Elevate Difference

The Last Secret

Secrets and lies. Can you ever really escape your past? Or do the mistakes you make when you’re young haunt you forever?

Those are the questions haunting Nora Hammond, the protagonist of The Last Secret. Nora is the stereotypical rich, suburban socialite, the woman who has everything; basically, she's the prototypical victim for a literary thriller. Nora's picture-perfect life begins to crack into pieces when she learns that her husband has been having an affair for years with one of her closest friends. As Nora struggles to hold the pieces of her life together—attempting to save her marriage and protect her children from the pain of a broken family—she is confronted head on by a visitor from her past, one who holds a deadly secret that threatens to tear Nora's life apart.

While this may sound like a cookie-cutter plot from nearly any thriller, it is elevated by Mary McGarry Morris' writing. She approaches her characters with a deft, careful pen, never allowing the unusual situations or emotional tension to be anything but heartfelt and realistic. A lesser writer would fall into melodramatic traps, but Morris keeps the feelings of love and betrayal raw and honest. Be prepared: if you’ve ever experienced the heartbreak of unfaithfulness from a loved one, this story will bring back those feelings of bitterness and delusion.

Nora Hammond is a character you can believe in, stymied by the turns her life has taken and, like many of us would be, unsure of how to save things that may not be capable of being saved. I found myself rooting for her, hoping she'd find a way to fix her perfect life, but ultimately knowing that things can't always be perfect and maybe there’s a reason that perfection only happens in lighter fiction.

In this story, perfection fades into reality with a shocking series of twists and turns you can’t help but devour quickly.

Written by: Jennifer Lee Johnson, April 5th 2009