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Press Release: Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

January 15th, 2010

From New York Times bestselling novelist CHRIS BOHJALIAN comes a story of shattered faith, intimate secrets, and the delicate nature of sacrifice.SECRETS OF EDEN
A Novel by Chris Bohjalian

“Bohjalian has built a reputation on his rich characters and immersing readers in diverse subjects . . . this is a masterfully human and compassionate tale.” —Publishers Weekly, starred and boxed review

With book after book, Chris Bohjalian continues to garner widespread critical acclaim for his realistic and provocative writing. Over the years, he has brought to life midwives, foster children, animal-rights activists, and the homeless—while illuminating the communities they live in and the complicated choices they face. Set in contemporary New England, Bohjalian’s latest novel, SECRETS OF EDEN (Shaye Areheart Books, February 2, 2010), shines the light on the issue of domestic violence. Written with Chris’s elegant, page-turning prose, the book builds to the sort of ending that left millions of readers of The Double Bind and Midwives speechless and stunned—and hungry for his next novel.

While many of Bohjalian’s novels are issues oriented, SECRETS OF EDEN is the first to emerge from readers’ responses to one of his previous works. The origins of this narrative came from stories Bohjalian heard from women across the country who had read The Double Bind and wanted to know how he had heard their story—because they had never met. Many identified with the attack on Laurel Estabrook in The Double Bind— it felt like what had happened to them. 

SECRETS OF EDEN opens as Alice Hayward’s life ends—but her story begins. “There,” she says to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality of that short utterance, feels his faith in God slipping away and is saved from despair only by a chance meeting with Heather Laurent, the quirky author of wildly successful, inspirational books about . . . angels. 

Heather survived a childhood that culminated in her parents’ murder-suicide, so she identifies deeply with Alice’s only child, Katie, offering herself as a mentor to the fifteen-year old and a shoulder for Stephen—who flees the pulpit to be with her and see if there is anything to be salvaged from the spiritual wreckage around him.

But then the state’s attorney begins to suspect that Alice’s husband may not have killed himself . . . and finds out that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.

SECRETS OF EDEN is both a haunting literary thriller and a deeply evocative testament to the inner complexities that mark all of our lives. Once again, Bohjalian has given us a riveting page-turner in which nothing is precisely what it seems. As one character remarks, “Believe no one. Trust no one. Assume all of our stories are suspect.”

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Chris Bohjalian is the author of twelve novels, including the New York Times bestsellers The Double Bind, Skeletons at the Feast, and Midwives. His work has been translated into twenty-six languages and twice become movies (Midwives and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.

by Chris Bohjalian
Published by Shaye Areheart Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group
On sale: February 2, 2010
Price: $25.00 hardcover• Pages: 384 • ISBN: 978-0-307-39497-2
Also available in large print, audio, and electronic versions

For more information, contact:
Sarah Breivogel, 212-572-2722,

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The Crown Publishing Group