Review: The Secrets She Carried by Barbara Davis

The Secrets She Carried by Barbara Davis
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Pages: 385
Source: book provided by the publisher for review



When a young woman returns to North Carolina after a thirty-year absence, she finds that the once grand tobacco plantation she called home holds more secrets than she ever imagined.

Though Peak Plantation has been in her family for generations, Leslie Nichols can’t wait to rid herself of the farm left to her by her estranged grandmother Maggie—and with it the disturbing memories of her mother’s death, her father’s disgrace, and her unhappy childhood. But Leslie isn’t the only one with a claim to Peak.

Jay Davenport, Peak’s reclusive caretaker, has his own reasons for holding onto the land bequeathed to him by Leslie’s grandmother. Before she died, Maggie hinted at a terrible secret surrounding Adele Laveau, a lady’s maid who came to Peak during the 1930s and died under mysterious circumstances. Jay is haunted by Maggie’s story, yet the truth eludes him—until Leslie uncovers a cryptically marked grave on the property.

As they delve into the mystery of Adele’s death, Leslie and Jay discover shocking secrets that extend deep into the roots of Leslie’s family tree—secrets that have the power to alter her life forever.


Review: I could barely put this book down from the moment I opened to the first page. I love stories written in the “Old South”, especially if they’re a romantic mystery.

Secrets has two time periods and two female protagonist points of view that you read from; the 1930s and modern day. Adele and Leslie. Both points of view kept me fascinated from chapter to chapter.

It is so hard to not give things away that are important to the story. The title is metaphorical, at least in my mind, as everyone from Peak Plantation carried secrets.

I adored Adele from the beginning. Though she is unsure of herself, she soon learns how to stay out of her mistress’ way. She grows into a beautiful, strong woman who has fallen in love with the one person she shouldn’t have.

Suzanne…ugh. I hated her from the beginning. She never does anything to get you to like her; never redeems herself. She hates her husband, hates that he won’t become the man she thinks he should be, blames everyone but herself when it comes to the multiple miscarriages that she suffers…she’s just a spiteful, hateful, manipulative…witch.

Henry needed to grow a set. He could care less about his wife, though I don’t blame him there {even if he’d been attentive she would still be a nasty piece of work}, what the town thinks of him; Henry only cares about his beloved tobacco plants of Peak Plantation. He is pretty oblivious to anything and everything else that’s going on around him.

Though I found him quirky and adorable at first, I learned to want to punch him in the throat in time.

Leslie was just as easy to like as Adele, though there were times when I just wanted to grab her by her hair and force her to see what was in front of her face. My heart broke for her as her story unfolded; a father who murdered her mother in front of her, a grandmother she barely remembered and hadn’t seen in over thirty years, a mother she missed, and a life that was crumbling around her.

I adored Jay more than Leslie. He has secrets of his own, but he was so focused on creating a new life for himself and to get over the past. He isn’t overly receptive to Leslie when she finally shows up days before Peak would have been his according to Maggie’s will. I kind of wanted to hang out in the vineyards and watch the grapes grow. Watching him and Leslie dance around each other made their eventual romance feel real and not forced or overly sappy. It evolved from cautious to friendly and then they couldn’t deny that they were meant to be.

Comedy relief came in the form of Angie and her son. They were adorable and cracked me up repeatedly.

There are so many stories intertwined, but they are easy to keep track of as each one connects to the other.

Overall I didn’t want to put this book down for anything as it was intriguing as it switched from the past – from Adele’s point of view – and then Leslie’s modern day as she uncovered her family secrets. Set a weekend aside to get lost in the secrets of Peak Plantation. There are a few you never saw coming.