It’s no secret I love fiction about complicated families. When I stopped to think about my favorites, I realized how many of those complications are due to family secrets and the way what’s said—or left unsaid—causes friction. Sometimes the skeletons are literal; sometimes they’re metaphorical.
That makes for compelling reading. Such stories ignite my natural curiosity about what’s at the center of these families and I love to read on and see how the secrets will unfurl. These stories also get me thinking about how I would react if it was happening to me … and about the once-hidden secrets from my own family that have come to light over the years.
Stories built on secrets can serve as a meditation on the way people contain multitudes. Some characters resonate, while others make me despair over their choices—but either way, I’m going to keep turning the pages until I see how it’s all resolved.
Every family has its own issues, it’s true, but I hope you’ve never encountered a family secret like the ones in the pages of today’s books. We’ve got a mix of contemporary fiction, literary fiction, mystery, thrillers, and even YA. One of the books is this month’s selection in Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club. Peng Shepherd joins us on August 25 as we delve into The Cartographers so be sure to mark your calendar.
I would love to hear about your experience with secret-driven family stories, plus your recs along these lines, in the comments section.
20 notable novels featuring family secrets
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What are your favorite novels about family secrets? Please tell us all about them in the comments section!