"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate

Please note: Links pointing to Amazon contain my affiliate ID. Sales resulting from clicks on those links will earn me a percentage of the purchase price. So buy and read now!

Summary: Just before her father dies, Rebecca finds out he has fathered a child and abandoned her long ago. Rebecca finds her long-lost sister. 

About to marry her long-time boyfriend and boss, Rebecca is delighted and stunned to discover that she has a sister she's never met. Of course, her father's deathbed confession that he had an affair 26 years ago and fathered a child he's had no contact with since leaves Rebecca reeling, especially since she always thought her parents had the perfect marriage.

I loved this book. The complex and messy emotions contained in the book were perfectly described and understandable. The anger, joy, frustration, confusion and stubbornness of being an adult and recognizing your parents' flaws carry this above and beyond a typical chick-lit novel.

Bereft over the upcoming loss of her father, Rebecca is also angered and confused. How could her father, her loving and attentive father, have abandoned her sister? Was her entire relationship with her father a fantasy? And what was her parents' marriage really like? And why did he tell her now?
"If your dad felt that guilty, he would have tracked her down at some point over the past twenty-six years. It's a deathbed confession, Rebecca. It's to ease his heart. It's so he can die in peace." 
But when she is reprimanded professionally for getting too emotional at work after her father's death, Rebecca takes a leave of absence to track down her sister, Joy. Her boyfriend/boss Michael thinks tracking down her long-lost sister is a terrible idea, but something compels Rebecca north to Maine.
"WELCOME TO MAINE: THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BE. The sign seemed like her fortune, her horoscope, her Magic 8 Ball answer. Her life was not the way it should be, and she knew it, had known it for a while. She liked the idea that simply passing the sign meant she was working on that."
Joy lives in Maine and runs singles tours on the Love Bus. But Joy's own marriage is in trouble and she rejects all of Rebecca's attempts at friendship and connection. Joy was rejected her whole life by Rebecca's father and now, after his death, the only way she can express the pain of that rejection is by rejecting Rebecca. But Joy is the only family Rebecca has left and Rebecca needs something from Joy, just as she simply needs joy.

The characters are well-developed, with human flaws and needs. I cried with the characters and even though this book had an unexpected happy ending, I hope to read more about these people.

No comments:

Post a Comment