Review: The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon

Justin Fisher has a successful career as the manager of a luxury hotel, a lovely wife, and a charming young son. While all signs point to a bright future, Justin can no longer ignore the hole in his life left by his estranged family. When he finally gathers the courage to reconnect with his troubled past, Justin is devastated to learn that his parents have passed away. And a visit to the cemetery brings the greatest shock of all—next to the graves of his father and mother sits a smaller tombstone for a three-year-old boy: a boy named Thomas Justin FisherWhat follows is an extraordinary journey as Justin struggles with issues of his own identity and pieces together the complex and heartbreaking truth about his family.

I received this book from Librarything and have been anxious to read it.  I was sucked into the story right away in the first chapter.  This is one of those stories that each chapter goes back and forth from a previous time to the present and focuses on different characters.  These kind of chapters make the story flow quickly and make you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happened next.  I also liked that the main character in this story was a man.  The adult man had a tragedy happen to him and you got to see how that related to his marriage and his life as a father.  It was a refreshing change from novels that I have read lately that tend to be focused on women.

This story was heartbreaking and at times I got sick to my stomach reading it because as a mother, it was incomprehensible to me to imagine what this father did to his wife and son.  Even though you see a child’s grave in the first chapter, there is no murder or child’s death, but what happens is just as tragic.

The way the author described in detail the pain the mother, Caroline, felt was so heart-wrenching to read.  I could hear her wails and sobs in my head.  You are jumping back and forth between Justin’s childhood and his married life and each of the stages of his life will tear at your heart.  The author also brought in the relationship of Justin’s in-laws to the mix which was a nice addition to the storyline. 

Every good novel has to have a twist to the story which is revealed at the very end.  I did have a inkling of the twist, but wasn’t sure until I actually read it. 

Caroline, the mother in the story, felt so strongly about having a “HOME” for her family with both parents because of her sad childhood.  But, it does make you think if she went too far to have that “solid family” that she gave up what she really wanted.  I think this says it all….
“Home was the place in which you were rooted by your beginnings, into which you were locked by your earliest consciousness.  It marked and branded you.  And if it was a broken, desolate place – the sort of place in which Caroline had begun – it would leave you hungry and dangerous, and punished for the rest of your life.”

This would be an excellent choice for book clubs, especially a book club of mothers.  This novel will encourage a lot of discussion about the choices made by all 4 of the main mothers in this story.  You will continue to be surprised all the way through and it will be a very quick read since you won’t want to put it down.  I give this four out of five stars!

Thanks to Librarything for sending me this novel.

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