I could wax poetic all day and into the night about why I love L. Marie Adeline’s S.E.C.R.E.T. Trilogy. This series of books tells the story of Cassie Robichaud, a woman who becomes enmeshed in a secret society whose goal is to help women find their independence and inner strength through their sexuality. But I don’t have to, because I already have here and here.
But just like all great things (vacations, movies, and the delicious lunch I made myself today), all good things must come to an end. And last week L. Marie released the final book in this series. While I was happy to throw myself right back into the sultry city of New Orleans and the life of Cassie and her man troubles (should she choose strong, reliable and completely sexy Will, or young, tattooed dangerously delicious Jesse?), turning that first page was bittersweet. Because I knew it was the last time I’d ever open a S.E.C.R.E.T. novel.
The only thing that Cassie Robichaud has ever really wanted is Will Foret, the love of her life. But when Will discovers that Cassie is part of S.E.C.R.E.T., an underground group devoted to helping women experience their deepest sexual fantasies, Will breaks it off. Heartbroken, Cassie dries her tears and devotes herself to helping the latest S.E.C.R.E.T. recruit, Solange Faraday. Cassie also reignites her relationship with sexy bad-boy Jesse, even if he can never love her as deeply as Will did. Meanwhile, beautiful, brilliant Solange, a local news anchor and divorced mom, has a great career but a wilting love life. She rekindles long-lost passions, going deeper and hotter than any other S.E.C.R.E.T. candidate before her. Will she find what her heart most desires? And when Will realizes he’s made a tragic mistake, will Cassie be able to forgive him? In the end, as both women blossom as sexual beings, they also discover that ecstasy and true love are closer than they ever imagined.
SECRET Revealed is the explosive, sensual and sexually-charged finale to the bestselling S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy (Goodreads.com)
There were so many things that I loved about S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed. And I’m not even talking about the mental pictures of male recruits. The moment I cracked the spine I was greeted by the author’s signature writing style which continued to please with it’s clean, intelligent and deeply erotic sensibilities. But even more than that, L. Marie possesses the ability to share a story with her readers by inviting them in to experience it with her. You just know that she’s as invested in the happiness of her characters as the reader is, which makes all the difference in the authenticity of the words. I guess you could call it passion (and I’ll have what she’s having.)
Thematically, in Revealed, we also explore larger issues in addition to the ones that the other books already address (since these are smart lady sex books, we do have to have thinkery things in there): work-life balance, online bullying, relationships, and the strength we get from forgiveness and second chances all make up the subplots and subtexts.
Our usual characters are present and accounted for: adored Will and mysterious Jesse, our constant Cassie, Matilda, and the rest of the ladies from S.E.C.R.E.T. Plus, we meet Solange, possibly the last recruit ever. Solange seems to be the least likely of participants. She’s beautiful, successful, and outwardly confident. In fact, as she moves through the steps there are some that she finishes even before she starts. But Solange faces the same conflicts and issues that many of us do: career before family; children before love; expectations before acceptance. Solange’s journey belongs to many of us. And this is good. She is the perfect finale.
Without revealing any spoilers, Revealed does get a little tidy, but it’s the kind of neatness that we want. Without falling into trite predictability, the author provides us who have, over the past year or so, fallen in love with S.E.C.R.E.T.’s New Orleans, with the only ending that is possible (of course with a few surprises.). So while this third book isn’t as exciting as the first, it definitely maintains the integrity of the story and the true purpose of the eponymous secret society. We should all wish we could find a place whose sole desire it to help us live the lives that we desire, whatever that might look like.
Anyways, you can tell that I love the series (and I’ve become online friends with the author) so giving a rating is a bit biased. But still, I will.
Unputdownable Factor: 11/10 (Drop everything and organize myself for a one-sitting read)
Recommend Factor: 10/10 (for smutty lovers, this one has brains too)
Dirty Factor: You’ll need to shower but you won’t want to wash the smell off.