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by DeLaune Michel

"Now we're just alike." So begins Fiona and Patricia's friendship that warm autumn morning in first grade in Lake Charles, Louisiana, their bond forged ever closer by Fiona's abusive mother and Patricia's neglectful one. Their relationship is a source of continuity and strength through their move to L.A. to become actresses; through Fiona's marriage and Patricia's sudden fame. When husband and career pressures exact a toll, the women wonder if their friendship can survive. Then a dark secret from their past emerges, threatening to destroy not only their bond, but all they've worked for as well.

The Safety of Secrets is a beautifully written exploration of the bonds forged in childhood and challenged decades later, of the fulfillment of dreams and the damage they can cause, and of secrets being uncovered and the truth we find inside.

Download The Safety of Secrets epub
ISBN: 0060817364
ISBN13: 978-0060817367
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Women's Fiction
Author: DeLaune Michel
Language: English
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 27, 2008)
Pages: 320 pages
ePUB size: 1383 kb
FB2 size: 1132 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 468
Other Formats: docx lrf azw lit

In the same vein as Firefly Lane and Beaches, THE SAFETY OF SECRETS is a true to life story of the enduring friendship of two women. It tells how their childhood bond is tested as they mature and their values and loyalties are formed and lives change.

Fiona and Patricia meet in first grade in Louisiana and their family lifestyles are different as Fiona comes from a "normal" family with two parents and a sister, while Patricia is raised by a single mother who has an older son from a previous marriage. Both of the girls' youth is greatly influenced by their mothers with Fiona's mother being abusive, while Patricia's mom neglects her. The girls experience a trauma young in their lives and they agree to keep it a secret for life.

Fiona and Patricia grow up and both pursue acting careers, and they are both successful in their own way. However, Fiona marries and has a baby while having a moderately successful and steady television career compared to Patricia's wild celebrity life filled with all the bells and whistles the paparazzi is crazy for.

The chapters alternate between the past as children and their current lives as adults, and thus the story slowly unfolds little by little until the "secret" that is alluded to finally is revealed. However, the way it happens is what brings us to the climax of the story and forces Fiona and Patricia to face the truth of that secret and the ramifications it has played in their lives for years. Fiona comes to realize how much the secret and her mother intertwined to make her the person she is today. Will Fiona's and Patricia's friendship be able to endure this explosive revelation? How will this affect their current relationships and especially the ones with their mothers?

The Safety of Secrets is relatable and one that will have the reader taking sides and staying glued to the story until the end to find out what the secret is. The reader will want to find out what the secret does to Fiona's and Patricia's adult lives and those they now care about. I found the story to be an interesting, well written, believable tale of two women and their friendship.
Pat and cliché-ridden, "The Safety of Secrets" ostensibly explores the complexity of female relationships within the context of childhood abuse and neglect. Written with all the depth of a made-for-television movie, the novel appropriately focuses on two Louisiana girls who grow up to become big Hollywood stars. Author Deluane Michel never gets past a hackneyed plot and predictable characters as her novel eventually unearths a terrible secret from the girls' past. It's a rare author who can make the themes of childhood trauma and parental neglect unaffecting, but Michel does so. It comes as no surprise that betrayal of secrets, fraying of friendships and cathartic emotional moments all receive ham-handed treatment. If you receive most of your information about the world from "The National Enquirer," Michel's novel should appeal to you. Otherwise, readers interested in a genuinely satisfying treatment of serious themes ought look elsewhere.
Meeting Delaune Michel at her book-signing was like making a new friend. And reading her book, "The Safety of Secrets," was like making another. The story is told in present tense by a first person narrator called Fiona - and no; there is really no other way it could be told. Fiona is the reader's new friend, narrating her life story, just as it happens.

When we first meet, Fiona is just finding out that she's pregnant. Of course, the first person she tells is her best friend. We, the readers, are probably third or fourth on her list, since her husband has to be second. And we have to keep it secret because - well, she'll explain.

The trouble is, the best friend doesn't react quite how Fiona hopes. And while Fiona's telling us this, she's also saying how they met and why they're best friends. In fact, a lot of what Fiona reveals is told while telling something else. It's not confusing; it's just how she is. She gets side-tracked and wanders off in random directions, but she always leads the way back and makes her point before the end of the chapter, and she always sounds real.

I like the way the chapters are self-contained - convenient when I have to stop and walk the dog, cook dinner, or find the shirt that I forgot to wash - and natural, like conversations with a friend. I like the way the focus in each chapter is always something that's just happening, giving the story a real immediacy.

Fiona's an actress who lives and works in Hollywood. It's exciting, and it's a world I'll never know, so I feel awed to have a friend describe it to me. I forgive the tangents and diversions because it's such fun being Fiona's friend. And when I begin to suspect she's not terribly sympathetic - maybe a bit self-centered - when I begin to wonder what she's saying to her friends about me - that's when Delaune so cleverly also lets me recognize Fiona's need, and the way the words and stories are hiding secrets she hasn't yet told.

As a reader, or friend, I start to understand Fiona just as she begins to understand herself. I feel like I know what she's going through, and I want to help her out. But she'll never listen to me I know, so I read on to an end that's satisfying, true to life and true to what the reader wants for her.

I remember Delaune saying she didn't know how the novel would end when she started to write. I believe her. After all, Fiona couldn't possibly have known, and it's Fiona who's telling the tale. Nobody's pulling her strings to make things happen. But she's pregnant, and secrets have a way of forcing their way into the light at such a time.

"The Safety of Secrets" is a very believable book, an enjoyable read, a thought-provoking concept, and a tale of everyday friendship, secrets and courage. I'm glad I read it. And I'm glad I met Fiona (and Delaune).