FAMILY SECRETS by Nancy Thayer


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 Thayer's back in form here with a story about mothers and daughters that will remind fans of her earlier, much-admired Three Women at the Water's Edge (1981)--except that, this time, there's less contemplation by the edge of the water. The three women featured here are characters who tend to dive right in. Diane Russell, a successful jewelry designer, is swept into the classic middle-ager's dilemma when she confronts worries about both her daughter, Julia, and her mother, Jean. Julia has apparently run off from boarding school with the intention of marrying her college-student boyfriend; and Jean, on her own traveling around Europe, is being sought by a handsome FBI agent wanting to question her about a long-ago intrigue. As the threads of these separate events unwind, we follow Julia into the new life she's desperate to forge with boyfriend Sam, and we catch up with Jean, contentedly alone in Paris, reminiscing about the very circumstances--a past romance with a mysterious man--that now interest the FBI. What becomes apparent is that Julia and Jean are doing fine and that it's Diane--responsible Diane, at home, worrying--whose ordered life is most in danger of unraveling. Thayer shows her stuff here with strong, compelling characters and a swift emotional current that tugs us along. If the plot seems a trifle overcomposed--the FBI bit, in particular, strikes a false note--the novel, as a whole, still hums. A strong performance and a welcome reprise for Thayer's original audience. (First printing of 50,000)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-670-84439-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993


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