17 reviews

The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes
by Diane Chamberlain

Published: 2008-01-01
Paperback : 528 pages
53 members reading this now
54 clubs reading this now
32 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 16 of 17 members
An unsolved murder. A missing child. A lifetime of deception. In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child. CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because ...
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An unsolved murder. A missing child. A lifetime of deception. In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child. CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth, and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die in order to protect a lifetime of lies...

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


Chapter One


Raleigh, North Carolina

She couldn't concentrate on making love. No matter how tenderly or passionately or intimately Ken touched her, her mind was miles away. It was a little after five on Tuesday afternoon, the time they protected from meetings or dinner with friends or anything else that might interfere with their getting together, and usually Corinne relished the love-making with her fiancé. Today, though, she wanted to fast forward to the pillow talk. She had so much to say. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1 - CeeCee made a terrible mistake as a teenager, yet that mistake gave her a beloved daughter in Corinne. Did you do anything in your younger years that you deeply regret? (You don’t need to reveal what it was!) Did anything good come from it, and if so, how does that impact your feeling of regret?

2 - CeeCee was smart and level headed. What elements conspired to allow her to help Tim in his plot to kidnap Genevieve Russell? Was there any point in your life when you might have been similarly seduced?

3 - Did you feel sympathy toward CeeCee as a teenager? What other emotions did you feel toward her and why?

4 - How did you feel about CeeCee’s mother leaving the letters for her?

5 - Discuss CeeCee’s (and young Eve’s) self-esteem issues. What do you think created them and how do they play into her actions?

6 - How would you describe Eve as a mother of the infant Cory? Of the adult Cory?

7 - How do you feel about Jack as a husband and father? What did you like about him? Dislike?

8 - Corinne had many fears and phobias. What do you think was the genesis of those fears?

9 - Why do you think Eve made the choice she did when she learned of Tim’s conviction? Would you have made the same choice? Why or why not?

10 - How would you have felt in Corinne’s place when she learned of her mother’s deception?

11 - How do you feel about family secrets? Would the big secrets in this family–Eve’s actual identity and Corinne’s kidnaping–have been better left alone?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Dear Reader,

I love hearing that a reader stayed up all night to finish one of my books! My first goal as a writer is to entertain and to keep those pages turning. But I also like hearing that one of my stories challenged a reader to imagine herself in my character=s shoes . . even if those shoes are a little uncomfortable.

Sometimes we make choices we later regret, and we must find a way to live with them. That=s the predicament in which CeeCee Wilkes finds herself when the actions she takes as a teenager threaten to haunt her and the people she loves for the rest of their lives. Would you have made the choices she makes? Could you cope with living a Asecret life?@

I found myself caring deeply about CeeCee as I wrote her story. I hope you=ll care about her, too.


Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by Stacey L. (see profile) 10/31/19

Couldn’t stop reading- stayed up late and reorganized day to finish this book!

by Ruth S. (see profile) 08/15/19

  "Suspenseful!"by Kristi F. (see profile) 10/06/14

Another great book for Ms. Chamberlain. Couldn't put it down and hated when I had to. This is a sit at the edge of your seat and chew your fingernails novel, very suspenseful. Love the authors story... (read more)

  "Good read"by Katie A. (see profile) 09/18/14

A bit difficult to discuss as a group since it was very straight forward. Also, by the end, the sympathy you were obviously meant to feel for CeeCee was coming on a bit thick... but otherwise a good, quick... (read more)

by Leigh N. (see profile) 09/18/14

  "The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes"by Wendy B. (see profile) 02/27/14

Our bookclub members all loved this book. We were able to skype with Diane Chamberlain, and found her to be just wonderful. She was happy to visit with us and answer a bunch of questions as well as share... (read more)

  "The Birdy Book Club Review"by Amber T. (see profile) 08/21/13


  "What would you do?"by Melissa H. (see profile) 06/04/12

Well-written book, that kept the reader's attention. Good book discussions about family, secrets and what would you do in if faced with the situation.

  "The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes"by Chris A. (see profile) 05/07/12

An easy read. Although I did like the book (it had an interesting storyline), I felt there were many parts, especially the CeeCee section that were poorly written. It was hard to feel alot of sympathy... (read more)

  "Frustrating and unrealistic!"by Lei Anne M. (see profile) 01/25/12

I have to say that the idea of the story could really have held my interest. Unfortunately, the poor choices and unbelievable naivete of the main character was frustrating, at best. To further add to... (read more)

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