The Deepest Secret – Carla Buckley

Three things cannot long stay hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth. – Buddha


  • Deepest SecretTitle: The Deepest Secret
  • Author: Carla Buckley
  • ISBN: 0345535243 (ISBN13: 9780345535245)
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: February 4th 2014 by Bantam
  • Format: Kindle Edition, 448 pages
  • Genre: Contemporary Fiction
  • Source: Netgalley
  • Rating: B

Diagnosed with XP, a rare medical condition which makes him lethally sensitive to light, Tyler is a thirteen-year-old who desperately wants just one thing: to be normal. His mother Eve also wants just one thing: to protect her son. As Tyler begins roaming their cul-de-sac at night, cloaked in the safety of the darkness, he peers into the lives of the other families on the street-looking in on the things they most want hidden. Then, the young daughter of a neighbor suddenly vanishes, and Tyler may be the only one who can make sense of her disappearance…but what will happen when everyone’s secrets are exposed to the light?

Becoming a mother was an indescribable experience for me, my best approximately would be that it was simultaneously, exhilarating, humiliating and downright terrifying. Before my son was born an acquaintance gave birth quite prematurely and her infant weighed in just over 2 pounds. I remember clearly and very stupidly saying to a friend (thankfully not the child’s mother) that it was okay because the baby’s chances of survival were good because he was relatively large considering he was 10 weeks early. Several weeks later I gave birth to my son, his was not an easy birth but compared to some of the horror stories I have heard since, it was much preferable to what it could have been. Due to the length of my labour and the fact that my water had broken 24 hours prior both he and I were running a temperature, which required him to spend a few nights in the special care unit with an IV. Again these complications were fairly minor in the overall scheme of things but let me tell you at the time it felt like the end of the world.

I keenly remember walking around for days after he was born with a feeling akin to pain in my chest. Truthfully I don’t think that the sensation has ever left perhaps I just grew accustomed to it. I later would describe it as if my heart had been removed and was just out there unprotected where anyone could just come along and destroy it and isn’t that what being a parent is? In having children your fatal weakness or Achilles heel is exposed to the mercy of fate or what have you and there is truly not much you can do about it.

The premise of The Deepest Secret was intriguing if misleading, a boy who was forced to live in darkness due to a sensitivity to ultraviolet light. My vampire loving heart couldn’t resist but the situation depicted in this novel was all too plausible and not the stuff of fantasy at least not one that I would like to entertain. Xeroderma pigmentosum is in fact a rare genetic disorder and not a creation spawned by this author’s fevered mind. An inherited disease XP is characterized by an extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet light. Exposure to UV light damages the genetic material in cells, this damage is typically repaired by the body. The ability of the body of persons with XP to repair this damage is limited. To put it in perspective for you, the risk of developing skin cancer for those under 20 who suffer from XP is 1,000 times greater than average.

Eve, in as far as she is able, has created  a fortress in her home to protect Tyler from ultraviolet light, her home is shielded and shaded in every possible way that money can buy and he is only allowed to venture outside after sunset. A hyper vigilant mother Eve trusts no one not even her child’s father with Tyler’s care. She has literally devoted her life to protecting her son albeit at the expense of relationships with her husband and daughter.

The Deepest Secret explores the question of what lengths a parent will go to for their child in excruciatingly plausible detail. Though the story is somewhat slow and perhaps over detailed at times, the desire to reach the conclusion will ultimately keep you turning pages. As a reader you are drawn into the untenable situation that is Eve’s life and I defy any parent to state that they would have done things differently.

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review.

carla-buckley-pressCarla Buckley was born in Washington, D.C. She has worked as an assistant press secretary for a U.S. senator, an analyst with the Smithsonian Institution, and a technical writer for a defense contractor. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, an environmental scientist, and their three children. She is the author of The Deepest Secret, Invisible, and The Things That Keep Us Here, which was nominated for a Thriller Award as a Best First novel and the Ohioana Book Award for fiction. She is currently at work on her next novel.




2 thoughts on “The Deepest Secret – Carla Buckley”

  1. Thanks so much. It is thought provoking and disturbing, you feel for Eve and despite her uber controlling tendencies you know it is the only way that she can deal with having a special needs child.

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