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Charlotte Dawes is raped at 14 by her cousin-by-marriage, the randy Ted, son of her uncle Cliff's new wife, Claudia, whose first husband was shot in—where else?—Chicago. When Charlotte becomes pregnant, then, her father and her romantic adventuress mother are wild with rage. Both are beside their daughter's bedside as she recovers from an operation for a ruptured tubal pregnancy. In the meantime, Ted continues to assault women and is finally arrested and indicted for rape and kidnapping. Home on bail, he escapes in the night. (Reports from abroad of Ted-sightings occur now and then.) Skip to Manhattan eight years later, where adult Charlotte works for an architectural firm. She loves her work but despairs of forming a firm relationship with a man, sex-shy as she is. She designs for her own pleasure a "public square" fit for the Dawes's now shuttered mill. Unfortunately, her family has inadvertently leased the mill to a polluting waste-disposal firm, to the anger of the town and the despair of the Daweses. Then Charlotte meets the dashing Roger Heywood, whose family deals in commercial real estate. Roger is not only able to come up with the ready cash to finance Charlotte's project, but (of course) coaxes her out of her trauma-related fear of sex. Finally, Claudia, trading on her late husband's mob connections, talks a boss out of retaining the mill. Looks like smooth sailing for the lovers, but disaster threatens again in the form of a flood and a potential terrible discovery.
Plain Plain (Promises, 1986, etc.), but nonetheless name- anointed for success.
"Belva Plain is in a class by herself."
—The New York Times
"A superb storyteller... A talent worth remembering... Mrs. Plain's novels are good stories well told."
—The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.)
From the Paperback edition.
On Thursday, June 12th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Belva Plain, author of SECRECY.
Belva Plain: Well, it's so new...as yet there are no plans. But there are some talks, who knows if they will come to fruition. I'm glad you liked EVERGREEN.
Belva Plain: I do research to a great extent particularly when I write about something that has happened outside my time. I don't talk to victims, but I do a great deal of reading. You don't have to have experienced something to write about it, but you do need to imagine yourself in the position of that character and hope that you have the right interpretation -- your readers will tell you if you have.
Belva Plain: No, Tracy. Well, I won't say never. I have written some historical articles about New Jersey -- but those are minor things, fundamentally I am a fiction writer.
Belva Plain: I'm sorry I haven't read it, though I have read about it. And I must say it was astonishing that she had the courage to write it, let alone go through with it. I have immense respect for her, and I must get around to reading it when I'm done doing so much writing.
Belva Plain: I haven't read any reviews about this one, but I've read many in my time. Of course I care about what people say about my writing, and of course I love to read the good ones, but I don't pay much attention to the bad ones, not too much anyway. Everyone is different and has different opinions.
Belva Plain: I'm happy to say that I think I do relate well with younger relations, I have grand children, several younger friends and most importantly a desire to keep up with life. And I think I do well, I see people reading my books in the library and book stores, so I think they like it. It's a different world than the one that existed before the thirties, there have been enormous changes, the women's movement, and I try to keep up with it all, and I think I do a pretty good job.
Belva Plain: I do thank you for saying that. That's what every writer wants to hear. They are based on living experiences, overheard conversations, newspapers, that's the idea of being a fiction writer, hearing ends of a story and using your imagination to make them come to life. I'm glad to say that what happens in SECRECY is not part of my life -- you'll know what I mean when you read it.
Belva Plain: I think yes, when you give an example like that. She's looking for trouble. But many girls have been date raped in very different situations, sometimes it's the girl's fault and sometimes it's not, it's hard to condemn anyone who's had such an experience.
Belva Plain: The award did not change the way I write. I write the way I speak, I write in airplanes, wherever I see ideas, expressions, the world is full of ideas. It's like what painters do, a thousand painters look at the same tree and all come up with different drawings, paintings, etc.
Belva Plain: It depends what the subject is. If I'm writing about a period when I wasn't alive, then I have to do a lot of research. I spend a of of time and have a lot of fun in the process. When I write about a contemporary subject then I don't have to do much research because it's happening all around me.
Belva Plain: I plan the whole thing, I'm never surprised -- I know just how it ends before I put pen to paper. I have it all outlined before I ever start. You know when you get in a car where you hope to end up.
Belva Plain: Oh dear, it's very hard to categorize them. I would say they are popular novels, they won't be read three hundred years from now. They are written with a great affection for the English language, I like my people to be real so readers will say, that's how I feel sometimes. When I do that I am pleased and very happy I was able to do it.
Belva Plain: I haven't seen any statistics that say Americans aren't reading. When I walk into the superstores I see tons of people buying books -- more so than ever before. I wouldn't use the word inspired because that implies that you try to be like them, but the ones I enjoy...the people who wrote big fat novels, like Dickens, Trollope. These you can put on any main street and they are alive, you don't get tired of them.
Belva Plain: Thank you for loving them...most of the time a year to a year and a half.
Belva Plain: Yes I think it does, I have a daughter who is doing some very good writing on artists like Mary Cassatt, as for my grandparents I've yet to find out.
Belva Plain: I'm glad you loved SECRECY -- you sure don't waste anytime, it just came out. I can't reveal too much about my current novel...it starts at the end of the Second World War, some of it takes place here, some in Europe, but I can't give anything else away.
Belva Plain: I think this is wonderful, this is my first experience, and I'm enjoying it. I don't use a computer but that's not to say that I don't think they are important. I write my novels first in longhand, it's much more comfortable than sitting upright. For me and for a good many other writers it's more comfortable to do it the old-fashioned way.
Belva Plain: It took one year, I don't rush because I work slowly and I do one draft -- make very few corrections, and that takes a very long time.
Belva Plain: Well, if I weren't a writer I would like to be a pianist or a ballerina, or a painter laughing however, I do what I can do and I'm glad I can do it. I think I always just liked to do it, before I reached high school I was writing, and I love it.
Belva Plain: I am coming to San Francisco on the 18th -- which is next week. I'll be in some bookstores which will be advertised. If you'll come and say hello I'll be delighted.
Belva Plain: I don't know her, I've not had the pleasure, she lives on the other side of the country. I'm not sure if our styles are the same, but it's nice to be grouped with someone who is so greatly loved.
Belva Plain: You see anyone on television will get in touch with your agent and your agent will take care of everything. We've come to the end and it's been very pleasant for me, I hope the audience has enjoyed themselves. With that -- good night!
Posted February 11, 2014
Posted February 10, 2014
Posted February 10, 2014
Hehe. Sorry. Hes just beimg curious. Whenever Im on hes always happy to see me. He likes to stick to my side and be with me. And thank you Coldstar and good luck with Lastclan!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2014
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Posted February 20, 2010
I received this book and when I got around to read it, lo and behold, it started on Page 45. I am trying to piece together what lead up to this Page 45. Very disappointed!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 14, 2004
Totally not what I expected when I picked this book up, but it turned out to be a great read. The bonds of blood can make us do the things we never thought possible or go to extremes for loved ones. I definitely reccomend this book to everyone.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 29, 2000
I enjoyed this book very much. I thought the characters were believable, and the plot interesting. There were some slow moments. Charlotte was not unlike many young women who find themselves pregnant...and 14. I especially enjoyed the way the story ended...with a sudden surprise, that caught me off guard. JKWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2014
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Posted November 12, 2009
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