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!