When the telegram arrives on a bright sunny day in , Nancy feels sick with dread.
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But instead of wartime bad news it's from the legendary Jackie Cochran, asking Nancy to fly for Great Britain. For Nancy, a girl with flying in her blood, it's an opportunity she simply can't turn down.
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But that fateful decision is to trigger a series of events, with consequences that will reverberate through the generations. In summer , Sarah is at a crossroads in her life when her adored grandmother Nancy asks her to help lay the ghosts of her past to rest.
Sarah agrees, little suspecting the long-buried and shocking secrets that will be dragged to the surface. From the tension of World War Two right up to the present day, this is a sweeping family story that is both moving and unforgettable. The Secret She Kept: A mesmerising epic of love, loss and family secrets. The sheer sadness of it all is sometimes overwhelming.
17 Real-Life Family Secrets That Will Probably Make Your Jaw Drop
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Keene has a Borgesian flair for invented primary texts and pseudoscholarly ephemera. Disguised as marginalia, these stories are hard to imagine fitting into any novel.
Larger narratives would only destroy that apartness from the chain of events which gives them escape velocity. Haunted by original sin and nourished by dreams of upward mobility, family sagas rarely extricate themselves from a sense of inevitability. They are about how the world came to be as it is, and even when they include characters outside the rubric of struggle and reproduction, it is usually a way to ruminate on their own boundaries. Family novels often position queerness similarly, using it as a counterpoint or rebuke to the patriarchal dynamics driving the plot.
Glimpsed from the peripheries of gender and sexuality, history confesses concealed depths and old stories reveal unsuspected trajectories.
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The ensuing confrontation ends with the slave liberating his master. He spirits the Jewish Jesuit to a hidden settlement — possibly Palmares, a city founded by runaway slaves that before its destruction counted more than 10, inhabitants — and from there to Dutch territory, where he is free to practice his ancestral faith.
Catholics become Jews, Portuguese captaincies are subsumed by Dutch colonies or supplanted by armed fugitive settlements and purported apostles of white Christian civilization are rescued by queer representatives of African spirituality. History is restored to miraculous contingency, no longer fraught with the present. Among contemporary American writers, the poets Layli Long Soldier, Robin Coste Lewis and Susan Howe stand out as fellow travelers, ventriloquists of the archive who wring new voices from settled texts.
Entranced by the ancestor who crossed on the Mayflower, escaped from the plantation or started anew in a hostile foreign city, we too often limit our retrospective gaze to those predecessors who made provisions for a future we recognize in our own present.