Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Language of Secrets

The weather here has been so rainy and dreary for the last week! We had just gorgeous weather the last couple of weeks of May, it gave a false promise of a beautiful summer filled with sunny days. Instead it's either raining or threatening to rain. Tomorrow Mia starts her soccer class. It will be good for her to spend time with kids her own age and get out of the house every day again. She's had a bit of cabin fever the last week. I'm looking forward to it as well. The van isn't fixed yet, but my in-laws are loaning me their truck until it is, so I can at least run my own errands and get her to soccer. Here's hoping this week is a good one.

The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon is a poignant and haunting look into the devastation caused by the secrets we keep. Justin Fisher has just begun a wonderful new life with his wife Amy and new son Zack in their new home in California. Returning to his home state after fifteen years away, he decides to finally visit his parents, but finds that their home has been sold, and his father's new address is a convalescent home. Following the clues, he soon discovers that his father recently died, his mother died two years ago, and when he goes to visit their graves, he finds one with his own name on it with a death date of thirty years ago. The shock sends Justin on a quest to learn why his sister refused to talk to him when he went to her home, why he answers to the name TJ, and who is the red-haired woman he remembers as his mother. But the answers about his past may just destroy his future. Dixon has created an interesting study on how one small act can have major repercussions. The story flips between Justin's present and his mother's past as the author puts together this tragic story. Every character feels completely lost, as though floundering through life trying to find some significance and purpose. Justin doesn't quite know who he is, Amy needs to escape her father's grasp, Caroline wants to reclaim the beautiful girl she used to be, and Robert just wants to hold on to his wife who he always knew was too good for him. Dixon touches on several themes: Caroline's lack of power after becoming pregnant in the 1960s and feeling forced to marry the father, leaving her without any way to support herself or her dreams; Justin's desire to clean the slate, even if it means doing the wrong thing for the right reason. The story is completely haunted by Robert's anger and need for revenge on his wife. His love for her is fueled with an anger that will ultimately destroy all that he desires. It's a terribly sad story, but Dixon has a knack for dealing compassionately with unsympathetic characters and exposing their humanness. It's a novel that will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.

Thank you to Goldberg McDuffie Communications for providing me with a copy of this book for review.