Review: The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak

The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
Published: July 28, 2015
Publisher: MIRA
Format: via publisher
Rating: 4/5

Did she once have a sister? Has her mother lied all these years? Why?

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal—and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is the wealthy, controlling mother she escaped years ago.

Instead, she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid—Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at sixteen. He's back on the island, and to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Maisey's still attracted to him, but her heart's too broken to risk…

Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister.

Maisey's convinced that child existed. So where is she now?

My Thoughts
I loved that this book had two storylines in one. However the only thing I was upset about was that I had to wait almost half way through to get to the “secret sister” part. I did enjoy the story of Maisey and her journey of reclaiming her life after the end of her marriage and other tragedies in her life. She comes back home to help her brother who continues to hit rock bottom and to also try to put her life slowly back together all while having to deal with the rocky relationship she has with her mother.

She meets up with a guy from her past Rafe who wasn’t the ideal guy back then but who thinks he’s change and wants Maisey to get to know the guy he is now. He is raising his young daughter by himself and thinks Maisey might be the one to complete his life. I loved the love story and while they started off more as a sexual thing I loved that their emotions and feelings continued to grow despite them both wanting to suppress them as much as possible.

The other storyline going on was this whole “secret sister” mystery. Rafe discovers some old photos and soon Maisey is determined to find out whom this girl is and if in fact she is their sister. If she is where is she? Why doesn’t her mother ever act like she ever existed? Maisey was too little to remember anything and her brother is the one who doesn’t want to say anything in case there was indeed some wrong doing. Their mother wasn’t the most caring or loving mother in the world and she did have a mean streak but was it possible that she could’ve done something so evil?

This is the storyline that I really enjoyed the most. I’m a sucker for a great mystery/thriller and this one definitely fits the bill. We are taken on a ride that has twists and turns and great characters that gives us a rich and unforgivable story that keeps us intrigued to the very end. I see this is the first book in a new series and I can’t wait to see where this series goes, if this first book is any indication then we are in for a wild ride.


  1. I always think it's interesting when there are two different story lines, Monica; sometimes it goes well, and sometimes it doesn't - ha! I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

    1. I agree it doesn't always work but it did in this case.