The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain. A captivating, suspenseful story about a mistake and how far one woman goes to protect her daughter.
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Book Review: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

Book Review: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

I received this book for free from Library for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
Setting: USA-North Carolina
Pages: 522
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Indie Bookstores | Amazon

A captivating and suspenseful story about a mistake and how far one woman goes to protect her daughter.


5* – I LOVED it! – The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain explores the depths a mother will go through to protect her child. Another thrilling read by Diane Chamberlain.


Synopsis from Goodreads:

“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.”



My Thoughts:


I am not a fast reader but I go through Diane’s books in record time. I typically finish her books in the wee hours of the night and in two sittings. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes was no exception, I simply could not put it down.


The story chronicles the life of CeeCee. When we meet her, CeeCee is an orphaned and insecure teenager trying to make it on her own. She gets mixed up with the wrong guy and the story is filled with kidnapping, death, birth, crime, mystery and a complex web of love and lies emerges the way only Diane can tell it.


I can relate to CeeCee in so many ways, her undying love for her family and her desire to overly protect her children.  How her rheumatoid arthritis impacts her body, how she tries to hide the pain and stay strong for her loved ones even when the disease flares due to stress.  The story is also set in North Carolina, my home state, and I can just picture the story unfold in a setting that’s familiar to me.


What does CeeCee get herself into? How will she ever get out of it? Will her family forgive her for her past? I wish I could tell you but I don’t want to spoil the journey, I do highly recommend this captivating book.  If you like suspenseful reads or books by Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult, you’ll like this book. I think it would make an interesting discussion for a book club, just check out the first question on LitLover’s list of book club questions.


Nicholas Sparks and Diane Chamberlain are both NC authors and  I have been enjoying reading stories by NC authors or set in NC.  Diane Chamberlain is often noted as being similar in style to Jodi Picoult. While both Diane and Jodi have a way of capturing my attention, Diane’s skill rests in her ability to emotionally connect me to her characters.  I form a bond with them, I agonize with them as they face their most complicated predicaments.  When the book is done, I miss them and wonder what happens next.  That’s what makes Diane Chamberlain one of my favorite authors, each book leaves a lasting impression with relatable characters in unforgettable situations.

[bctt tweet=”5* for SECRET LIFE of CEECEE WILKES by @D_Chamberlain, a mom’s dark secret could cost her” username=”momsvictories”]

Favorite Quotes:


The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain. A captivating, suspenseful story about a mistake and how far one woman goes to protect her daughter.


Books Like This You Might Enjoy:

The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain – 5*, this time the father is desperate to protect his child, set in NC

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain* – 5*, father has an incurable chronic illness, set in NC

The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda – 5*, the book that turned me into a bookworm, 2 mothers on opposite sides of the world trying to do the best for their child


Have you read The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes or any other novels by Diane Chamberlain? What other books have you read by a NC author or set in our beautiful state? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, happy reading!

About Diane Chamberlain

From Goodreads: “I’m the author of 22 novels published in more than eleven languages. I like to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of my books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, my stories usually feature a combination of suspense, mystery and intrigue.

I live in North Carolina with my significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and my shelties, Keeper and Cole–the only non-reading members of the household!

Please visit my website and blog. I look forward to seeing you there!”


    1. Thanks for stopping by Sherrey, I do hope you give Diane a try and be sure to let me know which book you read and what you thought. She has so many that I haven’t read yet and a new one coming out in September.

  1. Stopping by from the SITS Saturday Sharefest!
    I’ve never read any of Diane Chamberlain’s books, but the story seems really interesting. Thanks for the great review! I’m going to check it out!

    1. Hi Allison, I loved Bay at Midnight although I didn’t review it yet. I must sound like a broken record, every single book by Diane, I get enthralled in and can’t put down. Guaranteed I will finish her books in 2 nights, I cannot say the same for other books I have read. I love the way she develops the characters and switches narrator and even past to present. Midwife’s Confession is my favorite. I love Wilmington, we were just in Wrightsville Beach this past weekend 🙂 Some of her books are set in places I know well including mine and her hometown so it really helps me develop a personal connection to the story. I had the pleasure of meeting her quite accidentally twice and not in a place I’d have expected. She is truly a gem of a lady, very genuine and down to earth. Thanks for stopping by!

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