By Melissa Senate
Published November 2009 by Simon & Shuster (Downtown Press)
Source: ARC from publisher
Rebecca's life seemed to be a track for a happily-ever-life. She has a great job as a paralegal, is dating one of the firm's partners, lives in a wonderful condo and has a terrific dad. But things aren't always what they seem. As "The Secret of Joy" opens, Rebecca has serious concerns about where her relationship with Michael is headed and her father's battle with pancreatic cancer is about over. Then Rebecca's father makes a startling deathbed confession. Twenty-four years ago, he had a daughter by another woman. He has never seen the child nor spoken to the mother since the day she called to say the baby had been born. But, he tells Rebecca, there is a stash of letters to the daughter in a safe deposit box and he would like Rebecca to read them.
When Rebecca's father passes away, she is left adrift and can't help but think that she needs to meet her half-sister. Thanks to the internet, the sister turns out to be easy to find. Rebecca hops in a car and sets off to Maine to met her half-sister.
But Joy, who operates a singles tour bus, isn't in the least bit happy to see Rebecca. But she does invite Rebecca along for a weekend tour and as Rebecca spends time with Joy and the ladies on the tour, she learns as much about herself as she does about her sister.
Senate explores relationships of all kinds in "The Secret of Joy," father/daughter, sibling, love. It's a fun, light look that takes the time to dig a little deeper than the usual novel of this type. But, of course, there's always room to add in the hunky local. I've never read any Melissa Senate before, but I know she has a huge following and I can definitely understand the appeal. I'll look for more of her works when I need that book that you know will end with the characters having learned something and having made a better life for themselves.
Thanks to Sarah Reidy and Pocket Book Blog Tours for the chance to read this book.