Nellie Peck is thirteen years old going on forty. She is wise, intelligent and impulsive. Despite her precociousness, however, she is still a child. She lives with her parents and two siblings, Ruth and Henry; Ruth is a half-sister from a relationship that her mother had in high school. The Pecks are struggling financially. Nellie’s mother works as a hair dresser and Nellie’s father owns a hardware store that is slowly going under. Her father’s passion is his writing – he is writing a tome about the history of their town, Springvale. His goal is to get it self-published so that it can be read by a wide audience.
THE LAST SECRET is powerful and unflinching. It builds up slowly but the tension and angst keep coming. The characters are disgruntled, desperate, despairing, fragile, with huge currents roiling through their being as they try to keep their inner and outer storms at bay. Some characters are loathsome, despicable and pathetic. These are juxtaposed with others who try to stay strong, keep one foot in front of the other, and maintain independence at all costs. What Ms. Morris is so excellent at portraying is that while people try to fool themselves into believing that they have certain attributes better, worse, or more unique than others, most people are actually quite alike in that they harbor these components: the good, the bad and the evil.