Not an uplifting story but certainly suspenseful, Morris stays true to her dissection of ordinary people struggling through life (reference her Oprah pick, later a TV movie – Songs in Ordinary Time). In The Last Secret, Morris showcases mistakes made in youth that follow into adult lives with an unintentioned ripple effect, unescapably touching others’ lives.
Mary McGarry Morris creates an absorbing story about the superficial lives people create to hide not only their feelings and real selves but also to compensate for their own inadequacies. Nora, as the main character with a perfect life and family, unravels as her husband’s infidelity with the best friend predictably changes relationships and the children’s equilibrium.
The family-run newspaper business is the folcrum of all family negotiations. The horror of news seeps in, as 9/11 happens, then the war, even news of young friends being killed. Morris implies that the personal horror and wars within the characters supercede all this. Their concern is false; their attention is for themselves.
As the villain, Eddie gains power and access through Nora’s insecurities. He becomes the foil for the incipient best friend/lover Robin, and finally morphs into an obsessed lunatic. Yet, without Nora’s self-doubt and guilt, the villain would have no hold.
Morris ends her story with a sardonic observation – the truth may be what you believe it to be, and,of course, secrets never stay secret.