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  • The Secret Sister

  • By: Brenda Novak
  • Narrated by: Carly Robins
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal - and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is her wealthy, controlling mother. Instead she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid - Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at 16. He's back on the island, and, to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister. Maisey's convinced that child existed. So where is she now?

©2015 Brenda Novak, Inc. (P)2015 Tantor

What listeners say about The Secret Sister

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good mixture of romance and mystery

This is a fairly decent read about a woman recovered from a divorce following the tragic death of her baby. It follows her return to her hometown to “lick her wounds” and face up to her brother who suffers from addiction and had recently attempted suicide, and her mother, who was controlling, demanding, cruel, and had been pretty abusive to her children when they were younger. She meets a contractor - single dad of a young blind girl- working on the family holiday chalets and their attraction is immediate. She had a bit of a history with the contractor but this does not really play a big part in the plot. It’s more about her developing relationships (good and bad) with her brother, her mother and her new romance, while trying to recover from her bereavement and divorce, and put her life back on track. While doing this she find evidence that she may have had an older sister, who seems to have vanished from the family history. The story then follows her research into this and what she uncovers.

I really liked this book but it just felt incomplete. It was like an editor had decided it was too long and so randomly cut huge chunks from the book. I sometimes found myself thinking maybe I had missed a bit. There were many strings of plot left dangling. What happened to her ex-husband who was so determined to win her back? What consequences did the father of the nanny face? How was it possible for the death of a child to be simply wiped from history, in a small town where gossip was a constant? In addition, the whole blackmail plot didn’t make sense because it was based on the idea that a four year old child could be seriously held accountable or responsible for “murder”. The romance, which was lovely, did not have any great angst or drama, but did seem to change overnight from a quick fling to something serious, without much dating, or significant time spent together without other drama happening around them. As the end of the book focused more on the missing sister plot, the romance was actually conducted by text message and phone calls. Including a text message proposal! It did fit into the story quite nicely, but I did feel that something was missing in both the romance and the missing sister plot. There was a lovely epilogue that gave everyone their “happy ever after”, but I couldn’t help thinking that the “mother from hell” had gone unpunished for some pretty awful behaviour.

In summary, this is a book worth listening to, and I would recommend. I just wish the author would take a second look and fill in some of the gaps for me.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Barbara
  • Barbara
  • 08-02-18

GROW UP

Ok I have not finished this book , but I gotta say it. WTF? I don’t want to sound bigoted, but what’s with the white woman in peril theme! This is the
3rd or 4th book where the woman is
helpless and need the protection of the big strong man. She’s been cheated on and fallen apart. I get the pain of being betrayed and a divorce . The lost of a child has to be devastating. At some point you have to work thru the trauma and get on with life not fall apart. I’ve heard loosing a child puts excess stress on a marriage, no need to contribute to that by losing interest in an intimate relationship with your spouse.
Keith is a man baby. At 36 he’s dependent on mama and struggling with a drug habit.
Both Maisey and Keith both need to grow up.
So I’m slogging thru. The story has it’s moments. The mystery of the missing daughter is intriguing. That’s why I’m still listening.
I don’t want to trash an author’s hard work, but. I believe a story should be relatable to most readers. I know book are written toward a certain demographic of readers. However in 2018 the “little woman “ scenario don’t fit. I guess I’m a realist at 60 I’ve grown up with a mother teaching me I ‘m the most dependable person I know depend on myself. So I don’t get the I’m the pretty little princess needing the knight in shining armor to rescue me. Yeah bad stuff happen that can be so overwhelming you want to give up. ( losing a child) A man cheating on you and wanting a divorce!! No. Put on your big girl panty get help from support group, councilor whatever , (no shame )but move on. I guess growing up black in America has given me a different perspective, however I’m sure their are women who are white , Hispanic, Asian or foreign born who can’t relate either.
I know book are an escape for many from everyday life but at least make it relatable.
Now that I’ve vented about the last 5 books I’ve read with this theme , I’ll say this book dose hold promise of keeping my attention.
Good read to all

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • whatcha.listening.to
  • 29-01-18

4 The Secret Sister Stars

You know what, I don’t know what I was expecting but I can tell you that wasn’t it.
In a good way, this book took me by surprise. I love a small town feeling kind of book. And though this book was a little like that, it didn’t have the cast of characters you expect from a book like that.

This was more an hmm and what and huh, kind of feel. And there were some sad things too.

I think who stole the show for me was Rafe and his little girl. He was himself no matter who was around he didn’t care what others thought. And he was amazing as a father. I loved that he was just himself.

Maisey comes back to Fairham to regroup and put her life back to straights only she has to deal with some pretty big issues, family and family in any form can be challenging. But when your sole is broken dealing with her family isn’t always easy.
This is a romance of sorts but I felt it was more a mystery than a suspense.

I liked the story, the characters and how well it was written though I do we she had gotten an epilogue something like a life update from all that had happened. I think that would have left me feeling like this story was whole.

The narration was really well done, I enjoyed Carly’s performances she didn’t try too hard and she had some great tones for some of the character’s.

*You don't have to like my review but its 100% my opinion, and I am allowed to have it.*

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for SWV
  • SWV
  • 21-09-15

Not Novak's Best but Still a Good Story

The beginning was a little slow to start but a couple hours in, I stated to get into the storyline. I really liked Rafe and his daughter. Also, loved the twist near the end. Did not see it coming.

The narrator was good with the female parts but all the men sounded obnoxious and angry (sorry).

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • erobbins33
  • 08-06-16

Great story!

Swirling lies, temptations, and family disputes make this a Must-read for anyone looking for "the feels". I've been a lifelong fan of Novak, thanks to my mother's love of paperbacks, and she continues to impress me with her gift of prose. I grew up reading her paperbacks on family camping trips, after finishing my own supply of thrillers and mysteries. Secret Sister is a sordid family tale that ends with such a huge plot twist, I didn't see it coming. I loved the narration! I don't think I've ever heard this narrator before, and it cracks me up that we have a similar last name. I would totally recommend this to my friends and family, and already bought a copy for my mom, who loved it too!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Leigh
  • 25-09-19

took 5 hours to get to the part about the sister

the title was what peaked my interest, so to have to wait so long (literally half the book) for even the idea of her to come into existence made me lose interest several times, leading to long breaks from the book. but i did love the plot, so gave it 5 stars overall. 4 stars for performance because the narrator is terrible at doing male voices.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-08-21

Narrator - not so great!!

While the story was a little slow starting - it definitely turned out to be a GREAT book! Great story! BUT!!! The narrating was really annoying! Like finger nails on a chalkboard!! The mother- Josephine ESPECIALLY!! Ugh. Overkill to say the least! But if you can get past this - it’s a worthy read. Enjoy! Marianne

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle Giansiracusa
  • 20-04-21

Great story

I love this story. The narrator did a great job ...the overall and performance was awesome as well.. I got this book at home also but wanted to hear it in audio while I’m working ❤️

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for LAURA S.
  • LAURA S.
  • 04-02-21

Good book struggles a bit with narrator

I enjoyed the book; good story. The narrator was fine on the main character but the harshness of her voice on many of the other characters went straight through me.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Patricia Johnson
  • Patricia Johnson
  • 24-11-20

The narrator tries to add too much excitement

terrible narration. story is okay very predictable. feels like many areas could have been more developed.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lynda
  • Lynda
  • 19-10-20

I totally didn't see this coming

Talk about a storyline that continues to keep you riveted and on the edge of your seat. Gripping!