10 Books Brimming With Family Secrets

Anyone who's ever read a novel rife with family drama knows, it's nearly impossible to keep a secret hidden—especially from those who share your lineage.


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In her novel The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood writes: “The best way of keeping a secret is to pretend there isn’t one.” But as anyone who’s ever read a novel rife with family drama knows, it’s nearly impossible to keep a secret hidden—especially from those who share your lineage.

These ten novels are roiling with unspoken truths—from clandestine affairs to concealed parentage to hidden treasure—that will have you rapidly turning the page to see if they get revealed.

Author Yona Zeldis McDonough knows a thing or two about secrets. Her latest novel, The House on Primrose Pond, out now in paperback, is awash with deep-seated surprises that keep bubbling to the surface.

As the narrative opens, historical novelist Susannah Gilmore, still spinning after a traumatic loss, decides to uproot her life—and the lives of her two children—and leave Brooklyn for the little town of Eastwood, New Hampshire. While the trio adjusts to their new surroundings, Susannah is captivated by an unexpected find in her late parents’ home: an unsigned love note addressed to her mother, in handwriting that is most definitely not her father’s.

Reeling from the thought that she never really knew her mother, Susannah finds mysteries everywhere she looks: in her daughter’s friendship with an older neighbor, in a charismatic local man to whom she’s powerfully drawn, and in an eighteenth-century crime she’s researching for her next book. Compelled to dig into her mother’s past, Susannah discovers even more secrets, ones that surpass any fiction she could ever put to paper.

Featured Image by Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com

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yona mcdonough

YONA ZELDIS MCCDONOUGH is the author of novels such as A Wedding in Great Neck and You Were Meant for Me as well as dozens of books for children. She is the editor of and a contributor to The Barbie Chronicles: A Living Doll Turns Forty, as well as All the Available Light: A Marilyn Monroe Reader. She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

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