Got secrets? Of course you do! Like it or not, our lives are rich with personal, professional, and family tales that could keep readers awake deep into the night. But do we dare risk the telling? If there is a story you that needs to be told, then perhaps the time has come to listen and give it voice.
In writing her novel, Elda Dawber placed her main character in the center of this dilemma. A successful romance writer, Donna Jean Brava has written an autobiography which provides the backstory of how she dealt with her own childhood abuse by her father and her uncles while suffering the cold indifference of her mother. Her recovery shows how love and friendship bring about her healing even though evil acts still lurk behind the door. As her family reads the manuscript and begins to unravel buried family secrets, the title of the novel becomes painfully appropriate. Hate and love vie for the upper hand as victims and perpetrators fear the same fate: “What if people find out?”
Perhaps surprisingly, the book is also filled with humor—which works as comic relief in the classically tragic sense—mystery, unexpected plot twists, revealed secrets and intrigue. Presented as a memoir within a novel, readers move through the main character’s history. But it is her actions in the present that propel the story through a series of compelling revelations affecting numerous characters in unforeseen ways.
Secrets often beget more secrets. So, why go there at all, one might ask? The author explains: ‘Like everyone else, I’ve had secrets, told secrets, kept secrets, and even spilled a few. But nothing on this earth prepared me for the damage and long term suffering visited upon children when secrets about abuse prevail.’
Elda Dawber lives in Rhode Island, surrounded by an amazingly loving and diverse family, covets a good mystery, gardens in milk crates on her back deck, loves to travel, still trains her fellow social service professionals, and – truthfully – hates secrets that keep children unsafe. Her novel “Wait Until I’m Dead!” recently won the Independent Publishers of New England 2015 award for literary fiction. She is currently hard at work on the sequel. Visit her website at http://www.eldamdawber.com.
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