Families have secrets. We all know that. Secrets they keep from one another and secrets they hold private within the confines of the family. House of Secrets by Tracie Peterson addresses the secrets of the Cooper family. Bailee is the oldest of three girls. Their mother died when Bailee was about 12 years old and the other two girls very small.
After their mother's death, their father manages to disassociate himself from them by hiring house keepers and nannies to care for them, and then later places them in boarding school. The book opens with Dad calling for a reunion of the girls, who have kept close to each other and involved in each others lives, across country at the West Coast island home they had been living in when their mother was removed from the home.
The girls have memories of emotional turmoil surrounding their lives while their mother was alive. Especially Bailee who bore the brunt of responsibility and pressure placed upon her young shoulders by a mother torn asunder by mental illness.
The web of secrecy covering the past and confusion about handling the root of these issues, and their uncertainty as to how they as individuals and as a family should face them stirs emotions and dredges them from the depths of their souls.
Tracie Peterson has woven romance into this tumultuous picture, and the healing balm of personal salvation takes place as well.
This book of contemporary fiction is certainly a different type of read from what I have come to expect from Tracie Peterson. I found it disturbing somewhat to read simply because of the sensitive and hard to handle issues of mental illness and the affects it has on all those with whom the patient has interaction.
Although it is not a treatise on a patient case or discussion of how to professionally handle mental illness within one's family, it does open your mind and makes you ask yourself, "How would I handle this situation?" "What would I want others to do if this situation should arise in my life?"
I can recommend the book for those who enjoy contemporary fiction and those who would find delving into the private thoughts and conversations of a family dealing with emotionally shattering issues.
I received this book free of charge from Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House in exchange for a review. I was not required to give a positive review.