Monday, September 21, 2015

Blog Tour - The Secret Letters

The Secret Letters by Abby Bardi
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Publish Date: 7/1/15
Genre: Women's Fiction

My Rating:

About the Author

Abby Bardi is the author of THE BOOK OF FRED and THE SECRET LETTERS. She grew up in Chicago, went to college in California, then spent a decade teaching English in Japan and England. She currently teaches at a college in Maryland and lives in historic Ellicott City with her husband and dog.

About the Book

When thirty-seven-year-old slacker-chef Julie Barlow's mother dies, her older sister Pam finds a cache of old letters from someone who appears to be their mother's former lover. The date stamped on the letters combined with a difficult relationship with her father leads Julie to conclude that the letters' author was a Native American man named J. Fallingwater who must have been her real father.

Inspired by her new identity, Julie uses her small inheritance to make her dream come true: she opens a restaurant called Falling Water that is an immediate success, and life seems to be looking up. Her sister Norma is pressuring everyone to sell their mother's house, and her brother Ricky is a loveable drunk who has yet to learn responsibility, but the family seems to be turning a corner. 

Then tragedy strikes, and Julie and her siblings have to stick together more than ever before. With all the secrets and setbacks, will Julie lose everything she has worked so hard for?


I enjoyed the style of writing right off the bat with this story. The dialogue flowed very easily and the author really made you feel like you were a part of this crazy family dynamic. The letters that Julie and Pam find while cleaning out their mom's house add an interesting element to the plot line. Since the novel is called "The Secret Letters" I was really hoping for more investigation and attention on the letters. I felt like they were super important for a brief moment but then they sort of just faded away as we got more into Julie's story.

Each of the siblings dealt with their mother's death in a unique way and I loved seeing the interaction and emotions they all went through. This family and their struggles, both individually and together, was very realistic and easy to relate to. The reveal and eventual resolution of the letters happened a bit too quickly for my taste. While I definitely didn't see the twist coming at the end of this book, it was both too tidy and open ended at the same time. I wish we could have heard how Julie's story ended.

All in all, this was a fun, easy read and I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy a good family drama story. It's funny and engaging and the author's first person POV was very well done. She deals with some pretty serious themes throughout this story but the writing never brings you down too much.

Pair This With

 The Hot to Trot red blend from 14 Hands Winery is one of my favorite "go-to" wines. It has flavors of red berries and dark stone fruits with just a little bit of spice. It paired perfectly with the light- hearted yet sassy tone of this novel.


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