Bailee, Geena and Piper grew up in Washington State along with their parents. Their names are sweet and feminine. The family is not too large. Washington State or Seattle is a beautiful place in which to live. Plus, the family's physical needs are handled by a hard working father. However, this family is far from perfect. Mrs. Cooper is mentally ill. She suffers with schizophrena. This is a very serious illness because most of the time, without medications, a person lives outside of reality. For whatever reason or reasons Mrs. Cooper never believed medication could change her life for the better. She spent many hours, days, months and years thinking a serial killer wanted to kill her children. At times she thought of herself as an aide to the FBI. It is hard to grasp what conditions these sisters lived with everyday in their early lives. Even their father, usually at work, could not imagine all that was going on right beneath his nose.
"Yes, I didn't know how to deal with your mother. I didn't know how to help her--especially when she wouldn't help herself."
There is also another sibling. The secret about this child's life is too significant and tragic for me to share with any reader of this review. The neighbors had some idea that the Coopers were strange and different. They just didn't know exactly what was wrong. I think it is most hurtful when we're staring a tragedy right in the face and can't quite grasp the picture. What we see is fuzzy, dark, too light like any photograph that does not come out correctly. I suppose schizophrenia is a little like a mirage in a dessert. A traveller thinks he sees water when really there is not any water within sight.
Bailee is the oldest child. Therefore, Mrs. Cooper blamed Bailee for anything that would go wrong. At other times she involved Bailee in her bizarre behavior.
"I crossed the yard to a building far behind the house. Inside it wasn't much warmer, but at least I was out of the wind. Momma looked frantically around the room and motioned for me to get inside an abandoned cardboard box...It was scary when she closed the lid and put something atop the box...I clutched my doll close to keep from crying."
Sadly, years go by before all of the Coopers, except for Mrs. Cooper, can come together and talk about their lives. The title HOUSE OF SECRETS is so perfect for the novel. Tracie Peterson is a master at making such a complex story so utterly real. At the same time the novel did not leave me hopeless. It is a novel proving that mirages can disappear leaving behind real, life saving waters if we put our faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"