Customer Reviews for

Secrets of Eden

Average Rating 3.5
( 248 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(68)

4 Star

(78)

3 Star

(57)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(25)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

knocked my socks off! (and kept me up all night)

Chris Bohjalian's novels never let me down, and this is my favorite since Midwives. It's a great read, with characters I cared about and a twisty plot that kept me turning the pages. I couldn't put it down! And the story stayed with me long after I'd finished reading. L...
Chris Bohjalian's novels never let me down, and this is my favorite since Midwives. It's a great read, with characters I cared about and a twisty plot that kept me turning the pages. I couldn't put it down! And the story stayed with me long after I'd finished reading. Lots to talk about. Perfect for my book group!

posted by greedy_reader on January 7, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

HAD potential

The book "Secrets of Eden" is about two murders in a small town in Vermont, a traumatic story of domestic violence. The plot to the story is intriguing, and yet, the author seemed to fall from grace of delivering. The story begins with the pastor's voice, Stephen Drew. ...
The book "Secrets of Eden" is about two murders in a small town in Vermont, a traumatic story of domestic violence. The plot to the story is intriguing, and yet, the author seemed to fall from grace of delivering. The story begins with the pastor's voice, Stephen Drew. The facts from his perspective is so incredibly boring. The next person's view is that of the state's attorney, Catherine Benincasa. There was so much added in from her life that didn't give anything to the story. Throughout much of the novel, I find this. It's what I call filler, or added words to take up space. This is ypically seen in term papers from students that need to make up so many words. I wouldn't have expected it from a published author. Another thing I find really annoying about these chapters are the added characters without any introductions. I found myself looking back to see if I missed something...like a page. The next point of view comes from an author who suffered the same tragedy, Heather Laurent, who heard of the event and came to town to support the orphaned daughter. The last person to tell her tale is the orphaned daughter, Katie Hayward. Chris Bohjalian, the author, presented her character throughout the book as a stereotypical speaking teen, as in, her language "I, like totally this or that". Than I noticed her teen language fade in her chapters. That confused me a bit as to whose tale I was reading. I read to the end and Bohjalian waited until the last sentence to reveal "the big mystery". That would have been great in novel that would have been written with "edge of your seat" suspense, but in this case, I just wanted to know so I could stop reading this book. I read it to the end, because the plot had such great potential, I kept hoping for that magnitude. It just isn't here.

posted by DodieND on March 3, 2010

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  • Posted February 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Gripping Novel on a Serious Theme

    It has become a tradition for me to buy Chris Bohjalian's latest book as soon as it's available, read late into the night, and finish it the next day. This was the case with Secrets of Eden which had me hooked from the first few pages. Days later, I'm still completely under its spell, thinking about the characters I feel I came to know and pondering the terrible choices some of them had to face.

    Secrets of Eden will be on my mind for a long time. I'm equally haunted by the deeply tragic story in this novel, the whole specter of domestic abuse that it reflects, and the profound truth that, in human affairs, things are complex and never quite what they seem. I love the way the story is conveyed through four narrators, thus underscoring the truth that we do so live each in our own reality and, as character Stephen Drew (the small town pastor) says, "all of our stories are suspect."

    Secrets of Eden is mesmerizing. As the story unfolds, you enter the world of each of the characters and are drawn deep into the tragic event and all it means. And you will be thinking about the sad reality of domestic abuse for a long time. Kudos to Chris Bohjalian for raising our awareness about such an important problem by bringing it to life in this compelling way. What a great story-teller and masterful writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2014

    Good read!

    I am halfway done with this book. It is very good but I only gave it four stars because I enjoyed other books by this author more than this one. If you like his stories, you will enjoy this.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Jury is still out on this author!!

    The only reason I got this book is because I saw the LMN movie with John Stamos as Pastor Drew. I'd always believed that the books are so much better than the movie. There is much more detail here than what was in the movie but I don't think it really added value to the story overall. I'm sort of disappointed so will definitely be wary of another book by Bohjalian.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    An interesting story

    I really enjoyed this book and did not want to put it down. I really liked how the writer told the story from 4 different perspectives, as it was neat to see how each person felt about the tragedy that took place. The twist was somewhat predictable but it did not take away from the story, for me at least. I will definitely read other works from this author. There was also a Lifetime movie made based on this book and I definitely want to see it now. John Stamos plays the Reverend in it, which i have a hard time picturing, but im sure will be good.

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  • Posted June 22, 2011

    Surprisingly Great!!

    After being almost knocked out of my seat by The Double Blind, I had my doubts that Chris Bohjalian could surprise/entertain me that well again. Although there are parts in both books that almost hurt to read (gratuitous violence!), I was so impressed by his original writing, suspense and ability to keep the reader entertained and even surprise.

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  • Posted May 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read!

    I truly enjoyed this book. This was the first book I read by Bohjalian and I am about to buy another. The plot and characters were very well-developed. While I guessed "who done it" early on, it was not confirmed until the very end, which kept me turning pages and engaged. I would definitely recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2011

    Good

    This was the best book i read in fifty years!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2011

    A great book with a surprise ending

    This book is excellent. Some of the descriptions of domestic violence and drunkeness were upsetting, but even so i reccommend this book. I will not give away the ending. It went faster than The Double Bind

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  • Posted November 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Do not do spoilers!

    Ok, I'm not quite done with the book yet, so I can't write a review for this book. But wanted to write a "review" just to advise any and all future reviewers to NOT add spoilers to their reviews, or at least warn others with a "Spoiler Alert". Alas, I read the review written by Angeleyes, and I think she added some spoilers which clearly I didn't know about. But, I'll continue to read the book and find out for myself how this ends. Just wanted to let all know that as a courtesy, please no spoilers. Thank you!

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Recommended Reading

    I really liked this book and I will definitely read more by this author. The author tells the story from 4 perspectives and even though it was a sobering topic it was a great read. It isn't quite as complex and twisting as The Double Bind that I read about a year ago; in fact this one moved a bit faster which was good for reading in the summer. This is definitely one to put on your list if you have not read this one yet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Painfully profound

    Once again, Chris Bohjalian delivers a masterfully crafted and compelling novel. Very few authors take on, let alone delve into the complexities of, domestic abuse. This one does so in a very thought provoking way.

    Through the voices of many characters, the story of a troubled marriage, it's violent end and aftermath are told. The story begins with the narrative of a baptism by a small town pastor. The introduction of the character who writes bestselling accounts of the presence of angels among us broadens the foundation of the novel. Faith in various forms is explored as both character motivation and a path toward perceived redemption.

    While tragic at the core, this examination of violence in the home is respectful rather than sensational. The true, most helpless victims; the children are given a powerful voice. The accounts from various voices remind us how private turmoil echoes through our neighborhoods, communities and society at large.

    Whether you have read other works by this author, or if this is your first introduction to his work; I recommend it without reservation.

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  • Posted April 19, 2010

    a must-read

    Chris Bohjalian's latest novel is a fantastic read! It starts with a tragedy and the aftermath told by one character, but quickly shifts to others' perspectives of the same events. It will have the reader questioning what he/she believes occurred and revising his/her opinion of many of the characters. It is a riveting, well-written story and its conclusion is wholly satisfying. It is Bohjalian's best novel yet!

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    A murder suicide, or was it?

    An abusive husband murders his wife and then himself. Is this really what happened? Everybody has an opinion, and several theories and suspects evolve. There is a rush to judgment, and a surprise at the end!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A very telling book.

    Domestic Violence is really out there and there should be no secrets.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    Good book, not fabulous

    I rate it 4 Stars because it is good,
    but here's the good, the bad, and the ugly:

    Characters are interesting enough, but not real memorable. Alice's daughter's development is inconsistent and unbelievable. Bohalian's development of the more masculine characters (Steven and the female prosecutor) are stronger, more interesting and more believable. His writing style changes with each character, which adds interest, but it seems to lose consistency.

    Plot was good ~ it held my attention, but it didn't keep me up all night. It was suspenseful enough to hold my interest. Bohalian does a good, though rather obvious job of trying to lead the reader off track to conclude the usual suspects. For a while I was disappointed as I thought it predictable after I decided I KNEW 'who did it' (someone other than we are led to believe), but in the end I was wrong and pleasantly surprised :)

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Different

    Chris Bohjalian is one of my favorite authors and I own all of his books. So my review may be a little biased. That being said, this book was very different than his others. He wrote this story with four different character views that lead up to the ending, which I honestly didn't expect. I thought the story was great. Like most Bohjalian books, he hits the ground running and you feel like you don't have a choice but to follow.

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  • Posted April 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Thing About Angels Is....

    Alice and George Hayward are found dead in what appears to be a murder/suicide by Alice's friend Ginny on a Monday morning. Ginny stopped by Alice's house after the Women's Club meeting, whe Alice didn't appear. It was a grizzly scene she found. Alice strangled. George with much of his head shot off.

    The first part of Secrets of Eden is narrated by Pastor Stephen Drew. It starts off with Alice's baptism by Pastor Drew the day of her death. Drew feels partly responsible, that he could have stopped the massacre.

    The narrative continues with the Assistant District attorney after forensic evidence suggests that George didn't commit suicide.

    The third section is narrated by Heather Laurent, a believer in angels, who is in Haverill, VT on a publicity tour for her new book. She interviews Drew, as well as Katie Hayward (now an orphan) and Hayward's neighbors.

    The final section is narrated by Katie herself.

    This is the first Bohjalian book I've read and I really liked it. The plot was interesting. The writing is descriptive, each character's narrative taking on a different personna, which is as it should be. While I guessed at the ending (sort of), it didn't diminish the pleasure of the book. While Bohjalian isn't know for mysteries, he's penned a good psychological mystery. I highly suggest reading Secrets of Eden.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2010

    Interesting Read

    I have read most of Chris Bohjalian's books. The plot was interesting and the ending made this story plausible and sad. Most of the characters struggle with their own personal histories. The pastor is quite reserved and hides many secrets even it means having his life changed forever. Mr. Bohjalian's writing style is intelligent and introspective. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

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  • Posted April 3, 2010

    another winner

    In his usual style, Chris tackles a social issue by bringing you into the lives of his characters. Having read all his other books, I read this one looking for clues and yet still was surprised by the ending. In this book, domestic violence is the main focus and his characters are believable and sympathetic. Well worth picking up.

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  • Posted March 29, 2010

    Well Written

    Once I started this book I had a hard time putting it down. I just wanted to see what would happen next. So, I started and finished the same day. It was well written. You didn't know for sure the ending, but you could guess.

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Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 248 Customer Reviews
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