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4.5 out of 5
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    Emotional roller coaster

    This was an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. It's an incredible story filled with heartbreak, hope, mystery and suspense all twisted together in a way only Ms. Novak can do. After the death of his mother, Keith Lazarow finds himself back on Fairham Island. He walked away from his mother and this place five years ago and never looked back. After enduring an abusive childhood at the hands of his mother and years of substance abuse he now has his life under control and owns a very successful business in LA. Being back is making him confront some of the demons of his past as well as forcing him to make amends to the people he hurt during those dark days. The one person he owes the biggest apology to is Nancy Dellinger. He knows he hurt her badly when he left and he wants to make it up to her. What was intended to be a quick trip back turns into much more when the evidence begins to point to the death of his mother as a murder rather than a suicide as originally determined. Keith feels a duty to his grandfather to clear the Lazarow name, rebuild the family empire, and find his mother's killer. There are so many twists and turns to this story, you will be guessing who did it up till the very end. This is one you don't want to miss. I highly recommend it.
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    The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak

    The Secret She Kept by Brenda Novak The second in the Fairham Island series after The Secret Sister. It does stand alone, but you won't appreciate it fully not knowing how much Keith has changed. I recommend reading The Secret Sister first. Fiction. Chit lit fiction? A romance with a bit of mystery. I was very impressed with Keith and how much he has changed from the first book. I can understand Nancy's reluctance to re-engage with Keith since he burned and discarded her so easily in the prior book. The lost sister, Roxanne, and her husband have a large roll in this mystery that takes a few surprising twists. I enjoyed this mystery a lot. I hope we get to visit Fairham Island again.
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    Full of surprises and secrets! Amazing!

    This book had so many intriguing secrets! It kept me guessing and surprised me too many times to count. I absolutely love how much Keith and Nancy changed over their five years apart. I also loved how Brenda Novak brought Keith back to town. Seeing him step up to handle everything after he was such a mess in the first book was very interesting. It was also very interesting to find out so much about Josephine. Novak always seems to have very unique ways to reveal her characters' secrets, and this one was full of fireworks. There was a mystery, romance, and suspense all blended into a wonderful story. I'd recommend this one if you are looking for something with a little bit of everything. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
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    PLOT TWIST!!!

    WOW! This is such a fabulous romantic suspense novel. This is the conclusion to The Secret Sister and it packed quite a punch! There was plot twist after plot twist. Just when you thought you had it figured out, a new piece of the puzzle was falling to place. All while this mystery and suspense played out there was a sweet romance playing in the background. The characters were perfectly developed and the story line flowed with the expertise only Brenda Novak could deliver. I can't wait to see what's next for this amazing author. Received a copy in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed is my own.
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    3,5***

    Truly a story filled with secrets, family drama, and a murder mystery that has everyone looking at each other with questions in their eyes. Josephine Lazarow wasn't the nicest of people, and now it's possible she was murdered. Five years has gone, and Keith, the former cocaine user, has completely, surprisingly, turned his life around. Not only he isn't taking drugs anymore, he has gained back his good looks, is physically fit again, and built a multi-million dollar company from nothing. Looking at his background, it's a miracle he is where he is today, and not receiving heavy duty professional help, only the abuse in his childhood would have required that one could think. But he managed a turn around in his life. And now he is back at the island and facing his old demons again. I know this book is sold as romantic suspense, but in my opinion, it is more of an old fashion family saga, with hideous and hurtful secrets being revealed, mistakes are being made, and forgiveness is asked, and even granted, on some occasions. The murder mystery brings people together, as much as it is pulling others apart. The mystery of Josephine's death is driving force for Keith, something he is determined to solve, and make the culprit pay. There's no intensity, danger, or action, just looking for clues, and dealing with the aftermath the reveal of the truth leaves behind. When Keith was still living on the island and using drugs, Nancy was his escape. He isn't capable of deep feelings, commitments, and relationships, but with Nancy, he at times found a moment of peace. As soon as he has to face his demons at the island, he finds himself on Nancy's doorsteps. Like before, the codependent relationship takes fire again. Keith needs Nancy to distract him from the reality, from the cravings for drugs, for slipping back to the old life. Nancy has desperately been in love with Keith for years, never thought of herself as worthy of him, and now has one last chance to be with him again. Is there a physical attraction? Absolutely, but deeper feelings, connection, or something to built a future on? Not in my opinion. I would have needed so much more work in the relationship, much more depth, actual feelings of love and adoration, to believe they had a real thing going, with possibilities of future. I felt the relationship, as well as the characters, were left rather superficial and shallow. As the romance and the suspense left me wanting, considering the story a family saga, where twists in the plot are as surprising as the secrets revealed, the behind the closed door relationships as tainted, as the off history of the family, and everything is unfolding while the core family does they best to hold on, I found it intriguing, like watching a train wreck, and couldn't look away. From the sort of a cliffhanger ending, I am assuming there's more to the saga to come ~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
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