Summer’s Child by Diane Chamberlain

You can always count on Diane Chamberlain to weave together a story that will keep you guessing and make it hard to put down until the very last page and you know the truth. ~Sheila

When 11-year-old Daria Cato sneaks out early from her North Carolina home to look for shells along the beach, she finds a newborn baby left along the shore. With no evidence of who the baby girl may belong to – Daria’s family adopts her, naming her Shelly and providing her a safe and happy home to grow in.

Twenty years later, Shelly is a young gorgeous woman who still lives with Daria in the Cato home. Daria as well as her sister Chloe love Shelly like a sister and will go to great lengths to protect her. When an old neighbor of the sisters comes back to the area set on digging into the mysteries surrounding Shelly’s birth – old wounds are reopened and a town that takes care of its own is found to have more buried secrets than anyone could have imagined.

I picked this book up recently at our Friends of the Brainerd Public Library sale and it came with me to Boston this past week. I first was introduced in Diane Chamberlains books in 2014 when I was helping a friends with her bees in Florida (true story). I spent many a long day working with bee hives and listening to Diane Chamberlain books on audio. I fell in love with her writing style – she has such a unique way of drawing you in and leading you to a conclusion that you do not see coming.

I have to say, out of all of the Chamberlain books I have read – this is my least favorite. While it still had the twists and turns I have come to know and love – there were several areas of this book that did not flow for me. Without going into too much detail so as not to create spoilers –

  1. Some of the language (words) used to describe certain characters felt outdated and improper – almost cringeworthy when I read them. (In her defense, maybe this was intended for setting the full feel of the book) yet every time I found this in the book it stopped the flow of reading for me.
  2. The way a few spots came together did not quite fit or flow as they should. I found myself thinking that it came together too easy, there eshoudl have been follow up questions, this should have raised a flag, etc… and yet it did not.

This is a book originally written in 2000 – so quite honestly, it is an older title of hers, and I belive possibly the oldest of her writings that I have read. While I still enjoyed the characters, the setting and the outcome (yes, I was surprised again – yet have follow up questions), I belive I will stick with her more recent publications.

If you have not read Chamberlain – I highly recommend you do! Her books are typically fantastic in book format as well as audio. Here is a link to reviews of her books I have read and enjoyed:

Big Lies In A Small Town
Keeper of the Light
Pretending To Dance
Necessary Lies
The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes
The Midwifes Confession
The Silent Sister


Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

Necessary Lies, Diane Chamberlain, Book Journey

15 year old Ivy lives on a tobacco farm with her grandmother, older sister and nephew.  In most situations, Ivy feels like the adult as her grandmother is growing feeble, her sister struggles with mental illness, and often Ivy is left to care for nephew who is at the age where he gets into everything.

Jane Foster doesn’t need a job.  In fact her husband would quite prefer if she would be content doing what other wives of his profession do… have lunch dates, set up  hair appointments, and plan dinner parties.  Jane however, is bored with that life and wants to do more.  She joins Grace County’s Social workers and is assigned to Ivy and her family.  Soon Jane finds herself too emotionally involved in Ivy’s case mush to the annoyance of both her boss and her husband.  When Jane finds out that Ivy’s sister had been sterilized so she could not have any more children and that the plans were in place to do the same to Ivy, Jane feels she must make a stand for this family.

With what feels like everyone against her, Jane makes hard decisions that affect not only her job, and Ivy’s family, but Jane’s own personal life as well.



Author Diane Chamberlain has never disappointed me.  Another mind blowing tale, except this one as I learned, has truth within it.  At one time, there were state-mandated sterilizations that were used for those decided to be mentally ill, poor, anyone who the state deemed unable to take care of a child in their opinion.  Crazy stuff.

In Necessary Lies, the story is told alternatively from Ivy’s perspective to Jane’s.  It makes for an interesting read as these two women speak from their very different backgrounds.  As the story progresses both Ivy and Jane find that they are not so different after all.

Very well done book, I listened to this on audio and narrator Alison Elliott set the perfect tone for this book.  Fans of Diane Chamberlain, women’s literature, and historical fiction will not want to miss out on this one.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 51 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Release Date: September 3, 2013


The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain


My new author craze continues with yet another awesome book by Diane Chamberlain – she is like crack for my eyes!  ~Sheila

In 1977 Genevieve Russell was kidnapped from her home.  Genevieve was very pregnant at the time of her kidnapping.  She will never return home.

Twenty years later, Genevieve’s remains are found but there is no sign of the baby.

CeeCee Wilkes watches this unsolved crime unfold on the tv these twenty years later.  She is all too familiar with the case because she was there when it all went down.  Well, CeeCee was there, now CeeCee is known as Eve; and the beautiful daughter she raised and loved since that fateful day… is not her own.

This is my third book I have listened to on audio by this author and each time they simply amaze me.  As though ripped from the headlines of a story too crazy to not be true, I start listening and do not want to stop.

Admittedly, The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes did not grab me right away.  In the beginning, the very young and naive 15-year-year old CeeCee and her relationship with an older man bothered me.  I am glad however I stuck with this one as once you get into the heart of the story you understand why this relationship is in the book.

I was thoroughly roped in once again to a story of deception but with good reason… in the end, you really do not know who you should be cheering on as there is so much at stake for all involved.

Narrator Cris Dukehart is an excellent choice for this book.  With a bit of a southern twang she is a great fit. I think this is the first time I have heard her narrate.

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 13 hours and 10 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Release Date: March 25, 2013


The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain – Audio Book


When Tara and Emerson’s long time friend Noelle commits suicide the two women are left with many questions.  Noelle never showed any sign of depression or had any reason to commit suicide.  Noelle was always pleasant and happy.  She had been a midwife and loved what she did.  Yet when Tara and Emerson start cleaning up Noelle’s things they find a shocking letter.

Dear Anna, What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I’m so sorry.

Suddenly Tara and Emerson are thrust into a situation where they need to make hard ethical choices.  It turns out, they really did not know their friend at all.

It was just a week or so ago I stumbled across this amazing author when I listened to The Silent Sister and was blown away by the totally engaging read.  Seriously, The audio was amazing to listen to and Diane Chamberlain was suddenly an author I wanted to listen to more of.

Yet I had to wonder, was Silent Sister a one hit wonder?

No.  A resounding no.  Diane Chamberlain nails it again with The Midwife’s Confession.  Right from the start I found both Emerson and Tara to be likable people.  Through them and their memories as well as flash backs, I was able to get to know Noelle as well.

Beautifully told, Noelle’s story is a great addition to filling in the holes of what her friends did not know.  Another mind-blowing listen that had me guessing what the outcome would be… and when I knew… I was shocked again.

Narrated by a wonderful cast:  Angela Dawe (Narrator), Cassandra Campbell (Narrator), Abby Craden (Narrator), Xe Sands (Narrator),and Cris Dukehart (Narrator). Distinctive voices, perfect pitch… I am usually not a fan of multiple narrators in a book as it can feel choppy but this was not the case at all.  The story line flowed smoothly through the entire listen and I was so immersed that I could not tell you where one narrator stopped and another started.  Seamless.

If you have not read Diane Chamberlain I highly recommend you do.  The two books I have listened on audio to in this short amount of time have been amazing and I look forward to my next adventure with this author.

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 21 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Release Date: May 13, 2013

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

The SIlent Sister, Diane Chamberlain, Book Journey

Ok seriously… how have I missed out on this amazing author?  ~Sheila

Riley MacPherson was only two years only when her older teenage sister Lisa committed suicide.  Although Riley was too young to really remember Lisa, who was on her way to Julliard as a very gifted musician, Riley does know this was about the time her family fell apart.  Her mother battled with depression and eventually cancer takes her from them.  Her father acts as though nothing has happened at all and refuses to discuss it.  Riley’s older brother Danny begins to pull away from the family and continues to be estranged even into his adult life.

Riley, now in her 20’s returns to her childhood home after her father’s passing to take care of the family properties.  Through encounters with different local people and finding in her father’s home – evidence leads to the fact that Lisa may not have committed suicide after all…

and if that is true….

What happened?  And where is she now?  Is she alive?

The Silent Sister absolutely blew me away.  So good in fact that I flipped through web pages of this authors other books and while I recognized covers, I feel as though I have read none of her other books.  BIG MISTAKE on my part.

The Silent Sister is an excellent take on how far a family will actually go to protect one of their own.  While perhaps well-meaning – the MacPherson’s are the definition of dysfunctional.  Hidden agendas and secrets from one another leave the two remaining MacPherson children (Riley and Danny) left with a twisted mess that only tangles more as the story goes on.  While one might say the plot is too entangled, too messed up – it is that what takes this read to the next level.  Let’s face it – we live in a twisted messed up world.

When we practice to deceive…

I loved this book!  I listened to it on audio and the amazing Susan Bennett narrated very well.  Alternating chapters come in to play as you start to fill in the whole twisted tale.

Absolutely read or listen to this one.  This book rates as one of the best I have read in 2014.