I recently listened to the book, "A Secret Kept" by Tatiana de Rosenay. When I picked out the book, I knew little about the story or author except what I read on the back of the audio cover. It sold me and I checked it out of my local library.
After I inserted the discs into my CD player, I was hooked before I finished the first paragraph. The characters of Antoine Rey and his sister Melanie piqued my interest. Their weekend getaway to a seaside hotel resurrected long-forgotten memories of a woman they barely knew, their mother. The memories spur them to investigate and interview family members to uncover the life and loves of Clarisse Rey.
There is much more to the story than genealogical and family history research. How the characters communicate and respond to each other tells more than some psychological thrillers. Yet, one of the most poignant moments for me is when Melanie tells Antoine she doesn't want to learn anything more about their mother. Melanie focuses on the remaining time with their father while Antoine carries on the investigation. As Melanie tells him, whatever he finds out, she simply doesn't care to know.
Many of us have experienced moments like these. You uncover a child born out of wedlock, a marriage filled with abuse, or a wayfarer who never returns home. Heartaches can put an end to a researcher's enthusiasm. I understand the dilemma.
In "A Secret Kept" Melanie chooses to spend her time with people alive now and Antoine decides to continue to search about his mother's life. It is a balancing act family historians face every day. This book offers insight for family historians and challenges us to question how well we know the people of our present and our past. Read it this summer and you won't regret it.