Audio Review: The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak

Posted September 18, 2015 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 4 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audio Review: The Secret Sister by Brenda NovakThe Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
Series: Fairham Island #1
Narrator: Carly Robins
Published by Tantor Media on July 28, 2015
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Length: 11 hours
Source: Publisher
Audio | Goodreads

Did she once have a sister? Has her mother lied all these years? Why?

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal—and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is the wealthy, controlling mother she escaped years ago.

Instead, she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid—Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at sixteen. He's back on the island, and to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Maisey's still attracted to him, but her heart's too broken to risk…

Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister.

Maisey's convinced that child existed. So where is she now?


icon AUDIOBOOK icon ROMANCE icon mystery

Quick summary

Maisey Lazarow returns home to Fairham Island following her failed marriage, writer’s block and need to reconnect with her troubled brother, Keith. She wasn’t prepared to be reunited with her high school fling, Rafe Romero who’s a very different man from his teenage persona.


What worked

The story was interesting as Maisey’s story unfolded slowly, filling in the blanks as she first seemed elusive. She was frustrating at times as she appeared to lack conviction, especially when confronting her cold, controlling mother and her screwed up brother. Maisey’s developing romance with Rafe was also confusing as she often ran hot and cold without warning. I really liked him as he was honest and the most transformed from being a difficult teen. I loved his daughter, especially that she was drawn with special needs. It added a level of realism that distinguished the story from others featuring children.

The most interesting aspect of the story was the mystery surrounding the secret sister, including whether or not she even existed. Unraveling the clues and pursuing the leads kept me in the story. The resolution was powerful with a twist that ends up creating a more intriguing foundation for the series.


The narration

I really liked the narrator’s performance! Carly Robins livened up the story when there were lulls and her pacing was perfect. This is my experience with her work and hope she continues the series.


The bottom line

It’s a solid start to a new series with an interesting mystery, even if it lacked tension and scary suspense. While Maisey was often a challenge, Rafe and his daughter more than over compensated. I’m looking forward to the next book.


Listen to a clip!

About Carly Robins

Carly Robins is an actress and voice-over artist. She can be heard on commercials, video games, and promos. Carly comes to narration with a passion for performance along with the capability to span several genres, from romance to children’s literature and thrillers.

About Brenda Novak

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. A New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of fifty novels, Brenda Novak has been nominated for a prestigious Rita Award three times and won The National Reader’s Choice Award, the Bookbuyer’s Best, the Bookseller’s Best, the Writer Touch Reader Award, the Golden Quill, the Hold Medallion and the Award of Excellence, among others.
Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fund-raiser for diabetes research—an online auction held on her Web site ( every May. To date, she has raised over $2 million for this cause.

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4 responses to “Audio Review: The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak

  1. I think I’m the only one who didn’t like this much. I know it’s based on a true story, so suspending disbelief isn’t even a question. I just felt like the mom got off too easy, the reunion among the siblings was too easy. I guess I’m just a drama whore!

    But I’m so glad you loved it!

    • Jonetta (Ejaygirl)

      Living in the South, you get used to families hiding secrets like this so I could SO identify:) Though Mom did get off easy, it’s my reality. Braine Talk Supe, I normally require much more drama!

  2. I’m a huge Brenda Novak fan, Jonetta, and I enjoyed The Secret Sister even more than you did 🙂 I agree with you about Maizy being a bit hot and cold, but I could understand where she came from, as she had been so hurt by her ex husband.
    Both Rafe and his daughter were such great characters to get to know, and I enjoyed how the mystery unfolded slowly.
    It’s good to know that the narration is really good, too, maybe I’ll get the second in the series on audio.
    Have a fantastic Friday and happy reading.

    • Jonetta (Ejaygirl)

      Oh, Lexxie, I hope you’ll give the audio a test. I think she made the book better. Thanks for your comments!