Authors: Diane Chamberlain
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #archaeology, #luray cavern, #journal, #shenandoah, #diary, #cavern
A novel by
Smashwords Edition Copyright © 2010 by Diane
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All rights reserved. No part of this
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writing from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, brands, media and incidents are either the product of the
author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely
Originally published by HarperCollins
thrilled to make
available to my readers as an e-book. Originally published
in 1991 when my readership was small, it has long been out of
print. It's become extremely hard to find and I know it's been a
challenge for some of you to track down your own copy. Finally—at
least for those of you with e-book technology—
is once again available.
written seventeen novels since
, but it will always hold a special place in my heart and
I'd like to tell you why.
I love my first two novels,
Lovers and Strangers
, I don't feel as though I truly discovered my "voice" as a
With this book, I began to understand how important structure,
pacing and revelations are to a story. With
, I believe that I learned how to engage my reader
to the point that she (or he) might stay up all night
I also fell deeply in love with my
characters, particularly Kate. Kate's chapters are written in first
person, since they're all in the form of journal entries. I'd never
written in first person before and I discovered how incredibly
close I could feel to a character by putting myself inside her
heart and mind in that way.
Another reason Secret Lives touched me was
Kate's agoraphobia. I never set out to make her agoraphobic—she
simply became that way over the course of the book. I, too,
suffered from agoraphobia as a child and young adult, which is
another reason why I related to her so strongly. I understand Kate
Finally, the setting. I visited the Luray
Caverns in the Shenandoah Valley when I lived in Virginia and was
mesmerized by their beauty and mystery. I knew from the moment I
set foot in the caverns that I wanted to use them in one of my
books. The setting—Kate's beloved cavern—nearly becomes a character
in its own right.
I've chosen not to update this story because
Kate and her journal belong in a specific era. The contemporary
portion of the story takes place around 1990 and you'll find no
cell phones or personal computers or iPods and definitely no e-book
I hope you'll enjoy this tale of love and
family…and one very special woman.
—Diane Chamberlain, 2010
In Memory of Diane Mary McCrone
Eden Swift Riley was good at pretending. That
would get her through this interview, her first in many months. She
stood at the edge of her Santa Monica living room, watching the
television crew shove her sofa this way and that, and breathed
slowly, deeply. She would feign calm. The viewers would marvel at
her composure, her dignity. She was the master of make-believe.
Ironic. It was for that very reason that Wayne had left her.
“You're always on,” he said. “Always acting. Always playing a
Nina walked across the room to stand next to
her. “God, you look good,” Nina said as she straightened the collar
of Eden's blouse. “I haven't seen you look this terrific since… in
a long time.”
“You look pretty cute yourself,” Eden said.
Nina was wearing blue jeans—she was not your typical Hollywood
agent—a red T-shirt, and a purple scarf tied at her throat which
set off her gamin-cut, jet-black hair. She was only thirty-four,
one year younger than Eden, and she did indeed look adorable.
“They're trying to move your sofa so they'll
get a view of the ocean through the windows behind it,” Nina
“Uh huh.” What they were really trying to do,
she thought, was to make this living room look as though it
belonged to a star, someone worthy of a Monika Lane interview.
Well, her house should come as no surprise to anyone. She was not
known for her pretensions.
Nina shook her head. “They're making a mess
of your rug."
“I don't care.” She didn't. The crushed dents
in the toast-colored carpet seemed insignificant. Since Wayne left,
this house had no pull on her. The thought of moving had been
slipping in and out of her mind the past few weeks. Someplace where
there'd be more kids Cassie's age; someplace quieter, away from the
beach. Lately she'd found herself longing for trees, for something
Finally the crew was satisfied with the room,
and Monika Lane settled her elegant self onto one end of the
steel-blue sofa and nodded for Eden to join her. Eden sat down at
the other end. She pictured the scene through the camera's lens,
the way she and Monika would balance each other. Monika with her
dark, dark hair. Eden with her blond. But they were more alike than
different, she knew—two self-made women who'd worked their way to
the top with ambition and integrity.
Eden curled her legs beneath her. Her feet
were bare. She wore white silk pants, a soft, full white blouse
open at the throat. It was her favorite outfit for difficult
situations. It comforted her. It was like being wrapped in a cloud.
Her hair was down today, although lately she'd taken to pinning it
up. And there was a single braided gold chain at her throat. She
wore very little makeup. No one would expect her to.
Someone handed her a mug of coffee, which she
cradled on her lap between her palms.
As soon as the interview started Eden knew
Monika was going to be gentle with her, at least more gentle than
usual. Monika knew her audience would not appreciate her ripping
apart the beloved and betrayed Eden Riley.
“This is one of the best periods for you
professionally, Eden,” Monika said, “but one of the worst for you
“It's been difficult,” Eden agreed. “But I'm
surviving.” She should say more. Take control of the interview, as
Nina would say. She imagined Nina standing against the wall,
muttering to herself, and the thought gave Eden some pleasure.
“Your marriage survived a long time by
“It was thought to be one of the most stable
Eden sat up straighter. Monika wasn't going
to let her off as easily as she'd thought. “Well, a marriage can
look healthy on the outside and be loaded with problems
“Was yours loaded with problems?”
Eden looked down at her mug to think her
answer through. She hadn't known there were problems. She had been
as shocked as anyone when Wayne walked out.
“I think there were problems I was unaware
of. I worked long hours, he traveled a lot, and I guess our
communication suffered along the way. Wayne's been made to look
like the bad guy, but a marriage is a two-way street.”
“You don't blame him?”
“He no longer wanted to be married to an
actress. I can't blame him for that.” For other things, yes. But
not for that.
“He's remarrying soon, is that right?”
Eden nodded. “Next month. A woman in
Pennsylvania.” As if Monika didn't know. As if the world didn't
know she'd been traded in. A schoolteacher, Wayne had crowed. You
can't get much more down-to-earth than that.
“And your daughter. Cassie. You'll have joint
Eden felt a jab of pain behind her eyes, so
quick and sharp she'd had no time to prepare for it. Cassie was the
one topic that could throw this interview, turn her into a wailing
fool. But she caught herself, smiled broadly. “Yeah. She'll be a
“How old is she now?”
“Four. This year's actually been good for me
in a way. I haven't been working much and it's given me time to be
just a mom."
“You've also been hard at work on your pet
“The Handicapped Children's Fund. Yes.”
“You were so wonderful as Lily Wolfe in Heart
of Winter.” Monika changed the subject abruptly. She probably
thought talk about the Children's Fund would put the audience to
“What was it like for you, after years of
making films that appeal to the under-thirteen crowd?”
“Freeing. And frightening. I wasn't certain
how seriously I'd be taken in that type of film.”
“Your Oscar should put that concern to rest.
Did it surprise you to win?”
Eden uttered something modest—humble words
that poured from her mechanically and that she would forget moments
later. The truth was, she had not been surprised by the Oscar.
She'd gone to the premiere of Heart of Winter, more anxious about
what she would see on the screen than she'd ever been before. But
once the film began, once she saw how thoroughly she'd become Lily
Wolfe, she knew she'd done something extraordinary. When it was
over and the audience sat hushed and limp for a few seconds before
breaking into wild applause, she knew that they knew it too.
“Why were you so adamant about not doing a
nude scene?” Monika asked.
Eden shifted on the sofa, wishing she had a
place to set the mug of now cold coffee. “It seemed too great a
leap,” she said. “You know, one minute I'm playing the heroine of
ten-year-olds, the next I'm rolling around naked in bed with a
“And that guy was Michael Carey.”
Eden felt the color rise in her cheeks.
“You're blushing, Eden.” Monika grinned,
“Everyone's blown our friendship way out of
“Is that all it is? Friendship?”
“Absolutely.” She thought of Michael watching
this interview. He'd heard these words from her dozens of times.
Maybe he'd finally believe her if she said them in public. “I like
his company, but I'm not rushing into a serious relationship with
Monika shook her head in disappointment. “You
two seem so very right for each other. I don't think I've ever,
despite the fact that you were clothed the entire time, seen a more
erotic love scene in a movie than that hotel room scene between the
two of you.”
Eden smiled, felt the color rise again.
“There was chemistry between the two characters. That doesn't mean
there's chemistry between the two actors.” Oh, God, did she really
say that? Sorry, Michael.
“Your childhood, Eden. It's the one topic you
steadfastly refuse to discuss in an interview.”
Eden kept her smile in place. “And I'm not
about to change my policy on that now, Monika.” She discussed her
childhood with no one, not even herself. She felt as though someone
else had lived her life before she moved to California.
“Well, let me just summarize a little. You're
the daughter of the extremely successful children's author,
Katherine Swift, who died when you were quite young. Do you think
being Katherine Swift's daughter had anything to do with your
success as an actress?”
Eden nodded. “It got my foot in the door. It
helped me get parts in the films that were based on her stories.
But after that I was on my own.”
“You coauthored the wonderful screenplay for
Heart of Winter. Did you inherit some of your mother's writing
“I hope so. That was new for me and something
I'd like to do again.”
“Are you at all like her in other ways? I
mean, she earned the reputation of being an eccentric of a sort—an
odd, reclusive woman who kept people at a distance.”
Eden ignored the urge to come to her mother's
defense. She laughed. “Do you think I'm odd and eccentric?”
“Certainly not on the surface.”
“Not below the surface either,” she said,
with a hint of bravado, but she heard Wayne's voice in the back of
her mind. “Who the hell is the real Eden Riley? I don't think I've
ever met her. I don't think you've met her either.”