A Secret Kept: A Novel
Tatiana de Rosnay
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Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie's birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island , where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they'd returned to the island―over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased. But the island's haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.
Trapped in the wake of a family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children. How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself? Suddenly fragile on all fronts – as a son, a husband, a brother and a father – Antoine Rey will soon learn the shocking truth about his family and himself.
By turns thrilling and seductive, with a lingering effect that is bittersweet and redeeming, A Secret Kept is the story of a modern family and the invisible ties that hold it together.
more like Lucas, he decided, was enthralled by a Nintendo. When their parents spoke to them, they were answered by shrugs and grunts. Welcome to the club, thought Antoine. But at least this couple were in it together. They were a team. They could deal with the oncoming storms. He had to face the storms alone. When was the last time he had a conversation with Astrid about their kids? He couldn’t remember. And what were they like with her, with Serge? Were they just as bad? Worse? Better? How did
habit.” Instead, he concentrated on the highway opening up before him. Astrid still felt guilty about Serge—he felt it—about how he, Antoine, had found out about their affair. About the divorce. About the aftermath of it all. And she loved Mélanie dearly. They had been friends for a long time, and they worked in the same field, publishing. She hadn’t had the heart to say no. Astrid had sighed, “Okay, then. The kids can come to you later. Give Mel a hell of a birthday.” When Antoine stopped at a
hand, proud to be his son. But that was more than thirty years ago. “His bark is worse than his bite.” “Easy for you, you’re his little chouchou, his favorite.” She had the good grace to acknowledge this with a certain elegance. “Well, it isn’t always easy being the chouchou,” she mutters. Then she says, “How’s your family?” “They’re on their way. You’ll see them if you stick around for a bit.” “Great,” she says a little too brightly. “And your job, how’s that going?” I wonder why she is
starched white tablecloths. Nothing had changed. Mélanie whispered, “We used to come down the stairs for dinner. You had your hair plastered down with eau de cologne, and you wore a navy blue jacket and a yellow Lacoste shirt . . .” “Yes!” He laughed and pointed to the largest table in the room, the one in the middle. “We used to sit there. That was our table. And you wore pink and white smocked dresses from that posh shop on the avenue Victor-Hugo and a matching ribbon in your hair.” How
finally sinks in. My father’s cancer. My grandmother’s upcoming funeral. The tall, blond American. You better tell me how Clarisse died, right now. The next morning, when I get to the office, I look up Laurence Dardel’s number. She is Dr. Dardel’s daughter, probably in her mid-fifties now, I presume. Her father was the close friend, the family doctor who signed my mother’s death certificate as, according to Gaspard, he was the first to arrive at the avenue Henri-Martin on that fateful day