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Secrets
     

Secrets

3.4 53
by Jude Deveraux
 

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Jude Deveraux brilliantly entwines passion, memory, and a touch of intrigue in this spellbinding New York Times bestseller.

At age twelve, Cassandra Madden fell in love with Jefferson Ames, a young man she met at one of her mother's business conferences. For years, Cassandra held on to this unrequited love in order to cope with her

Overview


Jude Deveraux brilliantly entwines passion, memory, and a touch of intrigue in this spellbinding New York Times bestseller.

At age twelve, Cassandra Madden fell in love with Jefferson Ames, a young man she met at one of her mother's business conferences. For years, Cassandra held on to this unrequited love in order to cope with her loneliness and the pain of her mother's coldness; even after meeting a man she thought she might marry, her heart still yearned for Jeff.

In a decisive moment, Cassandra calls off her pending engagement and travels to Williamsburg, Virginia, to become the nanny to the now-widowed Jeff's young daughter. But the object of her desire barely notices her. That is, until the day she hears shots coming from the mansion of an eccentric neighbor, a world-renowned actress. Stepping into a world of deception, where no one is who they claim to be, Cassandra must unravel the secrets all around her — before she and Jeff can ever find happiness together.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A sweet love story filled with twists and turns." — Booklist

"Deveraux's touch is gold." — Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Romance titan Deveraux (Someone to Love , etc.) packs her latest with jagged surprises, but the pieces fail to fall together satisfyingly. At age 12, Cassandra Madden has been in love with also 'tween Jefferson Ames, whom she meets on a business trip with her mother. After college, Cassie moves to Jeff's hometown of Williamsburg, Va., and eventually becomes nanny to widower Jeff's daughter, Elsbeth. Jeff treats Cassie as part of the family, but reserves his romantic feelings for gorgeous Skylar, who despises Cassie and ignores Elsbeth. When she hears gunshots next door and finds aging film star Althea Fairmont lying prone but unharmed, she and the famous Althea become friends. As Cassie begins to archive Althea's Hollywood memorabilia, she uncovers Althea's hidden history and is drawn, with Jeff, into a dangerous web of secrets, lies and murder. The story has moments of humor and romantic chemistry, but they do little to salvage the unruly plot. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Deveraux's (Someone To Love) latest romance has an old-fashioned feel to it. Cassie Madden was a lonely 12-year-old when she fell in love with Jeff Ames. Years later, Jeff is widowed, and Cassie is nanny to his daughter in his home, still in love with this man who appears oblivious to her feelings. But things change when Cassie hears shots from a nearby estate and, upon investigating, meets infamous actress Althea Fairmont. The old movie star claims the shots were fired by her ex-husband, but Cassie has her doubts, and further involvement with Althea leads to the realization that not everyone-including Jeff-is who he/she seems. The re-creation of a 1941 murder at a Hollywood house party, complete with Cassie costumed as Althea and Jeff playing Althea's lover, a man acquitted of his young wife's murder, fittingly concludes the book. Readers will care about Deveraux's characters, and she manages to convey the feel of a classic Hollywood movie (gowns by Adrian) in a tale combining humor, romance, and mystery. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/08.]
—Elizabeth M. Mellett

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743437196
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
02/17/2009
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
648,252
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

1

"Cassie! Cassie!"

She opened her eyes to see her boss, Jefferson Ames, standing over her. He was wearing a pair of loose swim trunks and had a towel over his shoulders. Behind him was the ever-present Skylar. As always, she was smiling in that cold, I'm-gonna-get-you way that Cassie was too familiar with. And Skylar was letting Cassie know that when she and Jeff were married, Cassie would be fired. "Like I'd stay," she'd muttered to herself many times.

"Sorry," Cassie said, putting her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun. "I was lost in thought."

He looked down at her with amusement. Everyone else beside the pool was in swim attire, but Cassie had on big, army green shorts, an oversize T-shirt, and sandals. She was lying on a chaise, every inch of her body covered with beach towels. It was as though she'd die if a drop of sunlight touched her skin. "You are a dermatologist's dream," he said.

"I aim to please," she answered, looking past him and smiling at Skylar, who was narrowing her eyes at Cassie. Skylar had on a tiny bikini and her skin had been tanned to the color of walnuts.

Skylar stepped forward, all starved and honed five feet ten of her, her skin glistening with expensive oil. "I think Elsbeth has had enough sun for the day so I want you to take her home."

Cassie didn't lose her smile as she looked at Jeff for confirmation. They weren't married yet, so she refused to take orders from anyone but him.

Jeff's face didn't change. If he was aware of the war between his daughter's nanny and his girlfriend, he didn't give it away. But when he turned to look at his daughter, his face nearly melted with love. Whatever other problems he had, Jeff's love for his daughter was obvious to all. "She looks sleepy, and she's probably hungry. You know how she is. She'd stay in the water all day if she weren't dragged out."

Cassie looked out at Elsbeth in the kiddie pool. In her opinion, the five-year-old girl was the most beautiful child on the planet. She was sitting in the water wearing a suit of white eyelet, a matching hat, and most of a bottle of sunscreen. "Sure," Cassie said, throwing back one of the three towels covering her. "Will you be home for dinner tonight?"

She stood up and stretched. Cassie was several inches shorter than Skylar, but there was nothing on Cassie that wasn't real. Her mother spent many hours in a gym fighting against her natural curves, but Cassie loved hers. She'd once heard Jeff's father call her "a 1950s blonde bombshell with dark hair." It was all Cassie could do not to giggle and let them know she'd heard.

Skylar clutched Jeff's arm to her artificially enhanced breasts. "No, we're going out tonight. Just the two of us." She paused. "He'll have some real food for a change."

"Ah, right," Cassie said. "Home cooking isn't real food. I'll have to tell that to Thomas."

Jeff coughed to cover his laugh. Jeff's father, Thomas, lived with him, and just weeks after Cassie took the job of being Elsbeth's nanny, he'd asked to have some of what Cassie was cooking for herself and the child. From there it had gone to Cassie preparing dinner for the three of them. At first she'd left Thomas a plate in the warming oven while she and Elsbeth went upstairs to the playroom to eat, but he'd asked them to eat with him in the breakfast nook. From there it had gone to Thomas moving them into the dining room and setting the big mahogany table with candles and silver. "No use letting these dishes sit in the cabinet," he'd said as he put out the best china for them to use. If Cassie could use any term to describe Thomas, it would be "Old World gentleman."

Jeff spent the weekends with his daughter. Even if he had to work, he took her with him. Elsbeth was a quiet child who had no interest in rowdy group activities. Cassie would fill a backpack full of art supplies and Elsbeth would hold her father's hand and go with him wherever he led. There were times when Cassie could hardly hold back the tears at the sight of the widower and the motherless child together, clinging to each other.

The weekdays were different though because Jeff worked long, hard hours. But one night he'd come home from work to get a file he'd left behind and seen the three of them sitting at the dining table eating by candlelight and he'd joined them. By the end of the week it had become a regular event that they'd eat together. Because of Elsbeth's age, and Thomas's weak heart, they ate at six thirty, but Jeff didn't seem to mind. He said it beat calling the Chinese place and eating at the drawing board in his office. Sometimes he'd go back to his office afterward, and sometimes Cassie would hear him in the big library off his bedroom. But even if he had to work, it was nice that he got to spend more time with his daughter and father.

As for Cassie, when it had started that she was cooking three meals a day for four people, part of her wanted to protest. It wasn't her job to be a nanny and a cook, but she'd said nothing. Instead, she began to study cookbooks as though she were taking a graduate degree in the subject.

The best part was that cooking and eating meals together changed the household. Thomas put his name in for one of the plots that the gated community, Hamilton Hundred, had set aside for gardens, and he'd begun raising heirloom vegetables. They had purple tomatoes and blue potatoes for dinner. He began replacing the landscaper-chosen shrubs around the house with gooseberry bushes and rosemary. He planted raspberries along the back fence, and there was a blackberry bush growing smack in the middle of the front lawn.

"You've changed us, my dear," Thomas said as Cassie sautéed yellow squash and zucchini in a skillet.

Cassie just smiled. She felt that they had changed her more than she them. On the day she'd left her mother's house to go to college, she was as happy as a prisoner being released. The freedom at college had been wonderful, and she'd enjoyed every minute of it. It was after she graduated with what her mother called "a useless degree" in American history that the problems began. All during college she'd only had two boyfriends and she thought she was going to marry the last one. But when he'd proposed, she'd surprised both of them by saying no. With his pride irreparably wounded, he'd refused to so much as speak to her again. After Cassie graduated, she found herself a bit bewildered. For three years she'd thought that when she left school she was going to get married, have kids, and become a soccer mom, something that her mother hated but that Cassie thought would suit her.

Instead, after graduation, she found herself at loose ends, not sure where to go or what to do. Her mother had sold the house Cassie had grown up in, so the only home she had was Margaret's pristine, austere apartment on Fifth Avenue — and most anything was preferable to that.

After a few weeks of stoically listening to her mother tell her what she should do with her life, Cassie's love of American history led her to Williamsburg to see if she could find a job there. Williamsburg, with its gorgeous eighteenth-century buildings, seemed to call to her.

For two years Cassie worked in various jobs about town. She answered telephones for lawyers, and for a while became a gofer for a famous photographer. Then she got a job as an assistant in a preschool. "I must say that you are wildly overqualified," the woman who ran the school said, "but we'd be glad to have you."

It was at the school that Cassie met Elsbeth and her father, and when the nanny had been fired — for forgetting to pick up her charge for the third time — Cassie took the job. That had been a year ago. Since then, she'd managed to form a family out of the widower, his lovely young daughter, and his ailing father, and she'd been happier than she ever had been.

But things had changed three months ago when Jeff announced that he'd "met someone." Thomas, Cassie, and Elsbeth had looked at one another over the dining table as though to say, We aren't "someone"?

The tall, very thin, magnificently self-assured Skylar Beaumont had entered their lives, and nothing had been the same since. Skylar was the friend of the husband of a woman Cassie had met at the club at Hamilton Hundred, a woman Cassie had never liked. From the first day, Skylar entered the quiet, peaceful house as though she owned it. Laughing, she'd told Jeff how she planned to redecorate every inch of the place.

Thomas and Cassie had stood there in stunned silence. Jeff's beloved late wife, Lillian, had decorated the house, and therefore it was sacrosanct. Cassie knew better than to so much as move a flower vase because Lillian had put the vase there and that's where it would stay.

But when this woman came into their comfortable lives and began talking of changing everything, Jeff had just stood there smiling.

Cassie hated the woman. She told herself she had no right to hate her, that she probably loved Jeff, but she still hated her. On her third visit to the house, Skylar had handed Cassie her expensive silk jacket and asked her to "give it a little bit of a press, would you?" Cassie had smiled, taken the jacket to the laundry room, and set the hot iron on the back of it and burned a hole through it. Afterward, she'd apologized profusely and even offered to buy a replacement. She said she'd seen that very jacket at Marshalls just last week. That had sent Skylar into a rage, insisting that she'd bought the jacket at Saks, not at a discount store.

Cassie was sure she wouldn't have been as bad as she was if Thomas hadn't been standing in the doorway and covering his laughter with his hand. They had never spoken of it, but she was sure he disliked the woman as much as Cassie did.

As for Jeff, he was clueless. He kept saying that Cassie was usually so good at what she did, so he was sure that the ruined jacket was an honest mistake.

The result was that Skylar never again tried to establish her authority over Cassie, but war had been declared. If Skylar did marry Jeff, Cassie would be out of a job, out of a home, out of a family.

But worse, she'd be sent away from the man she'd loved since she was twelve years old. Copyright © 2008 by Deveraux, Inc.

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Meet the Author

Jude Deveraux is the author of more than forty New York Times bestsellers, including Moonlight in the Morning, The Scent of Jasmine, Scarlet Nights, Days of Gold, Lavender Morning, Return to Summerhouse, and Secrets. To date, there are more than sixty million copies of her books in print worldwide. To learn more, visit JudeDeveraux.com.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Connecticut
Date of Birth:
September 20, 1947
Place of Birth:
Fairdale, Kentucky
Website:
http://judedeveraux.com/<p>http://www.facebook.com/JudeDeveraux

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Secrets 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I normally don't write reviews unless they are positive. This title did not meet the standard this author usually writes. The storyline was promising. However, it read like the outline of the story vs the end result of a written novel. The hardback price of this title made me irritated. I felt this read like a 1970's Harlequin. Sorry, but it is 2008. Hopefully, things will be better next time out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually enjoy reading Jude Deveraux books, but Secrets is disappointing. It didn't really keep my attention. I also feel that it should have ended differently. I finally made it to the end, and it stopped before all the good stuff. Like Jeff and Cassies wedding and a Cassies reuion with Elsbeth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read most of Ms Deveraux books. This one is very boring. I put it down in the middle of it to read another book. Ms Deveraux should stay with the Velvets or Night in Shining Armor. She is an author I buy just because it is hers. Now I have to be more careful
Babette-dYveine More than 1 year ago
I've read most of Ms. Deveraux's books. This is not one of her better ones. The whole premise was absurd, and I really found it somewhat boring. She can do a lot better!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed in this book. I usually enjoy this author, but fell asleep several times trying to get through this one. It was hard to follow, not very believable and did not come together in the end. I figured this must be a re-release of one of her first books, but I was wrong.
harstan More than 1 year ago
As a twelve years old child Cassie Madden fell in love with kindhearted Jefferson Ames. Although she moaned being born too late, as he is older than her, she still wanted to be near him as often as possible.------------ Years later at college Cassie knows that in spite of being engaged to someone else, she still loves Jefferson, who is a widower raising his daughter five years old Elsbeth. She ends her engagement and travels to Williamsburg, Virginia where her Jeff lives with his offspring. She becomes Elsbeth¿s nanny. Meanwhile Jefferson, his friends and his father enjoy the antics of elderly eccentric movie-actress Althea Fairmont who lives nearby. Althea arranges a special performance of a real unsolved murder mystery with Cassie and Jeff starring in the lead roles her goal is to see if anyone can uncover the truth while Jeff begins to fall in love with Cassie who never stopped living him ---------------- The romance is well written as the lead characters are a fine pairing once Jeff no longer considers Cassie as a younger sister. However, the tale belongs to the mystery as seemingly everyone conceals SECRETS with every revelation the plot twists and keeps twisting. Readers will enjoy this engaging romantic whodunit as the support cast will keep the audience wondering what secret Jude Deveraux will reveal next.------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous 12 months ago
Sorry I found this book confuseing- Could not finish lt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although a little different from her other works, it does not disappoint.
8512 More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anyone that loves a good love story with romance and intrigue. Not too predictable. It was hard to put down. A nice finish. Jude fans will like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
drongie More than 1 year ago
Another story with well developed characters and completely interesting story line.
zuKZ More than 1 year ago
Read like a rough draft. Plot ( if you can call it that) jumped all over the place leaving huge gaps and details that did not add up. Worst Deveraux book I have ever purchased.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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ruthhill74 More than 1 year ago
Although this is the first book I have ever read by Jude Deveraux, I have seen her name all over book sites and the web for some time. I was under the impression that she was just a good romance author, and so when I picked up the book, I figured that was what I would be reading. Something light and nice with a basic romance plot. Nothing could be further from the truth! I now understand why this author is a best-selling novelist. She is so much more than a typical romance novelist. She is a master as romantic suspense writing, and I was completely engrossed in this book. There was so much I appreciated about this novel. It had a strong romantic story--which was what I was initially looking for. In addition to this, she added a fantastically suspenseful plot with lots of twists and turns. I remember thinking halfway through that I was not even assured what would happen at the end! Would it even end how I thought it should? I would certainly put Jude Deveraux in the same category as Agatha Christie, and that is saying something. I found myself not wanting to put this book down once a chapter finished because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. There was never a dull moment in this book, and the writing was dynamic! The other thing I appreciated about this book was the absence of steamy sex scenes. While sex was mentioned as having happened, it was not described in detail. I also appreciated the absence of vulgar language. There was an occasional mild word, but nothing that was truly horrendous. This author has easily become one of my favorite romance novelists, and I can hardly wait to read more of her books. I now know why she is considered one of the greats!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sagey More than 1 year ago
pains me to say it because i love jude, but this was not a good read.
Angel68OH More than 1 year ago
Contemporary romance is a hard sell for me, but being my favorite author, I was compelled to read this when it was first published and found myself riveted to the characters and the unraveling of the secrets kept me from being able to put it down until the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Usually I like Jude Deveraux books. However, I have read three of her books in a row and have been extremely disappointed. This was another disappointment. The story was silly and unbelievable. You want to read some of her best works, read the Velvet series or Knight in Shining Armor. Her latest group of books is making me change my mind about what I buy of hers from now on. Save money and check her books out at the library. These last few have not been worth the money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once in awhile this author writes a rather odd story and this is one of them. It started out promising but became complex and difficult to follow. By the last six or so chapters, I just wanted to get through it, I should have stopped sooner it was a waste of reading time. Maybe the next one hopefully is much better.
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