Title: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Release Date: February 1, 2006
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
CeeCee Wilkes was just 16 years old when handsome Tim Gleason walked into her life. She was completely in love with the older, more intelligent man and would do anything for him. One day, Timothy asks CeeCee if she’d be willing to do something dangerous and illegal for him. She blindly agrees, and her life changes completely as a result.
I enjoyed Diane Chamberlain’s The Lies We Told, so when I saw The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes at the bookstore, I decided to pick it up. I started reading it a few weeks later. I was hooked from the very first chapter, and couldn’t put it down until the entire novel was finished, even though it was over 500 pages.
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes is amazingly suspenseful. It’s not really a mystery, because the reader knows what is going to happen for the most part – the fact that the novel starts in the present and then jumps back to the past ensures that. But the novel is still tautly written and is an incredible pageturner, which shows Chamberlain’s writing talent. It’s difficult to keep readers hanging on every word, yet Chamberlain does it masterfully. I was completely taken in by this book.
The characters were also very well written. I loved CeeCee. Admittedly she was kind of stupid as a teen and made some huge mistakes, but it was because she trusted Tim so much. While I couldn’t justify her decisions, I could sympathize with her naivety. As she grew, I was incredibly conflicted. She’d done this horrible thing, yet was she an innocent, taken advantage of? Or did she have full knowledge of what she was doing? Could she be forgiven? Should she?
Cory was a little more difficult for me. I saw her as incredibly selfish and very immature, especially as she became an adult. Still, Chamberlain wrote her well and I loved the changes she experienced as she began to grow. I only wish it had been earlier in the novel!
I enjoyed every second I spent with The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes and can’t wait to read more of Chamberlain’s novels. I was thrilled to discover that she has an extremely extensive backlist – I’m looking forward to exploring it in the near future!