-55611-273-4
Publisher: Donald Fine

A woman learns to accept responsibility for herself—in a romantic fantasy that, like Marlowe's Heart's Desire (1991), takes itself too seriously. Critically acclaimed bestselling novelist Emma Bellamy feels insecure—her identity, image, and success all engineered by her controlling husband. (She was a temporary secretary in London, he a visiting American publisher more than twice her age when at first sight he decided to marry her.) Widowed after 17 years, Emma begins to grow, but, still unable to speak up directly, she enters a fugue state and sends off letters firing her condescending agent, telling off her mean-spirited stepchildren, expressing sexual desire for her husband's lawyer, etc. Confronted by the recipients, Emma, not remembering having sent them, believes the letters are forgeries. But who would send them? Why? The lawyer immediately turns out to be Mr. Right, finding it ``nothing short of incredible that he should now be in the process of acquainting himself with every aspect of her anatomy as well as with the many facets of her mind and personality''; upon seeing Emma tapping away at her word- processor, ``his understanding and appreciation of her was greatly enhanced.'' (The reader will find the details of how she formats disks less compelling.) None of this is the least bit credible or well-written, but for a while it's fun—until Emma writes a turgid novel based on her own situation, gaining insight through the process. Froth gone flat under the weight of pretensions.