St. Martin’s, Apr 28 2009, $24.95
In Palmetto, South Carolina, septuagenarian Emma Hanley plans to see the world. However, she has to put on hold her tour when her spouse Harold suddenly dies while having coffee with his female admirers. Emma has no time to consider her loss as her adult children need her and make demands on her.
She is the sole caretaker of Bobby whose illness left him mentally incapable of caring for himself. Dora has turned to religion, compulsive shopping and a martinet spouse. Even Will, who died decades ago in Vietnam, seems to haunt his mom. Dora’s former lover from her hippie days Jake Cary comes home to mend a broken heart and fix gardens like that on the neglected estate of Emma’s late grandfather Amaranth and indirectly people too so they flourish.
On the surface, SECRET KEEPERS seems like the zillionth southern dynasty saga, but is actually much more as Mindy Friddle looks at how the present turns the past into a family mythos in which facts are irrelevant. Each of the key players in the hamlet extended family including the late patriarch, grandfather and Will seem like real persons with each one possessing a personalized definition of what heaven on earth would be to them; however that denotation is always out of reach. Filled with pathos and eccentricity, readers will enjoy the misadventures of the SECRET KEEPERS.