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The Secret Hour
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One of America's most mesmerizing storytellers, Luanne Rice enthralls readers with her moving tales of ordinary people in crisis--and how they are transformed by the enduring power of love and family. Now the author of Safe Harbor, True Blue, and other "New York Times bestsellers presents the gripping story of a man fighting for his family, a woman searching for her sister--and the promise of a new life where both least expected it...
The Secret Hour
Beneath his careful and controlled demeanor, attorney John O'Rourke is a man whose life is in turmoil. Since the death of his wife, he has been juggling the rigors of a controversial capital murder case and the demands of raising two children. Eleven-year-old Maggie's crooked bangs and rumpled clothes eloquently reproach John's earnest but haphazard attempts at mothering. Teddy, John's stalwart fourteen-year-old, has quietly assumed responsibilities far too weighty for his young shoulders, as he longs for the way things used to be and tries to ignore the hostility that has swirled around his family since his father took on the defense of a killer whose crimes have rocked Connecticut.
A brick through the window one autumn morning signals a dangerous new level of hatred. But a quieter event also takes place that day. A woman arrives on the O'Rourke doorstep to find a household on the brink of chaos but brimming with love--and, she hopes, answers. Kate Harris is searching for the key to her own mystery. Six months ago her younger sister fled far from their beloved home following a devastating confrontation. After mailing a single postcard from the New England shore, Willa Harris vanished. With only a postmark to go on, Kate takes aleave of absence from her job as a marine biologist to come to the seaside Willa adored--and discovers the one man who may be able to help her.
Compelling and evocative, at once suspenseful, heartbreaking, and triumphant, The Secret Hour is an unforgettable novel that explores the power of sisterly love, the gift of second chances--and the way magic can sometimes be the most real thing in the whole world.

"From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

About the Author

Luanne Rice is the author of twenty-one novels, including Sandcastles, Summer of Roses, Summer's Child, Silver Bells, Beach Girls, and Dance With Me. She lives in New York City and Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Reviews

Rice, customarily a writer of inspirational domestic fiction, offers a fast-paced departure into the romantic suspense genre. Widower defense attorney John O'Rourke has become a pariah in his Connecticut hometown for representing a serial killer. As he and his children eat breakfast one morning, a brick crashes through their kitchen window, injuring John. Into this chaos walks Kate Harris, whom he mistakes for a nanny candidate. Kate, actually a marine biologist hoping to speak with John about her missing sister, puts off her own mission and easily falls into the role into which the lawyer has cast her. John finds himself drawn to her, and the two work together toward a satisfying, if somewhat predictable, conclusion. Libraries with tight budgets can safely choose the well-done abridgment, with its outstanding dramatic reading from Linda Emond. All of Rice's rich characterizations and descriptions of the Connecticut shore are included in the unabridged production, capably read by Barrett Whitener. Either version would be a solid addition to public library collections.-Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

When Kate Harris shows up at his door right after someone throws a brick through his window, defense lawyer and single father John O'Rourke can't decide whether she brings help or more trouble. In fact, she brings both in Rice's latest family drama (after True Blue; Summer Light; etc.) set on the Connecticut shore. John's client Greg Merrill, "The Breakwater Killer," on death row for a series of brutal seaside murders, is responsible for both Kate's arrival and the brick: John's neighbors resent his efforts to save the confessed criminal's life, while Kate wants the lawyer's help in determining whether Merrill killed her sister, who disappeared much like the killer's other victims, but whose body has never been found. In her quest, Kate falls not just for John but also for his children, Maggie and Teddy, as they grieve for their mother, recently killed in a car accident. John grieves, too, so bothered by memories of his wife's adultery he does not see what his children see-that Kate is just what the O'Rourke family needs. Familiar Rice themes of sisterhood, loss and the healing power of love are spotlighted, but Rice's interest in the human psyche has its dark side as well, demonstrated by her creation of a rogue psychologist who subverts the ethics of his profession. Since Rice's fiction often serves as beach reading, it is appropriate that the shore scenes, including a cinematic climax in an old lighthouse, should be among the novel's strongest. Rice's heartfelt personal tone and the novel's cunningly deranged villain make this a smooth-flowing and fast-paced effort, with justice served all around at the satisfying if predictable conclusion. (Feb. 4) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Praise for the novels of Luanne Rice "Exciting, emotional, terrific--what more could you want?" --The New York Times Book Review "Rice's trademarks are fine writing, a good eye for small detail, and an uncanny way of conveying the mysterious glue that holds families together." --Kirkus Reviews From the Hardcover edition.

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