A Secret Kept
Goodreads ratings
3.35 / 5

"A Secret Kept" Summary

By Tatiana de Rosnay

fiction | 303 pages | Published in NaN

This stunning novel from Tatiana de Rosnay, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Sarah's Key, plumbs the depths of complex family relationships and the power of a past secret to change everything in the present. It all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood. Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie's birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they'd returned to the island - over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased. But the island's haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car. Recovering from the accident in a nearby hospital, Mélanie tries to recall what caused her to crash. Antoine encounters an unexpected ally: sexy, streetwise Angèle, a mortician who will teach him new meanings for the words life, love and death. Suddenly, however, the past comes swinging back at both siblings, burdened with a dark truth about their mother, Clarisse. Trapped in the wake of a shocking family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children. How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself? Suddenly fragile on all fronts as a son, a husband, a brother and a father, Antoine Rey will learn the truth about his family and himself the hard way. By turns thrilling, seductive and destructive, with a lingering effect that is bittersweet and redeeming, A Secret Kept is the story of a modern family, the invisible ties that hold it together, and the impact it has throughout life.


Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

A man uncovers family secrets while on a trip to the island of Noirmoutier with his sister.


"A Secret Kept" is a compelling novel by Tatiana de Rosnay, exploring family secrets, healing, and the complexities of human relationships. Set in a picturesque coastal town in France, the story follows the protagonist, Antoine Rey, as he embarks on a journey to unravel the mysteries of his family's past. With its rich narrative and emotional depth, the novel delves into the intricacies of memory, loss, and the enduring power of love.

Brief Synopsis

The plot unfolds against the backdrop of the beautiful island of Noirmoutier, where Antoine Rey takes his sister, Mélanie, for a weekend getaway to revisit the places of their childhood. As they explore the island, a long-buried family secret resurfaces, leading Antoine on a quest to uncover the truth about his mother's untimely death. The story navigates through themes of grief, resilience, and the impact of hidden truths on the fabric of family life.

Main Events

1-3Antoine and Mélanie embark on their trip to Noirmoutier, reminiscing about their childhood and their mother, who died in a car accident when they were young.
4-6Antoine and Mélanie visit their childhood vacation spot, triggering memories of their family's past. Antoine becomes increasingly haunted by the circumstances of his mother's death.
7-9Antoine meets a woman named Angèle, who reveals a shocking connection to his mother. He begins to uncover long-hidden family secrets.
10-12Antoine's quest for the truth leads him to confront his father and delve into the complexities of his parents' marriage. He grapples with conflicting emotions and memories.
13-15As Antoine delves deeper into the past, he discovers the truth about his mother's final days and the events leading up to her tragic death. The revelations have a profound impact on his understanding of his family history.

Main Characters

Antoine Rey

Antoine is the protagonist of the story, a middle-aged man grappling with the loss of his mother and the complexities of his family's past. His journey to uncover the truth leads him to confront long-buried emotions and memories.

Mélanie Rey

Mélanie is Antoine's younger sister, accompanying him on the trip to Noirmoutier. She shares in the nostalgia and emotional exploration of their family history, providing support to Antoine as he unravels the secrets of their past.


Angèle is a mysterious woman who holds a key to the family's hidden truths. Her unexpected connection to Antoine's mother becomes a pivotal element in Antoine's quest for understanding and closure.

Themes and Insights

The novel delves into themes of family dynamics, the impact of loss, and the enduring influence of the past on the present. It explores the complexities of memory and the ways in which long-buried secrets can shape the course of one's life. Through the lens of Antoine's journey, the story also examines the resiliency of the human spirit and the transformative power of facing the truth.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "A Secret Kept" are taken on an emotional and introspective journey as they accompany Antoine on his quest for truth and healing. The novel offers a poignant exploration of family relationships, the enduring effects of loss, and the significance of confronting buried secrets. Ultimately, it reminds readers of the profound impact of uncovering hidden truths and the potential for healing and growth that accompanies such revelations.


Tatiana de Rosnay's "A Secret Kept" captivates readers with its evocative storytelling and poignant exploration of family, memory, and the enduring quest for truth. Through the compelling narrative and well-drawn characters, the novel offers a deeply immersive experience that lingers in the hearts and minds of its readers, inviting reflection on the complexities of human relationships and the power of understanding the past.

A Secret Kept FAQ

  1. What is 'A Secret Kept' about?

    A Secret Kept is a novel by Tatiana de Rosnay that follows the story of siblings Antoine and Mélanie, who return to the island of Noirmoutier to celebrate Mélanie's fortieth birthday. During their trip, they uncover long-buried family secrets that have a profound impact on their lives.

  2. Who is the author of 'A Secret Kept'?

    Tatiana de Rosnay is the author of 'A Secret Kept'. She is a bestselling author known for her compelling storytelling and emotional depth.

  3. What genre is 'A Secret Kept'?

    A Secret Kept falls under the genre of contemporary fiction and family drama.

  4. Is 'A Secret Kept' part of a series?

    No, 'A Secret Kept' is a standalone novel and is not part of a series.

  5. What are some themes explored in 'A Secret Kept'?

    Themes explored in 'A Secret Kept' include family secrets, sibling relationships, personal discovery, and the impact of the past on the present.