Epic novel about the loss of innocence, on numerous levels

The Book of Secrets: A Novel - Elizabeth Arnold

Chloe Sinclair has lived for 25 years with the misery of her two-year-old son, Gabriel, disappearing from her home in small-town Northern California.  Now her husband, Nate, has left their home and antiquarian book business to return to tiny Redbridge, where it all began, with nothing but a cryptic note.

It's while searching the shelves for a book that a customer says he's ordered and paid for that she discovers Nate's coded journal.  As she figures out the codes, she learns that the childhood she and the Sinclair children (Nate, Grace and Cecilia) shared was nowhere as idyllic as she remembered.

This book is about both the loss of innocence and the challenge of assumptions -- on numerous levels.  The characters are well-drawn, and no one is quite what they seem ... as we learn over the course of Chloe's work with the journal.  The author brings you into Chloe's underprivileged world as a contrast to the prim and proper Sinclairs', which is a useful method of letting us know why Chloe wants so much to be part of this other family.

I did add this to my "dark side of religion" shelf on Goodreads, however, as there are some references to the Sinclair patriarch, Joel, and his religious mania that, in my opinion, approached child abuse.  As a result, this book may be triggering for those who has experienced such in their own lives.

Fans of literary fiction will find much to enjoy here.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/701873128