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Book Club: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes

Mamaroneck reader Julie Salicrup begins her series of book reviews and recommendations for book clubs. And a list you won’t believe…

This week’s book is The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

Chapel Hill, NC, the pastoral college town, is where we enter the life of CeeCee Wilkes.  She is young and vulnerable but steadfast to her beliefs.  CeeCee works as a waitress, itching to start her life, when she meets and falls in love with a mysterious graduate student.  The choices she makes with him determines the course of her life.

After a single tragic event, the novel follows CeeCee for the next 30 years haunted by a single day in her past.  We watch CeeCee mature from a youthful teenager to a responsible but tormented adult.  As CeeCee’s life begins to align, her past surfaces and her fictitious existence begins to unravel.

This book will keep you hungry for each chapter.  I found myself defending CeeCee’s choices with each character that entered her life.  You don’t find out the fate of CeeCee until the very end but you will be glad you stuck with her.

I recommend this novel for book clubs.  There are many moral and ethical dilemmas which could lend to thoughtful club discussions.  Covering such topics as a missing child, the death penalty and an unsolved murder, this novel will make you ask yourself if CeeCee made the right decision and what would have been your choice?


Below is a list of books our book club has read:

The Magician’s Assistant


Miss Understanding

Amy and Isabelle


Jenna Jameson Autobiography – How to Make Love like a porn star

A Thousand Splendid Suns

The Wednesday Letters

The Book of Air and Shadows

The Namesake

Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife

The Thirteenth Tale

Julia’s Chocolate


The Memory Keepers Daughter

The Year of Pleasures

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

You’re Not You

The Myth of You and Me



The God of Animals

The Cure for Modern Life

The Queen of the South

The Whistling Season

Of Human Bondage

The Lace Reader

The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears

Time is a River


Lima Nights

The Watchmen

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

The House on Mango Street

The Condition

I Capture the Castle

Same Kind of Different as Me

Three Junes

Puppet Child


This is Where I Leave You

Dinner with Anna Karenina

The Likeness

Let the Great World Spin

The Broken Teaglass

Cutting For Stone

The Imperfectionists

13 Reasons Why

Very Valentine

Sima’s Undergarments for Women

Ham on Rye

The Madonna’s of Leningrad

The Wednesday Sisters


A Week at the Airport

The Lock Artist

Running the Book: The Adventures of a Prison Librarian

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Reading Jackie – Her Autobiography in Books

Bringing out the Dead

Girl in Translation

Sister: A Novel

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: A short story and 3 stories

Miss New India

Enders Game


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