Saturday, March 10, 2012

Secret Keepers by Mindy Friddle

What is more alluring than a secret? Can you keep a secret?

Ms. Friddle entices her readers with a variety of secrets, new and old, real or imagined, disguised, and those we keep from ourselves. She insists you can’t keep a good secret down. Especially the scarlet flower, Secret Keeper.

Her tale of discovery starts with the accidental death of Emma Hanley’s husband and threads its way through the life of her sons, Will and Bobbie, and daughter, Dora, her grandson, Kyle, and friends near and dear.

Jake is a broken man trying to put the pieces back together with a landscaping business. The business becomes the vine threading its way through the life of the town, pulling them all together. Jake, with the help of his friend Gordon, plant beautiful and unusual plants that soon attract the attention of national media. But what price fame for the drifters who comprise his crew of Blooming Idiots?

Dora carries a secret that has turned her life to misery. In paying the price, she bequeaths this misery to her family. As she spins slowly downward, her eyes open to what is happening around her.

Emma has lived with her choices in a responsible way. But now, when she should be free to do what she wants, finds herself tied to another--a debilitated son who she loves dearly.

Kyle is trapped in his family’s misery. To escape, he concocts a plan to spend time at his grandmother Emma’s. In the company of his Uncle Bobby, his world opens up to confidence and healthy relationships.

Ms. Friddle's choice of words are powerful. Visiting her friend in a nursing home, Emma describes the encounter. “The sweet stench of aged humans slowly gummed to death in the maws of an institution.”  You understand many things about Emma in just this one line.

Refreshing and truly novel. How cool is that?

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