The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes Book Review

I recently finished the book, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, by Diane Chamberlain for Julie’s book club. Prior to reading about this book on Julie’s blog, I had never heard of it. In fact, I actually voted for 11/22/63 by Stephen King as this month’s book. However, I am so glad that this book was chosen. It’s the best book that I have read in a while, and I couldn’t put it down. The first night I stayed up reading until midnight, finishing over half of the book. I finished the book the next day. There’s so much going on that you don’t want to stop reading.

About the book:

In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child.

CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth, and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die in order to protect a lifetime of lies….

When I first starting reading this book, I definitely felt bad for CeeCee. Here she was at the tender age of 16, all alone in the world. While I liked her character, she frustrated me. She meets at boy at a diner and after four weeks of dating, he’s all like hey, I love you so much. Will you help me kidnap a Senator’s wife and hold her hostage? And she’s all like, well, let me think about it. Okay, I’ll help you. There’s nothing that I won’t do to make you love me. Seriously?! There were times when I wanted to punch CeeCee.

The first part of the book was exciting – so much was going on. The middle part of the book had each chapter focusing on a different year, and how Eve was moving on and how Cory was growing up. I wished that these chapters didn’t fly though the years so fast. I would have liked to read more about how Cory grew up and the struggles that she dealt with. I think that it would have added to the story a bit. The last part of the book was more like the first part – focusing on the events that the characters were going through based on their actions at the beginning of the book.

What I really liked was that the author made you identify with the criminal – CeeCee/Eve. If you had heard on the news that some women helped kidnap a pregnant senator’s wife and then stole the baby and kept it as a her own 20 years ago, wouldn’t you feel rage toward that women and think that she deserved to be punished? I would. But after reading CeeCee’s story and what she did and went through, you root for the criminal. Yes, I believe that CeeCee was incredibly stupid for the choices that she made and made me mad at times, but in the end you want her to be the victor.

The book was definitely a page turner and made you want to see what would happen next. It tied up everything very nicely in the end – which I liked. I don’t like being left hanging. I was glad that Eve went to see Tim, and they had that last conversation.

The one part at the end that I didn’t like and didn’t feel like it should have been part of the story is when Tim admits that he had an affair with Genevieve Russel. What was the point of that? Yes, I know that’s why he sent CeeCee money for Cory, but it kind of ruined things for me. Here I was the whole story, feeling bad for Genevieve because she was an innocent bystander in all of this and then you spring that news on me?! Of course, I don’t think that she deserved to die, but it made me look at her character in a whole new light.

Overall, I thought this was a great book and an easy read. It really held my interest the entire book, and I didn’t want to put it down!

8 Comments

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8 Responses to The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes Book Review

  1. Its funny, I was cruising blogs today and completely stumbled on this by accident and was so excited because I needed a new book to not be able to put down. I just downloaded this one and am super excited to start reading it after your review. ;)

  2. I just finished reading this last night! I agree it was very good. I have been thinking about it and telling tons of people about it.

    I was also pretty shocked about the whole Tim/Geneiveve relationship exposed at almost the very end of the book. What was the point of that?!?

  3. Pingback: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes | Peanut Butter Fingers

  4. I totally agree with your review! I loved how Diane Chamberlain made readers forget that CeeCee was a criminal because we identified with her! I was rooting for her throughout the book and hoping she wasn’t harshly punished at the end.

    And..I’m totally with you on wanting to punch CeeCee into a wakeup call. One of my biggest pet peeves is immaturity when it comes to love. I wanted her (and Cory!) to grow the F up – the warning signs in their relationship were too clear! Haha

    • I was rooting for CeeCee too, although I didn’t agree with all her decisions. And at 16, she was mature enough to make some bette decisions! I’m definitely glad that I read the book, I couldn’t put it down!

  5. Ayhan

    “Yes, I believe that CeeCee was incredibly stupid for the choices that she made and made me mad at times, but in the end you want her to be the victor.”

    She abducted and kidnapped a baby, stole her life and helped an innocent woman to die. I neither liked her nor wanted her to be victor. Her selfish motivations and reasons do not justify her crimes.

    “Here I was the whole story, feeling bad for Genevieve because she was an innocent bystander in all of this and then you spring that news on me?! Of course, I don’t think that she deserved to die, but it made me look at her character in a whole new light”

    You are right, it was stupid and a very cheap way to make us like Eve which did not work for me. So Genevieve had been having an affair, thus some people had right to kidnap her, her baby and kill her? The writer just tried to make us feel more symphaty for Eve, hey that woman had been having an affair, so to kidnap her, her baby and kill her are justifiable ! I don’t think so.

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