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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
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
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
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.