Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Book of Secrets (Elizabeth Joy Arnold)

I seem to be on a completely unintentional kick of reading novels with the word "book" in the title.  My "currently reading" list includes Charlie Lovett's The Bookman's Tale and Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. There is something about the word "book" that is just so comforting...curling up and going into another world for a little while.  The closing of so many bookstores lately is really alarming to me.  I've gone kicking and screaming into the e-Reader age, but I'm certainly not happy about it.  Elizabeth Joy Arnold's The Book of Secrets seems to be written for people like me, those who love nothing better than to take a book off the bookstore or library shelf and lose themselves in its pages.

Chloe and Nate grew up together in a small town.  Almost every day, Chloe would go over to Nate's house, where the two of them, along with Nate's two sisters, would put on plays based on books.  The children were homeschooled by Nate's mother, Mrs. Sinclair, until she became severely ill.  Chloe hardly ever saw Mr. Sinclair, but when he surprisingly came home early one day, it wasn't hard to see why the children seemed afraid of him.  The Sinclair house had a lot of dark secrets, some of which do not come to light until Chloe and Nate have a son, get married, and open a bookstore together.  When Nate disappears one day, Chloe discovers that he's gone back to their small town to see his family for answers.  Chloe goes after him, of course, and finds the answer to the biggest secret of all.

The final mystery is fairly simple to figure out; however, don't let that stop you from reading this wonderful book.  Arnold imbues the novel with tons of literary references, codes, and dark secrets, making this far from a "fluff" book about a bookstore.