“A Secret Kept” by Tatiana De Rosnay is about a man (Antoine Rey) overcoming obstacles throughout his life, some include his divorce with his wife, his mother’s secrets from the past, his children growing up to be teenagers and other conflicts with them, and many more. It starts off with him in a hospital waiting room with his sister, Mélanie, in an operating room from a terrible accident they were in, he was left unharmed. For his sisters fortieth birthday he had decided to drive to Noirmoutier Islands, a place they used to go for summer when they were a lot younger with their mother, father, grand-mère, and grand-père. They hadn't years since their mother had passed, that’s when the family holidays had ceased to end. As the island brings back more and more memories to the siblings, especially of the very last summer they spent there. On the way home to Paris, Mélanie gets in her terrible accident trying to tell Antoine what she remembered about their mother.
What really drew me to read this book was the cover, a lady in a bright red trench coat walking through an alley that you could suspect was somewhere in Europe, that you later find out is Paris, France. The red trench coat really draws your eyes to the cover because the the other colors are mostly neutral and red is bright primary color. The title is also something that is very interesting to me, “A Secret Kept”, secrets hold a great power and many of the secrets throughout the book do hold a good amount of power.
Antoine and Mélanie have always had an exquisite life, their grandparents being very rich and modest, they grew up being very respectful and meek children. But as Antoine started a family he did not want all the luxury and magnificence, his children grew up being modern, a complete turn from his childhood. With all families come with conflicts and teen years. Two of his children are in their teen years, Arno and Margaux, so they provide a big volume of quarrels. Lucas, his younger son, is still very young so he doesn't understand all the commotion going on with his older siblings. Antoine has recently gone through a divorce with his wife, Astrid, after finding out about an affair she was having with a man named Serge. Mélanie did have a love life, but it had come to an end, a big reason why Antoine took her to Noirmoutier Island.
I would recommend this book to teens, it has a great story and although its from the early 2000’s it really shows how teenagers are. The book also shows how crazy life can get in just a year or two. Life is very up and down though, Antoine was at very low points but his friends and family brought him up again. Since the book is based in areas around France it shows you a whole new culture that you may not be used to in the United States. Overall the book explores the complex of family and relationships and how powerful secrets are.