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Extended Audio Sample Secrets of Eden: A Novel, by Chris Bohjalian Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (6,677 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chris Bohjalian Narrator: Mark Bramhall, Susan Denaker, Rebecca Lowman, Kathe Mazur Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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"There," says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality of that short utterance, feels his faith in God slipping away and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about . . . angels. 

Heather survived a childhood that culminated in her own parents' murder-suicide, so she identifies deeply with Alice’s daughter, Katie, offering herself as a mentor to the girl and a shoulder for Stephen – who flees the pulpit to be with Heather and see if there is anything to be salvaged from the spiritual wreckage around him.
But then the State's Attorney begins to suspect that Alice's husband may not have killed himself. . .and finds out that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “To call this fine novel a mystery would be like calling the Hallelujah Chorus a nice song. . .Bohjalian has written a gripping story that keeps the reader turning pages to find out what really happened...But there is so much more in this rich story. Bohjalian delves into the profound mysteries of human existence. What is faith? What is love? And who are really the angels among us? Winston-Salem Journal
  • [A] suspenseful page-turner...This book will entertain you with its suspense, but it will also make you think about how hurtful secrets can be. Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  • Secrets are sprinkled throughout a Chris Bohjalian novel like loose change spilled from the pockets of a master storyteller. . .exquisite. . .magic is rediscovered in 'Secrets of Eden.' Tom Mayer, Lake City Reporter
  • Bohjalian has built a reputation on his rich characters and immersing readers in diverse subjects—homeopathy, animal rights activism, midwifery—and his latest surely won’t disappoint. The morning after her baptism into the Rev. Stephen Drew’s Vermont Baptist church, Alice Hayward and her abusive husband are found dead in their home, an apparent murder-suicide. Stephen, the novel’s first narrator, is so racked with guilt over his failure to save Alice that he leaves town. Soon, he meets Heather Laurent, the author of a book about angels whose own parents’ marriage also ended in tragedy. Stephen’s deeply sympathetic narration is challenged by the next two narrators: deputy state attorney Catherine Benincasa, whose suspicions are aroused initially by Stephen’s abrupt departure (and then by questions about his relationship with Alice), and Heather, who distances herself from Stephen for similar reasons and risks the trip into her dark past by seeking out Katie, the Haywards’ now-orphaned 15-year-old daughter who puts into play the final pieces of the puzzle, setting things up for a touching twist. Fans of Bohjalian’s more exotic works will miss learning something new, but this is a masterfully human and compassionate tale. Publishers Weekly, starred and boxed review
  • Bohjalian "drops bombshell clues...and weaves subtle nuances of doubt and intrigue into a taut, read-in-one-sitting murder mystery. Booklist, starred and boxed review
  • Bohjalian's most splendid accomplishment to date. . .A fantastic choice for book clubs, this novel deals beautifully with controversial topics of domestic abuse, faith, and adultery without resorting to sensationalism. Breathtaking. Library Journal, starred review
  • Specificity and complexity and. . .a somber power. Kirkus Reviews
  • Suspenseful. . .romantic. . .a deeply satisfying novel. The Washington Post Book World
     
  • Poignant. . .Harrowing. . . Bohjalian has given us an important addition to the story of World War II. The Boston Globe
  • Ingenious. . .compelling. . .Judging who's right or wrong is difficult and one senses that's just the way Bohjalian wants it. Los Angeles Times
     
  • Mixes the nail-biting brutality of The Kite Runner with the emotional intimacy of Anne Frank's diary. Austin American-Statesman
     
    Praise for The Double Bind
     
  • The Double Bind is simply one of the best written, most compelling, artfully woven novels to grace bookshelves in years. Immediately after the spellbinding surprise ending, readers will want to begin again at the first page. It’s THAT good. Associated Press
     
  • “Chris Bohjalian has always known how to keep the pages turning…Bohjalian describes the aftermath of that ruinous night in varied voices, effortlessly slipping into the heads of the shaken local pastor, the no-nonsense deputy state attorney, and the best-selling author whose own past draws her to the scene of the crime…A study of guilt and grief.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Bohjalian has a knack for creating nuanced, detailed first-person female characters…Secrets of Eden speeds along pleasingly as both thriller and character study.”

    Seattle Times

  • “A superb ensemble cast keeps the characters clearly delineated in this harrowing story.”

    AudioFile

  • “Superb…Fans of Bohjalian’s…other novels know to expect the unexpected and, thanks to his creativity and cunning, readers usually get walloped by one heck of a plot twist by book’s end.”

    USA Today

  • “To call this fine novel a mystery would be like calling the Hallelujah Chorus a nice song…Bohjalian has written a gripping story that keeps the reader turning pages to find out what really happened…But there is so much more in this rich story. Bohjalian delves into the profound mysteries of human existence. What is faith? What is love? And who are really the angels among us?”

    Winston-Salem Journal

  • “Suspenseful…searing…Bohjalian has written a literary murder mystery that hooks readers early and keeps its secrets until the end…Bohjalian’s book is about the power of secrets and sacrifice and a warning against jumping to judgment. Those who doubt their faith, he writes, are sometimes the strongest among us.”

    Miami Herald

  • “This book will entertain you with its suspense, but it will also make you think about how hurtful secrets can be.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “Superbly written—vivid and horrifying without being melodramatic…A tribute to Bohjalian’s storytelling skill.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Bohjalian has built a reputation on his rich characters and immersing readers in diverse subjects—homeopathy, animal rights activism, midwifery—and his latest surely won’t disappoint…A masterfully human and compassionate tale.”

    Publishers Weekly, starred review

  • “Artfully crafted…Poignant…Weaving in an atmosphere of doubt and intrigue presents a perfect opportunity for debate about the real meaning of right and wrong.”

    Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

  • “Bohjalian’s most splendid accomplishment to date…A fantastic choice for book clubs, this novel deals beautifully with controversial topics of domestic abuse, faith, and adultery without resorting to sensationalism. Breathtaking.”

    Library Journal, starred review

  • A "Must-Read Book for Spring," Today Show, Weekend Edition
  • IndieBound Indie Next pick, February 2010
  • "Superb. . . .Fans of Bohjalian's 11 other novels (including Midwives) know to expect the unexpected and, thanks to his creativity and cunning, readers usually get walloped by one heck of a plot twist by book's end. In Secrets of Eden, the old saw that none of us knows what really goes on in a house when the shades are drawn rings chillingly true. Carol Memmott, USA Today
  • Superbly written - vivid and horrifying without being melodramatic....a tribute to Bohjalian's storytelling skill. The Boston Globe
  • "Suspenseful. . .searing. . .Bohjalian has written a literary murder mystery that hooks readers early and keeps its secrets until the end. . .Bohjalian's book is about the power of secrets and sacrifice and a warning against jumping to judgment. Those who doubt their faith, he writes, are sometimes the strongest among us. Amy Driscoll, The Miami Herald
  • Chris Bohjalian has always known how to keep the pages turning. In his latest novel, a small Vermont hamlet has been racked by a well-established couple's apparent murder-suicide. Bohjalian describes the aftermath of that ruinous night in varied voices, effortlessly slipping into the heads of the shaken local pastor, the no-nonsense deputy state attorney, and the best-selling author whose own past draws her to the scene of the crime. . .[A] study of guilt and grief. Entertainment Weekly
  • "Page-turning. . .Bohjalian has a knack for creating nuanced, detailed first-person female characters. . .SECRETS OF EDEN speeds along pleasingly as both thriller and character study. Seattle Times
  • Artfully constructed and fiercely felt. . . Bohjalian. . .has deliberately wandered into thriller territory. . .He's playing with our minds in a way that ultimately evokes not Fitzgerald but that master of deviousness, Alfred Hitchcock. The Miami Herald
     
  • Terrifying. . .Laurel is an unforgettable, vulnerable, complicated character. The Los Angeles Times
  • Selected for the February 2010 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Carolyn | 2/19/2014

    " A decent read but not neatly as good as 'Midwives' by the same author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mark | 2/19/2014

    " My first encounter with Chris Bohjalian, but not likely to be my last. The story revolves around the apparent murder-suicide of an abused woman and her beast of a husband. The police investigation finds evidence that what first appeared to be a cut and dried case may harbor dark secrets. The woman's pastor becomes the focus of the investigation, as it turns out he may have gotten a little too close to the situation. Mr Bohjalian's writing is beautiful and the plot was sufficiently well developed to keep the reader fully engaged. One felt the tragedy of a life cut short viscerally. A sad story, made all the more effective because of its plausibility. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Paulette | 2/16/2014

    " This is a "best-seller". It held my attention and surprised me at the end. Not great fiction however. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alline | 2/7/2014

    " I really enjoyed Secrets of Eden. The foreshadowing throughout the book compelled me to keep going, it was difficult to put down (or turn off in my case because I listened to the audio version). Though the end was predictable, the twists and turns were interesting. I really enjoyed how the author developed the characters throughout the book, including the characters that died in the first chapter. "

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