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The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes    by Diane Chamberlain order for
Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes
by Diane Chamberlain
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

CeeCee works as a waitress in a restaurant near the University of North Carolina campus which is frequented by students. Although students don't tip well, CeeCee likes the energy of living in a college town. She wants to be part of that energy, but first she has to save enough money for tuition. Although she is only sixteen, CeeCee's take on life is positive despite her past. She is on her own now that she's left the foster care system that took care of her since her mother died of cancer when she was twelve.

A graduate student comes into the restaurant and begins sitting exclusively in CeeCee's section. After flirting and getting to know her, Tim Gleason asks her out. Not having a lot of experience with men, CeeCee is thrilled and soon a romance is blooming.

Tim's twin sister is on death row and Tim is doing everything he can to stall her execution. His current plan involves CeeCee. Her love for him clouds her judgment and before she knows it, she is criminally involved in a kidnapping that goes wrong.

SCAPE, which stands for Stop Capital Punishment Everywhere, helps CeeCee get away and start a new life in Virginia as Eve Elliot. Devastated that she will never see Tim again, she slides into the life that has been created for her while he goes undercover elsewhere, also with a new identity. She isn't even allowed to know where.

Eve Elliot becomes a remarkable woman before her past catches up with her. Chamberlain has written another book with a multilayered plot and tight suspense. Unlike past novels, there are no dark secrets to discover, but this a powerful story of a mother's unconditional love for her daughter. Though Chamberlain's books usually end up in the romance section, her stories are always about much more than a simple love affair. Try this one for a comfortable and satisfying read.

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