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Deep and insightful, tense and dramatic, don't miss Mara Purl's "Child Secrets," third in her intriguing Milford-Haven series.

Haven Books Readers Services
Review by Joyce Seed

Mara Purl's third novel plunges beneath the turbulent surface of life in a small town, and takes readers on a subterranean treasure hunt, not just into the past, but into some of the defining moments of childhood - a kind of scuba-trip of the psyche.

In fact, one of the most exciting moments in the series thus far, is where main character Zack is caught in an underwater explosion, and...but I must surface for air before I say too much.

It doesn't hurt that there's a built-in audience from her hit radio series Milford-Haven, U.S.A. which had four and a half million listeners on the BBC. It also doesn't hurt that the Milford-Haven web site (www.milfordhaven.com) is hosted by the Family Internet which brings 1.5 million hits a week. And if you like broadcasting museum shops, all the major ones carry the Milford-Haven audio tapes.

But now the novels have an audience of their own, building momentum as Purl criss-crosses the country at book signings from Richmond, Virginia to Anchorage, Alaska, from Somerset, Kentucky to Los Angeles, California.

Purl uses environmental issues as the undertow in her complex cross-referenced stories which roll over each other like so many waves. Just when the water seems calm, the tide comes in bringing with it the detritis of buried secrets and hopes which float to the surface like long-forgotten messages in bottles.

Samantha Hugo as head of the Environmental Planning Commission faces off with corrupt builder Jack Sawyer - but he's also her e -husband; Zackery Calvin falls in love with wildlife painter Miranda Jones - but he works for an oil company. Chris Christian has gone missing while pursuing a story about the corporate ownership of a house under construction - but the CEO has ties to oil interests.

Adept at conveying vivid images of her California coastal setting, Purl also shows a special gift for vernacular expression - transplanted Arkansian Sally O'Mally's homespun lingo flies off her tougue faster than the grits fly off her skillet.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the novels turns out to be the journal entries, which so far have ended each book. The fast paced language of the main text gives way to deeply reflective soul-searching, replete with metaphor and observation. Indeed the title of each novel becomes the theme for each diary segment - a kind of expansively explored poetic icon which illuminates the preceeding text, and foreshadows the next novel in the series.

If you're searching for what to read next, and want a combination of escapism and thought-provoking prose, your answer is Child Secrets.

Author Mara Purl
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Milford-Haven Novels Menu

"What The Heart Knows" (Book 1)
"Closer Than You Think" (Book 2)
"Child Secrets" (Book 3)
"Cause & Conscience" (Book 4)
"Nobody's Fault" (Book 5)
"Dream Catchers" (Book 6 - Coming Soon)
"Christmas Angels"

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