“There,” says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality of that short utterance, feels his faith in God slipping away and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about . . . angels.
Heather survived a childhood that culminated in her own parents’ murder-suicide, so she identifies deeply with Alice’s daughter, Katie, offering herself as a mentor to the girl and a shoulder for Stephen – who flees the pulpit to be with Heather and see if there is anything to be salvaged from the spiritual wreckage around him.
But then the State’s Attorney begins to suspect that Alice’s husband may not have killed himself. . .and finds out that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.
Secrets of Eden is both a haunting literary thriller and a deeply evocative testament to the inner complexities that mark all of our lives. Once again Chris Bohjalian has given us a riveting page-turner in which nothing is precisely what it seems. As one character remarks, “Believe no one. Trust no one. Assume all of our stories are suspect.” – Publishers Website
I loved this novel from Chris. Years ago, I fell in love with his earlier work Midwives, and just had to read some of his other works of fiction. I loved how he intertwined the story plots, the characters, as well as you never quite knew who would have killed Heather’s husband after he killed herself. Haunting, evocative, it brings the issue of spousal abuse to the forefront to where we absolutely need more dialogue about this topic, and more ways to combat the issue head on, before it is too late. Not for the faint of heart.
The trade paperback has just been released, I highly recommend you go out and get this one. Chris is also doing a tour in the US.