Customer Reviews for

The Language of Secrets

Average Rating 4
( 24 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

A sweeping saga of human frailties and universal themes.

With the vivid skill of her screenwriting background, Dianne Dixon creates compelling characters and a rugged emotional landscape in which her tale unfolds . With both broad and delicate strokes, she plows the deep, the dark and the devastating effects of loss at the h...
With the vivid skill of her screenwriting background, Dianne Dixon creates compelling characters and a rugged emotional landscape in which her tale unfolds . With both broad and delicate strokes, she plows the deep, the dark and the devastating effects of loss at the hands of damaged souls. Despite the revelations Justin Fisher encounters regarding his murky past, we learn, along with him, that having the courage to seek the truth, however painful, can indeed set us free.

posted by mtobias on March 3, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Outstanding plot, shallow characters

The Language of Secrets is a tightly wound mystery, with a plot unlike any other I've ever run across. The entire story is unusual and grabs you immediately. The main character had moved to London to pursue a career, and remained out of touch with his immediate family. ...
The Language of Secrets is a tightly wound mystery, with a plot unlike any other I've ever run across. The entire story is unusual and grabs you immediately. The main character had moved to London to pursue a career, and remained out of touch with his immediate family. After many, many years, he returns to California and tries to reconnect. He finds his parents have died, and when he visits their graves, he sees another headstone next to them. His. Showing that he died at age four. Immediately he's bounced into a living hell of flashbacks, waking delusions, and disquietude that infects his own marriage. He has no idea who he is and what has happened.



Thus begins this twisted and complex tale that takes you through the lives of several members of his family. It is suspenseful and anxious.so much so that I felt nauseated at times. Perhaps it was the suspense of the missing four year, nearly the same age as my own child, which made me anxious. All I can say is that this story fascinated me by just how off-the-wall it was. I read a lot, and running into an utterly unique premise is unusual.

That said, it's apparent that this is a plot driven story rather than built on solid characters. I felt a bit cheated that some of these amazing situations came from some rather superficial characters who seemed predictable despite the unpredictable plot. Some were so shallow that I could actually foresee their actions, and others exemplified tremendous character values yet no rationale for their behavior was given. It was the characters that detracted me from the story.

The story proceeds at a quick pace, and the only other "blip" that occurred was when one character's almost unimaginable actions were explained, in an 'aside' by the author, where she attempts to justify the actions in light of the socio-political values of the time period. It was only two paragraphs, but it didn't fit. She should have been able to show those details without such an invasive explanation. It felt a bit preachy, actually, and it derailed the pace. And while she tried to account for the actions, it wasn't sufficient to overcome the initial doubt about the behavior, and effectively made her argument less powerful.

This is a intriguing book, and one that I will share with friends. The minor flaws it has doesn't take away from this tremendous story and fascinating plot.

posted by SAHARATEA on May 17, 2010

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  • Posted July 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Haunting Story of Betrayal

    Wow, this is a book that packs a punch! Imagine going to see your family, you find your parents deceased and you see your own headstone that says you died as a young child. The story goes back and forth from the present back to the past to tell how such a thing could happen. The family secrets that are revealed as Justin tries to learn who he is and where he came from are quite shocking! As Justin unveiled secrets to his past I felt very sorry for him. His story was heartbreaking. I found myself questioning how far a mother would go to protect her family. I thought I knew exactly where the story was going until the very last page where the ending caught me totally off guard! Loved it! Dianne Dixon weaves a web of lies, deception and betrayals that is so suspenseful you will be up reading into the wee hours of the morning.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding plot, shallow characters

    The Language of Secrets is a tightly wound mystery, with a plot unlike any other I've ever run across. The entire story is unusual and grabs you immediately. The main character had moved to London to pursue a career, and remained out of touch with his immediate family. After many, many years, he returns to California and tries to reconnect. He finds his parents have died, and when he visits their graves, he sees another headstone next to them. His. Showing that he died at age four. Immediately he's bounced into a living hell of flashbacks, waking delusions, and disquietude that infects his own marriage. He has no idea who he is and what has happened.



    Thus begins this twisted and complex tale that takes you through the lives of several members of his family. It is suspenseful and anxious.so much so that I felt nauseated at times. Perhaps it was the suspense of the missing four year, nearly the same age as my own child, which made me anxious. All I can say is that this story fascinated me by just how off-the-wall it was. I read a lot, and running into an utterly unique premise is unusual.

    That said, it's apparent that this is a plot driven story rather than built on solid characters. I felt a bit cheated that some of these amazing situations came from some rather superficial characters who seemed predictable despite the unpredictable plot. Some were so shallow that I could actually foresee their actions, and others exemplified tremendous character values yet no rationale for their behavior was given. It was the characters that detracted me from the story.

    The story proceeds at a quick pace, and the only other "blip" that occurred was when one character's almost unimaginable actions were explained, in an 'aside' by the author, where she attempts to justify the actions in light of the socio-political values of the time period. It was only two paragraphs, but it didn't fit. She should have been able to show those details without such an invasive explanation. It felt a bit preachy, actually, and it derailed the pace. And while she tried to account for the actions, it wasn't sufficient to overcome the initial doubt about the behavior, and effectively made her argument less powerful.

    This is a intriguing book, and one that I will share with friends. The minor flaws it has doesn't take away from this tremendous story and fascinating plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 3, 2010

    A sweeping saga of human frailties and universal themes.

    With the vivid skill of her screenwriting background, Dianne Dixon creates compelling characters and a rugged emotional landscape in which her tale unfolds . With both broad and delicate strokes, she plows the deep, the dark and the devastating effects of loss at the hands of damaged souls. Despite the revelations Justin Fisher encounters regarding his murky past, we learn, along with him, that having the courage to seek the truth, however painful, can indeed set us free.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 2, 2010

    A real page turner.

    If you start this book when you have appointments looming or should be going to sleep, you're in trouble. It's not the sort of read you can put down at the end of a chapter and turn out the light. Once the central character has made his dramatic discovery, you HAVE to know the reason why. I read it in one sitting and it flew by. Dianne Dixon has a spare urgency in her writing style that keeps those pages turning. Landscapes and characters really come to life. Perfect for holiday reading, an empty weekend, a long plane journey. I looked for more books by this author but apparently its her first. I hope she writes more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fast read

    I enjoyed the book and had a hard time putting it down, but I wished as the ending of the book was coming closer, that there were more answers with some of the characters. I can definitely see a sequel to extend the other stories that to me needed closing. Still a good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2010

    Haunting story of the damage we do in the name of love

    The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon is a poignant and haunting look into the devastation caused by the secrets we keep. Justin Fisher has just begun a wonderful new life with his wife Amy and new son Zack in their new home in California. Returning to his home state after fifteen years away, he decides to finally visit his parents, but finds that their home has been sold, and his father's new address is a convalescent home. Following the clues, he soon discovers that his father recently died, his mother died two years ago, and when he goes to visit their graves, he finds one with his own name on it with a death date of thirty years ago. The shock sends Justin on a quest to learn why his sister refused to talk to him when he went to her home, why he answers to the name TJ, and who is the red-haired woman he remembers as his mother. But the answers about his past may just destroy his future. Dixon has created an interesting study on how one small act can have major repercussions. The story flips between Justin's present and his mother's past as the author puts together this tragic story. Every character feels completely lost, as though floundering through life trying to find some significance and purpose. Justin doesn't quite know who he is, Amy needs to escape her father's grasp, Caroline wants to reclaim the beautiful girl she used to be, and Robert just wants to hold on to his wife who he always knew was too good for him. Dixon touches on several themes: Caroline's lack of power after becoming pregnant in the 1960s and feeling forced to marry the father, leaving her without any way to support herself or her dreams; Justin's desire to clean the slate, even if it means doing the wrong thing for the right reason. The story is completely haunted by Robert's anger and need for revenge on his wife. His love for her is fueled with an anger that will ultimately destroy all that he desires. It's a terribly sad story, but Dixon has a knack for dealing compassionately with unsympathetic characters and exposing their humanness. It's a novel that will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't Put It Down!!

    I loved this book!!! Imagine having pieces of your life gone. Missing years. Then, slowly, bits and pieces come back. But what you are remembering makes no sense. You find the house you grew up in but strangers are living there.
    You are told your father is dead, so you go to the cemetery only to find another headstone next to his. Your mother. But then, there is a third headstone with the name Thomas Justin Fisher. Three years old....how can that be? You are Thomas Justin Fisher. And that's just the beginning of the web of lies and betrayals.

    There is so much more I could say about this book, but don't want to spoil it if you decide to read it. I can't imagine why anyone not liking this book, because I loved it so much. The book jumps from character to character, present to past and back again. And ends with one last shock. I couldn't finish this book fast enough. I HAD to know how it was going to play out. And when it did end, I was sad that I had to say goodbye to everyone, especially Justin and Caroline.

    I can't wait to read more from this talented author.

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  • Posted April 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    Family doesn't have one solid definition. For Justin Fisher, this knowledge is all too real. After years of not speaking to his parents, he decides to take a trip bringing his wife and son with him. When he finds out that his parents have passed away, he is more than shattered. While visiting the cemetery, he sees that there is a three year old boy named Thomas Fisher buried right next to his parents. All of a sudden he begins to remember his life as a young boy. The drama has just begun for Justin, he wants to know the truth after all the lies.

    I wouldn't say this book is spectacular but it does have a good plot. I felt like it was a little drawn out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2010

    This book stays with you long after you have finished the last exquisite page.

    I read the first chapter and was hooked. A beautifully written page-turner that will make you look at the people you love in a whole new way.

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