The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy – A Book Review

With The Rhythm of Secrets, Patti Lacy proves herself an author of immense talent.

The Rhythm of Secrets is an ambitious tale that presents the story of Sheila, a humble woman married to a high-profile pastor.  However, Sheila has secrets—dark secrets—that even her husband has not yet discovered.  From the wildness of 1940s New Orleans to the chaos of Thailand during the Vietnam War era, Sheila’s life is rife with trials and tribulations, and her faith is constantly challenged.

Though The Rhythm of Secrets belongs to a genre I normally don’t read, there is no disputing the fact that Lacy expertly delivered this family saga.  Most striking of all is Lacy’s pure talent with the written word.  Her style and structure are smooth, well-crafted, and enjoyable.  Characterization is also a particular strong-suit of Lacy’s, for her Sheila leapt off the page.  Her supporting cast was comprised of well-rounded, dynamic characters that each deserved a book of their very own.  And just as Lacy used the perfect word in almost all circumstances, she also painted just enough description to satisfy the imagination without drowning it.  Lacy also masterfully employed parallelism, for circumstances and symbols early in the story played pertinent roles many, many years later at the end of the story.  This careful attention to plot afforded a rewarding, thought-provoking experience.

My only criticism is the pacing.  The Rhythm of Secrets always had a sense of urgency to it, but the first two-thirds of the book were very methodical in revealing Sheila layer by layer.  It is her story, and we will know it thoroughly.  However, the last third of the book becomes more action-oriented, which was a bit jarring because I had grown accustomed to Sheila slowly divulging almost every aspect of her past.  Don’t misunderstand: the last act of the book is incredibly exhilarating.  However, for me, the increased pace did not mesh with the previously established tempo, and, as a result, Sheila fell victim to the rapidly intensifying plot.

All in all, however, The Rhythm of Secrets is an enticing work that clearly establishes Lacy as a powerhouse within the writing community.  Her technique is impeccable, and she has given us a character in Sheila that will reside in our hearts and minds long after we’ve shelved the book.

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