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Publisher's Summary

New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts deftly blends romance and suspense in this compelling novel of a woman whose career, marriage, and very life are threatened by the truth about her own past.

Emma McAvoy may have grown up in the limelight, but some secrets are hidden in a darkness no light can reach. Now on the verge of a successful career, and having fallen in love with the man of her dreams, Emma is looking to the future. Yet it’s the past that is about to catch up with her.

For Emma, her childhood had been almost like a rags-to-riches fairy tale - until the tragic night that changed her family forever. But what Emma thinks she knows about that terrible night and the man she’s about to marry is only half the truth. The other half is locked away in the last place she’d ever think to look: her own memories. It’s a mystery a handsome and relentlessly driven homicide detective needs to solve in a case that’s haunted him for years - and a secret someone will kill to keep.

©2014 Nora Roberts (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved..

What listeners say about Public Secrets

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,081
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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    66

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Long, Dark, Depressing, Boring & Disappointing

Normally I love Nora Roberts' work, but there's boatloads I dislike about this book. I rarely write a review unless I really love or really can't stand a book, but when I do, I go into detail. I'm trying not to give away major plot twists below.

First, I REALLY hate it when the copyrights listed on Audible read "2014" for author and audio publisher, but in reality the book has a 1990 publication date. Audible/Amazon, let's have some truth in labelling and note when it's really a reissue of an old book.

Second. a good editor would have cut out at least one-third of this book. The first 30-40% DRAGS to the extent that I'd zone out for several minutes - something I very rarely do when listening to ANY book - and worse, when I'd rewind I'd find that I didn't miss anything I hadn't heard before. After the first couple zone-outs, I didn't care enough to rewind to catch what I'd missed! That almost NEVER is the case.

Third, if I wanted to read an ode to rock, drugs, other drugs, more drugs, drug abuse, overdoses (I'm not sure I've come across so many different references to drugs in any other fiction book), capricious sex, semi-incestuous sex, AIDS, child abuse, physical abuse, murder, attempted murder, long-term betrayal, etc., etc. I'd read a biography of a 60's/70's rock icon. It seems the author was living out her teenage fantasies about British/Irish rockers. I suspect that a good number of those highly positive reviews are written by folks who either came of age in the 60's or have deep nostalgia or identification with the era. If you don't already love the 60's, I doubt you'll love this book.

Fourth, I'd have rated the book higher if the central mystery had been engaging. Nope. Even most of the primary characters seem to have lost interest in finding out "whodunnit" after a couple years Few additional clues were dropped over time. And worse, my immediate suspects turned out (many) hours later to be the primary culprits. Yawn. If this crime was not a purely random act, who else had any motive?

Fifth, at one point, the original primary detective showed out-of-character stupidity. Then at a critical turning point, the heroine is distressingly stupid. And finally, neither the detectives (nor the other main characters) actually solve the crime. They didn't identify any of the perps who, luckily, were all identified in other ways. Such good luck for our heroine they were so stupid, too. Sigh, it's disappointing when an author can't move the plot forward without resorting to that "let's have someone do something stupid" tactic - but multiple times in a single book? Nora, you're so much better than that - usually!

Sixth, there were so many male characters in this book frequently lumped together in conversation with each other that it was nearly impossible to follow who said what to whom. I think I'd have had a problem keeping the male characters straight without a chart even in written text, but it was very difficult in audio where the various voices were unclear. However, I feel sorry for the narrator who may have been as bored as I was and found it hard to keep the many characters separate in her mind as well. At a later point in the book one character had a serious illness and until more details were given I honestly couldn't remember who he was or why I should care.

The only reason I give 2 stars instead of 1 is for the slightly more interesting last fourth of the book. But even that was a close call.

119 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it

I enjoy books that are so long as it gives me time to really get to know the characters and you "live" them for a while. The story was excellent and once you make peace with the fact that not all the accents are accurate, the narrator is also pretty good. Well worth the credit!

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Book should come with a warning

This was a very well written book, but I feel that it would not be a good book for anyone who has lost a child, who was abused as a child or abused as an adult.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Worst accents ever heard on Audible?

I'm not sure anyone could listen to this book without being totally distracted by the reader's horrendous accents. Irish meets New Jersey or British meets standard American meets New Yorker? Yikes.

36 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Long book, but worth every hour!!

Any additional comments?



Nora Roberts has crafted an absorbing tale of love, fame, wealth, and betrayal that is infused with Renee Raudman’s exceptional narration. Little Emma McAvoy spends the first three years of her life terrified by a drug addicted, abusive mother who readily gives Emma to her famous rock star father in exchange for money. Brian McAvoy adores his baby girl and raises her in a world of affluence, security, and celebrity, occasionally darkened by drugs and promiscuity. Emma slowly accepts that she is safe and surrounded by love from her “Da”, her caring stepmom, and the capricious members of her father’s band. When her stepbrother is born, four year-old Emma is overcome with love for the baby and devotes herself to his care and protection. As Emma matures into an educated, accomplished, and beautiful young lady, the story takes a dark turn of treachery that will have you on the edge of your seat. Two men enter her life, both declaring their love - only one, however, is to be trusted. Excellent story!

32 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Life

This was one of the best books I've read by Nora Roberts! It was excellent the characters and storyline fantastic. Life's twists and turns and survival. Such a talented writer!!!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Terrible accents

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If the narrator's performance was even half decent

Would you be willing to try another one of Renee Raudman’s performances?

Absolutely nothing that involves accents of any kind. Her voice is very nice and very pleasant to listen to... Until she tries to sound like a Cockney or an Irish woman.

What character would you cut from Public Secrets?

I don't know. I couldn't listen to the whole book

24 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

public secrets

Through the years I have listen to every nora roberts audio book I could afford. This is my favorite! What a great story. Nora thank you for the years of entertainment.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Cringe-worthy narrator

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Renee Raudman?

I LOVED the narrator from the COLLECTOR. Please bring her back!

I could not stand Renee Raudman, especially when she faked an Irish/English accent. I went over the top when she tried to do a little child's voice which was akin to nails on a chaklboard. I'm not sure if I can listen to the rest of the book although I really do want to give it a chance.

17 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Worst narration ever!

What was Brilliance Audio thinking, when they thought the narrators horrible attempt at accents was acceptable!
The story line was good but the attempt at the accents were so bad, I just couldn't listen to the story any longer. I had to return the book. To bad as I've always enjoyed Nora Roberts books. Not this one.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-05-14

would be 5star but for narrator

Where does Public Secrets rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I love Nora Roberts books so as a story ranks high...

Who was your favorite character and why?

Emma of course

Would you be willing to try another one of Renee Raudman’s performances?

No

Any additional comments?

I've got the paperback but thought would use my credit to listen as bought a few audio books from Nora Roberts library but the narrator was so bad almost didn't continue with listening to this which is a shame.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kate
  • 08-06-14

Spoiled by narrator's dreadful 'Cockney' accent!

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator must have attended the Dick Van Dyke school of Cockney accents. If you can't do an accent properly, please don't do it at all! It was painful to listen to, in the extreme. I am British, so perhaps am more attuned to these things, but I notice that a lady who lives in Canada has also complained about it. It totally spoiled the first part of the book, I am still listening, but hope there are no more London accents to be done.

6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Bev Meek
  • 07-12-20

Appalling narration!

I’ve listened to a lot of Nora Robert’s books and always been very impressed. The narration on this one is so bad that I gave up after the first few chapters. The English accents were, I’m sorry to say, the worst I’ve ever heard. The Irish one not much better!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • lynn
  • 08-30-14

Okay story ruined by dreadful narrator

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was ok, but I almost gave up because of the narrator

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

A different narrator

How could the performance have been better?

Using someone who could actually read with a southern English accent as many of the characters are English

Did Public Secrets inspire you to do anything?

No

Any additional comments?

What a shame, I usually look forward to and enjoy Noras' audiobooks.Does anyone vet the narrators? It would have been obvious from the start that this person was unable to perform london accents and her Irish accent was only marginally better.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. L. E. Simpson
  • 08-29-14

Narrator car crash

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

There have been some great actors who have mastered the English accent - most haven't and follow the Dick Van Dyke/Audrey Hepburn path. Having to listen to 20 hours of this narrator attempting the English accent was one of the most painful experiences I have had in a long time and totally ruined this book for me. She was terrible!

If you’ve listened to books by Nora Roberts before, how does this one compare?

Good story as usual

How did the narrator detract from the book?

She opened her mouth!! Seriously it was that bad!

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Possibly

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • white
  • 06-27-20

Awful

worst narration I have ever heard. Terrible just terrible. Hated it . stopped listening about a quarter way in so can not comment on story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ann in Durham
  • 08-26-14

Accents are Awful

The narrator's attempts at accents are appallingly bad. Her English accents are diabolical. The child Emma starts off as if she is from the slums of the East End of London and ends up with a true Irish accent.
The book itself is fabulous, as one would expect from Nora Roberts

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Catherine
  • 08-29-14

Appalling narration - I gave up halfway through

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I love Nora's books, except when they are set in Ireland or England. The constant americanisms and horrible mangled attempts at accents ruin the story.

If you’ve listened to books by Nora Roberts before, how does this one compare?

Aweful narration, as bad as her irish novels.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Renee Raudman?

The one who reads her In Death Series or the Virgin River books by Robyn Carr

Could you see Public Secrets being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Dont watch films or tv

Any additional comments?

Editors please make sure irish or english characters can speak their own language, not americanisms, and get actors/actresses who can do the accents corrctly. I gave up reading this book halfway through - as an englishwoman I couldnt understand the so-called cockney accents!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dawn Hinton
  • 10-27-21

Excellent story

Brilliant storyline holds the readers attention until the very last few pages

Great stuff !!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jay Keep
  • 09-05-21

Accent

The most lamentabl cockney accent since Dick Van in Mary Poppins . Quite off-putting and unfortunate as the narrators natural and voice/accent is really quite pleasant to listen to

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • May
  • 03-24-15

Great story, unbelievably awful accents

I enjoyed the compelling story, memorable characters and the twists and turns of the plot. I am appalled, however at the insultingly bad attempt at British accents. Renee, only village idiots sound like village idiots. Not every Brit. Makes me glad there were no Aussies in the plot.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue Casey
  • 03-04-18

Storyline was good but!

The narrators accents were painful, If I could have given a minus rating I would have. The storyline was good you just have persevere.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 02-19-15

Awful narration!

The narration of this story is terrible. Awful attempt at British accents. I can't comment on the story as I couldn't bear to listen more than 5hrs of it. Such a pity.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-20-19

What a shame!

What a shame parts of the narration were terrible! I enjoyed the story so struggled through.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Suzanne Ford
  • 12-03-18

Worst narration ever

The narration is so so bad - worst I have ever heard! When she attempts English accents? Horrendous - this could be a great book but I will never know, because I cannot listen to this!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-20-18

Shocking reader

Couldn’t listen more than a few chapters. The reader had such ridiculous and extremely irritating voice impressions!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary
  • 11-05-17

Great story, awful accent!

I wonder if the producers of this audiobook actually listened to it whilst being made. The readers natural accent is lovely but good god the attempt at Irish - English is so painful to listen to. There are so many great English readers not too sure why on such a good story they could not acquire one. I'm struggling to finish the book but I want to hear Emma's life....

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eva Varga
  • 02-24-21

ugh...The Narrator!

Liked the story. Good value for a 20 hour audiobook, but the Narrator's British accents were so terrible they completely detracted from the storyline. It's really difficult to form a picture of a supposedly attractive character in your mind when their voice sounds like high pitched cackling chickens! Does anyone even perform a basic QA on the Narrator's performance?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-26-21

Worth it in the end.

out of all of the books i have read this one to the longest for me to get into. I am glad I persevered with book as it ended up being a great story in the end. they could have gotten a different story teller though, her ascents were horrible and sounded so fake.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-10-20

story was fine but the acents were terrible

please re do with another reader and drop the fake acents story is good but acents made unbearable