Thursday, August 14, 2014

Book Review: Keeping Secrets by Donna Hechler Porter

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Title: Keeping Secrets

Author: Donna Hechler Porter

Series: Children of the Light #1

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult

**4.5 stars**

A very interesting historical fiction that kept me guessing at every turn. Keeping Secrets, book one of the Children of Light series, brought the world of Quakers Amon Cayle and Mary McKechnie of the 1750s to life.

Amon is a widower and a father, trying to take care of his family after the tragic loss of his wife, Abigail, and keep in good standings with the Society of Friends. Not to mention, he needs a seamstress.
     Mary has also endured the loss of a spouse, and is working desperately to provide for all her daughters. When Amon offers her a job, she’s quick to turn it down, all too aware of her and Amon’s past.
     David is the oldest son of Amon Cayle. Trying to stay out of the way of his wily cousin, Jackson, and keep the peace with his papa, he hardly noticed when a certain girl becomes ever so important to him.
      Annie knows all too much about keeping quiet about things. Threatened by her uncle, she painfully tries to keep her mother, Mary, from worrying and from the truth. All the while, she watched her family get entangled with the Cayle family … even as she herself does.

This novel definitely had the right title. Keeping Secrets. That’s what Amon, Mary, David, and Annie did. Secrets from the past. Secrets from the present. Secrets that will harm. Secrets that will heal. All bottled up inside a person, something is liable to go wrong. I was captivated almost at once. Keeping Secrets taught many lessons in a gently flowing, real-life, almost vague, but not really, sort of way. Everything seemed so befuddled at times, but it all came together in the end. (Well … except for one thing, and that has me anxious to read the next book in this series, Breaking Promises!)

Anyway, perhaps the first 90 pages were just kind of me getting into the book. Then I became hooked. This was one book that I just couldn’t figure out what was going on, who did it, what the secrets added up to. It kept me quite entertained, and I was always happy to come back to the pages of this novel! Amon and Mary, but especially David and Annie, were lovely characters to walk along with, discover, and heal with. Amon and Mary’s relationship was quite interesting, seeing as they have a past and all. Donna Porter indeed created a story that came to life, a plot that drew you in, and an ending that left you wishing for the next book so you could continue the journey!

Some things I didn’t like as much. Hmm … the slaves. Though that was indeed a normal thing of the 1700s, it felt weird reading about people as if they were property. They were treated kindly, perhaps more like servants, but they were still just slaves.

Another thing I thought I’d mention, though I found things that very much marked Keeping Secrets as a Christian book, there wasn’t much … well, not much of spiritual growth maybe. But it was pointed out that Amon and Mary both confessed Jesus Christ as their Savior, and some very good values were discussed and thought through in this book I felt.

Oh, and probably sixteen or so and up for the romance, and some scandal mentioned.

So yes, Keeping Secrets was a lovely historical read. One of those novels that doesn’t just feel like a fluffy, dreamy story. The characters were real-like, they had flaws and struggles and sordid pasts. They healed, and they messed up, and they forgave again. It was wonderful to watch this tale come together.

I eagerly await Breaking Promises!

I received a copy of Keeping Secrets from the author in exchange for my honest review.

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