The stunning new novel from Tatiana de Rosnay, author of international bestseller Sarah’s Key. Complete summary of Tatiana de Rosnay’s A Secret Kept. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of A Secret Kept. This stunning new novel from Tatiana de Rosnay, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Sarah’s Key, plumbs the depths of complex family.

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The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures. One settles seceet Tatiana de Rosnay’s world with a sigh, comfortable that one’s sensibility will be neither offended or challenged.

The journalist turned wildly successful novelist is hybrid French, English and Russian, but her territory is the Faubourg, the Haussmannian regions of Paris, which house the most effortlessly snooty bunch of aesthetes and elitists in the world. The phrase ” bon chic, bon genre ” rosnya invented for the denizens of de Rosnay’s fictional universe, and she has skewered them twice while they thrill to her every touch.

No critic has ever been dressed in such sheepish couture. Her first novel, Sarah’s Keysold millions of copies, in part because the key represented one of snooty Paris’s worst secrets, the Vel d’Hiv.

Well-heeled Parisiens promptly moved into the vacated apartments of Jewish families, seemingly without question. De Rosnay was one of those who popularized the event, if event is the word for such horror, and her novel was particularly salient given the uprising of anti-Semitism in Europe. This last factor fuelled part of her success. A Secret Kept is another matter altogether. De Rosnay doesn’t abandon her milieu, nor her intent, nor her narrative device, the buried family secret.

But with the book, she burrows deep into the Faubourg and starts to kick through the walls that tatiaja them all. Tatuana is deeply satisfying in and of itself. Parisian high society has managed to survive so long by posturing itself as irrelevant and dull. A clever ruse – perhaps triggered by ‘s Le Terreur – but it has meant that European aristocracies have, historically, craved comfort and security above any other thing. Without wading too deeply into the French-English question, one can safely say that some English aristocrats were the chief proponents of the ideas of freedom and democracy, and that the American revolutionary ideal was in fact birthed by the then Anglo-Protestant rosnxy of the United States and Canada.


In Britain, even today, someone with strong contrarian ideas can be taken up and celebrated by the Duke of Whatever or the Marquess of Itchybottom. In the Faubourg, confronted with the controversial, backs turn, noses are stuck firmly en l’airhabits and progresses remain unchanged.

Europe has suffered greatly from its beau monde’s disengagement from the messy business of politics and life. Her protagonist this time is a ish architect, shucked by his wife, with a frosty star lawyer as his distant father and an icy set of grandparents.

Antoine is so incapable of feeling his feelings, he is locked in what looks like permanent misery. His children show him contempt, his former wife, with whom he is still in love, is indifferent, his job bores the life out of him and his sister is a basket case, an unhappy year-old editor with no husband, no children, who is having an affair with a married goat in his 60s. He takes that sister on a trip to their childhood summer place for that 40th birthday, whereupon all hell breaks loose.

On the way home, while trying to tell him the secret at the core of the frozen emotional life of the family, his sister drives them into another car and is left nearly dead. Misery brought to such a head sets up a choice: Give up forever or solve the damn problem. The rest of A Secdet Kept unfurls the secret life of the pair’s mother, Clarisse, an unsophisticated beauty from a rural district of France who died young.

One needs hardly to say that during this tortuous process, Antoine and Melanie not only learn who their mother was, txtiana their own lives begin to flower. The same cannot be said for their father and grandparents, in their stiff, gloomy but nonetheless staffed and luxurious flats.

A Secret Kept

Most amusingly, Antoine, seret by all rights should be a dreadful snob, falls head over heels with a dashing, leather-clad mortician who drives a Rosnayy and is simply not interested in a marriage or b Parisian society. Breaking the code is the key to deliverance from the smothering hand of the past. A Secret Kept is one of the smoothest, most readable treatments around. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.


A Secret Kept, by Tatiana de Rosnay

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A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay

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