Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian
A Novel

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From the bestselling author of The Double Bind, Midwives, and Skeletons at the Feast comes a novel of shattered faith, intimate secrets, and the delicate nature of sacrifice.

"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.

Secrets of Eden is both a haunting literary thriller and a deeply evocative testament to the inner complexities that mark all of our lives.  Once again Chris Bohjalian has given us a riveting page-turner in which nothing is precisely what it seems.  As one character remarks, “Believe no one.  Trust no one.  Assume all of our stories are suspect.”


About Chris Bohjalian

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CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of twelve novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, and Midwives. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club. His work has been translated into more than 25 languages and twice became movies (Midwives and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter. Visit him at or on Facebook.From the Hardcover edition.
Published January 28, 2010 by Crown. 388 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Part I opens with the first-person testimony of Stephen Drew, minister to a Baptist congregation in Haverill, Vt., that includes Alice Hayward, whose husband George tops off years of beatings by strangling her after dinner on the day she chose to be baptized.

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Book Reporter

Stephen Drew is wrestling not only with his faith but with the tremendous guilt he feels over his secret affair with Alice.

Apr 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Secrets of Eden: A Novel

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Jan 27 2010 | Read Full Review of Secrets of Eden: A Novel

The Washington Post

It's not that Catherine refers to Stephen as a "dirtball" -- we're with her there -- or that she's quickly convinced that Stephen shot George and tried to make it look like suicide, which seems plausible enough.

Feb 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Secrets of Eden: A Novel Bestsellers

It's not a crime novel, though, but instead a finely tuned portrait of how people react to tragedies, both sudden and expected.Pros'Secrets of Eden' has a slow building tension, even though the crime happens at the beginning.ConsThe title doesn't really capture what the book is about.Description'...

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The puzzle in this novel is not who killed Alice - it was George, her alcoholic and abusive husband - but rather, who killed George later that same night, leaving his 15-year-old daughter, Katie, an orphan.

Feb 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Secrets of Eden: A Novel

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

She arrives from New York hoping to bring healing and understanding to the residents of the small town, it’s once-spiritual leader, Minister Drew, but most of all to Katie Hayward, the now orphaned child of Alice and George.

Mar 15 2010 | Read Full Review of Secrets of Eden: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

The phrase “secrets of Eden” appears when Heather Laurent and Reverend Drew are together in New York: “He pulled me against him and said simply, ‘There were no secrets in Eden’” (page 259).

Feb 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Secrets of Eden: A Novel

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