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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BLOG TOUR: Game of Secrets by Dawn Tripp

Why hello there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place to be when you’re in the mood for a bookish treat and your palette says you’re up for anything.

Today’s choice falls into that category squarely though the book itself is truly fiction.  It comes to us via blog tour courtesy of Lisa at Sparkpoint Studios LLC and presents a story that is truly unique.  How so?  In this case, it’s all about the combination; the delivery and the actual plot.  This is a case where one would think things would fall into place quickly like sands through an hourglass, but in truth, we’re given small bits of sand like an oyster in which a pearl is expected to develop…and trust me, fair readers…it does.  Please join me in welcoming our blog tour guest and book of choice for the day…


From the author’s site
In 1957, Jane Weld was eleven years old when her father Luce, a petty thief, disappeared. His skiff was found drifting near the marsh, empty except for his hunting coat and a box of shot-gun shells. No one in his small New England town knew for sure what happened until, three years later, his skull rolled out of a gravel bank by the river, a bullet hole in the temple. There were rumors he had been murdered by the jealous husband of his mistress, Ada Varick. Now, half a century later, Jane is still searching for the truth of her father's death, a mystery made more urgent by the unexpected romance that her willful daughter, Marne, has struck up with one of Ada's sons. As their love affair intensifies, Jane and Ada meet for a casual Friday board game that soon transforms into a cat-and-mouse game of words long left unspoken, dark secrets best left untold.

It’s such an unassuming book; the cover not giving away nearly enough to tell what the story will be about (except secrets of course) but just enough to capture your attention.  It’s truly a thing of beauty.  One can only assume after reading the book that the images captured on the cover are that of Jane and Ada…though how they are even a part of each other’s lives is hard to imagine with everything that comes to light.  More on that later…

You’ll find I have a hard time explaining this one, or rather getting down to the brass tacks of things, without bursting into somewhat poetic and flowery rambles; for that I apologize in advance.  Even when asked directly about the book by a family member, I was hard pressed in how to respond.  How did I respond?  Something akin to…it’s like a Sunday drive where you know the landscape but the small changes that occurred over the course of a week still surprise you.  Yeah…like I said, a hard one to nail down, but allow me to try.

It’s not a fast read by any means but from what I experienced, it was never intended to be.  The language used is of the day but the cadence of their words is a tad hard on the ears…or the mind’s ears at least.  Strangely enough though, despite that little bit of off balance, it works.  It goes hand in hand with the story just as the two friends who shouldn’t be and yet somehow are work as the glue.  This is a story meant to slow you down and have you appreciate the tale spun as well as the joys of reading it.  Its one to wile away a day, not an afternoon as you get to know all the key players in this particular round, as you rack up the letters to be played sparingly or daringly (depending on if you’re personality is more Jane or Ada).  Speaking of racking up those letters…

You’ll find an oldie but goodie game as a center spoke to this story’s wheel…Scrabble.  It provides for many an interesting play as the dialogue is overtaken by the words spelled out and those hovering just on the edges.  It’s an appropriate match for this tale because much like the game, the story builds over time, meandering this way and that, giving into surprises you never imagined yet revealed so subtly you might miss them if you blink twice.  If you’ve ever played Scrabble, you know what I mean and if not, I’m certain you can imagine.  You start with an open board, nothing there to stop you from creating a masterpiece.  Turns are taken and then suddenly there are obstacles to contend with if you are to achieve that high score you seek.  A few well placed tiles and you are on your way to victory or ruin, but nothing is certain until all the pieces fall into place.  Sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it?  Speaking of lives…

Author Dawn Tripp does a great job in breathing life into her characters.  Sometimes with alternating viewpoints, especially when they go from past to present and back again, I can become quite simple and easily confused; not so in this story.  Each person we come to know and know well enough to distinguish them from the pack.  Jane with her simple yet refined ways, knowing when to take and when to leave things alone.  Ada with an air of arrogance and superiority and yet with a heart that beats fiercely beneath it all.  Huck though at times backwards and country, conceals more than he shares though if seen, the results may have been wondrous once upon a time.  Ray is a hard working fellow and though kin to Huck for the most part, his opposite…in a good way.  He’s not afraid to show what he feels, even if it’s not being openly returned.  Marne, the object of Ray’s attention, is a girl who’s lost her direction putting her not so far off course from her father.  Even Luce (the father mentioned there), whom is merely a ghost to the story overall and yet is heard from a chapter or two in order to complete things, comes out with a distinct nature; that of someone who doesn’t know what he has til its gone. 

Story wise, it’s a web woven with words that you’ll gladly be drawn into.  Plot wise, you’ll see some of the secrets peeking out around the corners but only just.  There’s well more than the one obvious one trying to be found out and what they end up being will definitely surprise.  I found myself carried away more by the present time recollections and the lazy Sunday meet ups than I did by some of the past reflections, but they are necessary and draw things together to form a sense of the lives into which we are intruding. 

In conclusion, a mixed batch of characters with more secrets to hide than meets the eye.  Just when you think things are all played out, another page turn and there’s another one reaching towards the sunlight…much like the “dink” words Jane always seems to have at the ready to tighten up the board.  It’s a story of life, love gained lost and found again, endings and beginnings, and the inevitability of it all.  It’s funny how things turn out sometimes, especially if we let nature take its course instead of standing in its way.  It seems she has a sense for what’s good for us for better or worse, if we only give her half the chance.

Recommended read for older teens through adults.  Aside from the heavier nature of the writing, the content steps into intimate territory a time or two and there are a few descriptions not lacking in detail that wouldn’t bode well with young ones dealing with death in its many colors.  This book just recently celebrated its paperback release last month so whether you prefer that or hardback, they should be readily available on a bookstore shelf near you.


About the author
Dawn Tripp is the author of the novels, Moon Tide, The Season of Open Water, and Game of Secrets, a Boston Globe bestseller. Her essays have appeared on NPR and online at Psychology Today. She teaches workshops on structuring the arc of a novel out of fragments of fact and fiction. She graduated from Harvard College and lives in Massachusetts with her husband, sons, and 80-pound German Shepherd.


Review copy received courtesy of Lisa at Sparkpoint Studio LLC.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this tour as well as their upcoming promotions, feel free to visit them online, like them on Facebook, link on LinkedIn, or follow along on Twitter.  To discover more about this title as well as the author’s other and current works, be sure to stop by Ms. Tripp’s official website, like her on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.

Until next time…happy reading!


....Petty Witter said...

Loving the sands through an hour glass comparison.

Melanie said...

Scrabble? I love that game, although I always lose, to be honest.

StephTheBookworm said...

This sounds good! I'm going to look for it at the library now.

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