All families have secrets; some are benign or funny, others not so much. Meg O’Reilly has been keeping a secret from her older children, the twins, Harry and Harriet, which she’d been planning to share with them on their twenty-first birthdays. But, Harry and Harriet, on April 21, 1943, are serving their country in North Africa as the Allies try to push the Nazis off that continent in preparation for the move on Italy. In the meantime, her father, Herbert, discovers another family secret that rocks his world, and at the same time, Harry and Harriet get caught up on an encounter with a Nazi soldier and a British spy that gives the two of them a current secret that shakes up their lives.
In Secrets of Island by Linda Hughes, the reader is taken on a strange and torturous journey through the lives of several families, mainly the O’Reilly’s, as secrets are brought to light, causing each member of the family to reassess his or her place in the grand scheme of things.
The author provides an in-depth history of the Great Lake area of Michigan, and interesting insights into life during the turn of the century. At times, the author does a bit too much telling, but, thankfully, it does not disrupt too much—and, every tidbit is fascinating. I did take issue with the author’s use of the word ‘dray’ to describe a horse rather than the open sided carriage used for transport—as a writer of westerns, such things pop out at me. But, this one small mistake can be forgiven since the story was, on the whole, absorbing.
I received a complimentary copy of this book, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
I give it four stars.
After the disappearance of her two-year-old son, Elizabeth is committed by her husband to an asylum. Fifteen years later, her daughter, Meg, returns to Traverse City, MI from Chicago, after a breakup with her fiancé, hoping to discover if her mother is really insane, and what happened to her brother. She finds an unlikely ally, Abby, a Chippewa spirit woman, and begins a journey that will change her life, and the lives of those around her, forever.
Secrets of the Asylum by Linda Hughes is a slow-paced, but chilling, tale of life in the age of the Flapper. Like the peeling of an onion, it lays bare family secrets and lies in the context of an era when women had no identity separate from their husbands or fathers, and when the line between sanity and insanity was exceptionally thin, and social mores were in transition.
This book reads like a cross between a generational saga and a finely tuned mystery, as Meg slowly discovers family secrets that have been kept hidden far too long. The author does an amazing job of providing just enough information to cause a reader to begin to see the truth behind the murky veil that circumstances have thrown up, and will be shocked at the denouement.
A disturbing, but entertaining and enlightening, read. I received a free copy of this book.
I give this book four stars.