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What Is the Theme of "A Secret Sorrow"?


"A Secret Sorrow" is a romance novel written by Karen van der Zee and published in 1981. The main protagonist, Faye, a woman in her 20s, must deal with her haunting and tragic past to find lasting peace and enduring love. Faye was in a horrible car accident that led to her inability to ever have children. When she falls for a loving and trustworthy man, Kai, she refuses to get too close and won't marry him. She doesn't want to tell him about her accident, fearing that he'll see her as damaged goods and won't want to be with her anymore. The theme is about finding true love and letting go of the past.

Overcoming Fear and Insecurity

The theme centers on Faye's inability to reconcile her past with her present and her future. Because she can't have children, she feels insecure, worthless and guilty. Faye fears rejection and avoids telling Kai about her infertility because she doesn't want to disappoint him. Van der Zee wants readers to explore Faye's deep feelings of inadequacy. The theme is about learning to accept your past, so you can move forward in life and in your relationships. Faye eventually learns that it's better to be honest with others, rather than living in fear and isolation.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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