The Secrets We Carried

The Secrets We Carried

Readers who love Susan Wiggs and Susan Mallery will adore New York Times bestselling author Mary McNear newest novel. A young woman travels home to Butternut Lake, confronting her past and the tragedy she and her friends have silently carried with them for over a decade while also facing an unknown future.Butternut Lake is an idyllic place—but for one woman, her return to...

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Title:The Secrets We Carried
Author:Mary McNear
Rating:

The Secrets We Carried Reviews

  • Vivian Payton

    Mary McNear’s THE SECRETS WE CARRIED is a novel that deals with loss, love, family, secrets, discoveries and healing. A terrible tragedy occurs many years ago when Quinn LaPointe was a senior in high school, and now she returns to her home and beloved Butternut Lake to face what she should have so long ago. After the accident, she left for college and never looked back. Guilt consumed her all these years, but now it’s time to return and face the darkness. She was a budding journalist who worked

    Mary McNear’s THE SECRETS WE CARRIED is a novel that deals with loss, love, family, secrets, discoveries and healing. A terrible tragedy occurs many years ago when Quinn LaPointe was a senior in high school, and now she returns to her home and beloved Butternut Lake to face what she should have so long ago. After the accident, she left for college and never looked back. Guilt consumed her all these years, but now it’s time to return and face the darkness. She was a budding journalist who worked for her high school newspaper and now, ten years later, she’s an accomplished writer. Writing all the memories she has of that tragic night helps her heal, and McNear alternates between the past and the present.

    Quinn is determined to seek out old relationships to begin the healing process. One of those relationships is her very best friend, Gabriel, who means more to her now than she could have possibly known back then. However, Gabriel isn’t as receptive to her as she thought he would be which hurts her to the core. “Since she returned to Butternut she’d foster a belief that seeing Gabriel was important to understanding her past.” More key characters are Jake Lightman, her late high school boyfriend, his brother, Tanner, and Annika Bergstrom, an old classmate who disliked Quinn. Quinn soon learns that all these characters are consumed with the same guilt she harbors, and once she begins to write her memories, her journey from the past helps to unfold secrets, new discoveries and new love.

    I won this book from Goodreads, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fast-reading and held my interest. The ending was tied up very nicely, and I was happy with the way it was done. What resonates with me is being able to go back to your roots, your childhood home and the memories held there, which I recently did. The new owners of my childhood home invited me into their home, and it helped me in so many ways. This is why I liked this book so much. I also decided to pass it on to another reader who said it was on her TBR list. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to Mary McNear and thank you to Goodreads!

  • DJ Sakata

    Favorite Quotes:

    Northern Superior High School had been built in 1930, when Americans still had a reverence for public education, and the two-story brick building, with a white stone arch over the entranceway and two white stone columns flanking it, spoke to the seriousness of the work to be done inside.

    Her closest girlfriend, Katrina, referred to these relationships as Quinn’s “eleventh-month specials.” This wasn’t intentional on Quinn’s part. It wasn’t as if she kept an eye on the calendar as

    Favorite Quotes:

    Northern Superior High School had been built in 1930, when Americans still had a reverence for public education, and the two-story brick building, with a white stone arch over the entranceway and two white stone columns flanking it, spoke to the seriousness of the work to be done inside.

    Her closest girlfriend, Katrina, referred to these relationships as Quinn’s “eleventh-month specials.” This wasn’t intentional on Quinn’s part. It wasn’t as if she kept an eye on the calendar as the anniversary of their first date approached. It was more like an inner mechanism of hers sensed a shifting of the light, a changing of the seasons. Either way, she was apt to end things before the earth had made a full rotation around the sun.

    My Review:

    This is one of those books that is hard to put down as I sense something important to the plot is coming that I really need to know and it is right around the corner, and it was true, but there are several more somethings, and then a few more I wasn’t expecting. I went at this book like an alcoholic on a binge as I couldn’t find a stopping place, nor would I have been willing to stop had I found one. Ms. McNear’s compelling characters and insightful and emotive writing held me in place and while it wasn’t a thriller or a suspenseful read, my curiosity was tripped while my heart was being mercilessly squeezed. This was the second well-textured and maddeningly paced book of Ms. McNear’s that I have devoured - and in much the same manner. I am greedy for all her words as this talented scribe has strong word voodoo.

  • Sara Strand

    This book is being marketed towards people who like Susan Wiggs and Susan Mallery and I have to agree, if you are a fan of either of those authors you will like this book. It's the same writing style and it gives you the same feel as you read it. It also should be noted that this book is sixth in the Butternut Lake series but it is a stand alone book. I haven't read the others in the series but I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not reading them, but now I'm interested in picking the o

    This book is being marketed towards people who like Susan Wiggs and Susan Mallery and I have to agree, if you are a fan of either of those authors you will like this book. It's the same writing style and it gives you the same feel as you read it. It also should be noted that this book is sixth in the Butternut Lake series but it is a stand alone book. I haven't read the others in the series but I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not reading them, but now I'm interested in picking the others up because I really liked this book.

    The book follows Quinn and her recovery/grief/reckoning of the deaths of her boyfriend Jake and his friends Griffin and Dom. After the accident and graduation she left town and vowed to not come back. She gets an announcement in the mail of a memorial going up in their honor by someone anonymously so she decides that she needs to put the past behind her. She finds that people that she thought were friends aren't so much anymore and people who should be angry with her aren't and she's surprised at every turn. The entire book is Quinn navigating awkward encounters, stilted conversations avoiding obvious topics, and her trying to work through her guilt of that night because she believes she had a key part in their deaths. She soon discovers that others feel that same guilt and they have all been kind of stuck in that moment.

    Overall? I really liked this book. I'm actually giving it 5 stars because I couldn't put it down, and it felt like the right book to read right now. I'll admit that Quinn is almost a little annoying and it feels like she takes on too much responsibility that I don't think a reasonable person would. It's hard to remember that the accident happened when they were still kids so I guess maybe that guilt would be expected. The best part of this book is that everyone is kind of webbed together and the ending is fantastic. I finished the book with an audible "wow" and immediately texted my friend that they had to read this book. Sometimes books with so many characters and different pieces gets tedious to keep together but the author really did a great job bringing it together to give us a great ending with no loose ends. Absolutely fantastic.

  • Christine Roberts

    Quinn fled from Butternut Lake, determined to escape her past. But those ghosts will not be laid to rest. When Quinn returns to Butternut Lake for a dedication ceremony for classmates who perished her senior year, she believes it will be a quick visit. However, each time she begins to leave, she learns a new piece of information that leads her closer to what happened that fatal night on Butternut Lake when her boyfriend and his 2 best friends were killed. While the mystery deepens, Quinn tries t

    Quinn fled from Butternut Lake, determined to escape her past. But those ghosts will not be laid to rest. When Quinn returns to Butternut Lake for a dedication ceremony for classmates who perished her senior year, she believes it will be a quick visit. However, each time she begins to leave, she learns a new piece of information that leads her closer to what happened that fatal night on Butternut Lake when her boyfriend and his 2 best friends were killed. While the mystery deepens, Quinn tries to make amends with her best friend from high school, Gabriel. He is only a shadow of the man he once was and seems to be intent on not rekindling his old friendship with Quinn, no matter how hard she tries. The twists and turns in the novel will leave you turning to the last page!

    Thank you LibraryThing Early Reviewers for the copy of this book! I loved it and am interested in the other books in the Butternut Lake series.

  • Marlene

    Originally published at

    In my reviews of previous books in the Butternut Lake series I have said that Butternut Lake should be renamed “Second Chance Lake” because those stories have featured a second chance at love for the hero, the heroine, or both.

    The Secrets We Carried does not follow the pattern of the previous books, and there’s nothing to keep a reader from starting here and deciding if you like the place and want to go back. I definitely like the place. A lot.

    But this stor

    Originally published at

    In my reviews of previous books in the Butternut Lake series I have said that Butternut Lake should be renamed “Second Chance Lake” because those stories have featured a second chance at love for the hero, the heroine, or both.

    The Secrets We Carried does not follow the pattern of the previous books, and there’s nothing to keep a reader from starting here and deciding if you like the place and want to go back. I definitely like the place. A lot.

    But this story is still about second chances. In the end, there’s even a second chance at love – but that is not the kind of second chance that is the centerpiece of this particular story.

    This one is about a second chance at life. And it’s about finally forgiving yourself so that you have a chance at grabbing that second chance.

    Because that’s what Quinn LaPointe needs to do. And that’s why she’s come back to Butternut Lake, the place she grew up, ten years after the tragic accident that overtook her senior year in high school. A tragic accident that she has never fully dealt with – or completely healed from. An accident that she feels at least partially responsible for.

    But she’s not the only person carrying that particular secret. And she’s not the only person who has not been able to move her life past that terrible fixed point in time.

    In her life post-Butternut Lake, she has kept moving forward, but she hasn’t moved on. An anonymous invitation to the dedication of a memorial to the accident, and the three young men who needlessly, recklessly, stupidly died in it, gives her the chance to take herself back to the place she once called home.

    And gives her the opportunity that she needs. A chance to finally remember, an opportunity to hopefully understand, and above all, both the proximity and the distance that she needs to finally forgive herself.

    Quinn needs to let go of her past, so that she can finally claim her future.

    Escape Rating A: I wasn’t in the mood for a romance, and that turned out to be an excellent thing. In spite of the way that the blurb reads, and contrary to the previous books in this series, The Secrets We Carried is not a romance.

    Instead, this book is more of a character study, crossed with more than a bit of “women’s fiction”. In other words, if a man had written this story, it would just be labeled “fiction”.

    I digress – but mostly because I just finished this book and I’m still reeling a bit. This was absolutely marvelous – especially because it wasn’t what I expected. It went a whole lot deeper than that.

    Quinn’s high school career ended in tragedy. Her boyfriend and his two best friends drowned in Butternut Lake under the stupidest of circumstances. Jake Lightman was drunk and so were his buddies. Jake drove his truck out onto the frozen surface of Butternut Lake one night in the late spring and just sat there, in the truck, until the ice gave way and the three young men drowned.

    Quinn blames herself. She broke up with Jake that night because she caught him lying to her, and not for the first time. She believes that he drank so heavily because of their breakup, and that he was out in the middle of the lake because she told him that’s where she lost the promise ring he gave her.

    So Quinn comes to Butternut Lake for the dedication of the memorial to his death, and the deaths of his friends.

    But Quinn isn’t the only person who has spent the past ten years heaping blame on herself for the events of that long ago night. Or rather, a night that should be long ago but seems to be ever-present as Quinn decides to stay in Butternut Lake and finally process the events of that night by writing all of her memories.

    As part of her “memory writing” she touches base with not just the events but also the people who were part of that time, and who, it turns out, also have not been able to let things go. The deeper Quinn digs, the more she discovers that there is plenty of guilt to go around.

    And like so many burdens, once that guilt is shared, once all of the people who touched and were touched by those events lays out the part that they each feel they played that night, they reach, tentatively and together, for a truth that was hidden by the secrets they all carried. A burden shared is a burden halved. A burden shared by as many people as have a share in this one lightens their load, and their lives, to the point where they can put the past behind them. Forgive themselves but never forget.

    This is a beautiful story where the only way forward is through. Everyone holds back and everyone hides pieces of themselves that have come to hurt to much to be revealed. Quinn’s need to get it all out there, at least in her own mind, conflicts deeply and realistically with her desire to bury it all as deeply as possible.

    The ending, when Quinn finally reaches it, goes all the way back to the beginning. And it sets her free.

  • Kathy

    4.5 stars.

    by

    is an engrossing journey of recovery.  Although this newest release is the sixth installment in the

    series, it can be read as a standalone.

    Following the tragic deaths of boyfriend Jake Lightman and his friends Dom Dobbs and Griffin Hoyer ten years earlier, Quinn LaPointe leaves her small hometown for college. After graduation, she begins working as a freelance reporter and stays as far away from Butternut Lake as possible. After rece

    4.5 stars.

    by

    is an engrossing journey of recovery.  Although this newest release is the sixth installment in the

    series, it can be read as a standalone.

    Following the tragic deaths of boyfriend Jake Lightman and his friends Dom Dobbs and Griffin Hoyer ten years earlier, Quinn LaPointe leaves her small hometown for college. After graduation, she begins working as a freelance reporter and stays as far away from Butternut Lake as possible. After receiving an anonymous announcement that a memorial is going to erected at the scene of the accident, Quinn decides it is time to try to put the incident behind her. Hoping to renew her friendship with Gabriel Shipp, she is surprised by his slight animosity towards her but she continues her efforts to find common ground. Quinn is also taken aback when Jake’s brother Tanner and Annika Bergstrom seem pleased to spend time with her. As she sifts through her memories with hopes of finally assuaging her guilt over her self-perceived role in the events that led to the three boys’ deaths, will Quinn finally make peace with her past so she can finally heal?

    Quinn may have a successful career, but her personal life is lacking. She has not had any lasting relationships and her friendships are somewhat superficial. She is close to her dad and stepmother and they are concerned by her decision to return to Butternut Lake. The memories of her romance with Jake easily rise to the surface after she arrives in town and she hopes embracing these recollections will help give her a better understanding of the past. Will writing down these memories provide her the perspective she needs to come to terms with what happened?

    Quinn is shocked when she learns Gabriel’s life took a dramatic turn after she left town. She is troubled by their encounters and she is at a loss as she tries to understand why he keeps trying to push her away. Quinn is also quite concerned by his appearance and reactions to her attempts to renew their friendship. Unbeknownst to Quinn, Gabriel is harboring his own secrets from their shared past.

    Quinn is also quite curious about Tanner’s surprising friendship with Annika. She is equally puzzled by Annika’s friendly overtures towards her. The two women have never been friends and Quinn is stunned by Annika’s revelations.

    is a very engaging novel with a wonderful cast of characters and an enjoyable storyline. Quinn is very introspective as she tries to reconcile her guilt so she can move forward. Gabriel, Tanner and Annika must also come to terms with their perceived culpability in the tragedy. This latest installment in

    heartwarming

    series is an endearing novel that features a winsome storyline, appealing characters and an uplifting conclusion.

  • Ethel (artisanwriting.blogspot.com)

    Thomas Wolfe wrote "You can't go home again." Perhaps you shouldn't. In this book, Quinn LaPointe does go home again, back to Butternut Lake after being gone for 10 years. There is something she has to confront, nightmares that have to be resolved and more importantly people she has to see again. As a journalist she is writing down from memory what happened on a tragic night 10 years before. That perhaps in this manner she will be able to put the ghost of that tragedy to rest. Receiving a news c

    Thomas Wolfe wrote "You can't go home again." Perhaps you shouldn't. In this book, Quinn LaPointe does go home again, back to Butternut Lake after being gone for 10 years. There is something she has to confront, nightmares that have to be resolved and more importantly people she has to see again. As a journalist she is writing down from memory what happened on a tragic night 10 years before. That perhaps in this manner she will be able to put the ghost of that tragedy to rest. Receiving a news clipping in the mail from someone anonymous, she begins her journey, going back to where she once lived.

    There were secrets abounding, Quinn was not the only person who mentally buried what happened that fateful night, others who pushed themselves forward. Trying to get to the truth, she learns the secrets that were kept by others. It was painful, it was difficult...she had no choice.

    This is the 6th novel in the Butternut Lake series. It was not warm and comforting, but rather a different type of story, it seemed to be more dramatic. I have loved all the other stories, but this one, this needed more patience, not getting to the end fast enough, to learn what happened and why. So if "you can't go home again," how will you resolve issues you have to or should face? How do you live with yourself and face the reality? How do you make peace within yourself? Food for thought!

  • Mrs Mommy Booknerd http://mrsmommybooknerd.blogspot.com

    #FirstLine ~ Why am I here?

    I love visiting Butternut Lake. Butternut Lake has such interesting people working through the thing we call life. McNear did such a great job creating a place that now feels familiar to me, as I have read all of the Butternut Lake books that McNear has written. In the newest installment The Secrets We Carried (Butternut Lake, #6) you get to know Quinn while she works through the past and has to figure what the future holds. It is filled with so much love...in various

    #FirstLine ~ Why am I here?

    I love visiting Butternut Lake. Butternut Lake has such interesting people working through the thing we call life. McNear did such a great job creating a place that now feels familiar to me, as I have read all of the Butternut Lake books that McNear has written. In the newest installment The Secrets We Carried (Butternut Lake, #6) you get to know Quinn while she works through the past and has to figure what the future holds. It is filled with so much love...in various forms. Another sweet and deeply moving novel that is perfect for book clubs. 4.5 stars

  • Tamara

    Review to come soon.

    Quick thoughts:

    I've enjoyed some of Mary's other Butternut Lake books and thought this would be a great read, but it was just ok.

    Quinn returns home to Butternut Lake for a memorial type event for classmates who suffered a tragedy her senior year.

    In the ten years that followed that night, Quinn's carried a secret- but she's not the only one. This tragedy has touched and shaped lives of many people in Butternut Lake and for some people the secrets from that night have altered t

    Review to come soon.

    Quick thoughts:

    I've enjoyed some of Mary's other Butternut Lake books and thought this would be a great read, but it was just ok.

    Quinn returns home to Butternut Lake for a memorial type event for classmates who suffered a tragedy her senior year.

    In the ten years that followed that night, Quinn's carried a secret- but she's not the only one. This tragedy has touched and shaped lives of many people in Butternut Lake and for some people the secrets from that night have altered their life plans.

    I really thought this was going to be good, but Quinn spends a lot of time lamenting, wringing her hands over THE SECRET, how no one can know what happened that night with her Gabriel her BFF.

    In the end, I generally find that books that spend a lot of time with characters focusing on the SECRET that must never be revealed just usually wind up being ok books and the same happened here.

    More of a 2.5 star book for me (rounded up because Goodreads doesn't have half star ratings.

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