Best Kept Secret (Family Tree Book 3) by Ann M. Martin
This is the latest installment of the Family Tree series by Ann M. Martin. I must say that i picked up the first book because I love genealogy and the idea of a “family tree” type of series thrilled me. However, the first and second books kind of left me cold – not in a Stephen King kind of way – but in the way that some members of this family do not get along. Another way they left me cold is in the style they are written. Sometimes they feel like warm family stories and at other times, I feel detached and separated as the reader, as each chapter sometimes skips months or even years from the one before. This book and the first two leave me with very mixed feelings. This third one also ended with the main character, who grew up during the 1970s and ends in the 1990s, in a relationship and pregnant just as the first two did. These books are also trying to explore both mother/daughter relationships and father/daughter relationships, and in many ways are probably fairly realistic of some families.
I want to see what is going to happen in the fourth installment. I thought that this third one didn’t quite leave me as “cold.” It was wrapped up a little better, although Francie’s mother, Dana (the main character of the second book), still has an ongoing battle with her mother Abby (main character of the first book). I still can’t discern the exact reason. They just don’t quite get along because of decisions they’ve both made.
In this book, Francie is age seven when the book opens, and it struggling to learn how to read because of dyslexia. Soon she’s made life-long friends, but over the coming years her immediate family goes through changes. The next book will feature Francie’s daughter.
I don’t know what age I would actually recommend these books for. I suppose ages 9 to 13. I would have probably enjoyed these when I was about eleven years old, to be specific. I might have been annoyed then, too, that some things are never resolved in this story.
Overall, I gave this one four out of five stars on LibraryThing.