Secrets …





Secrets of the Velvet Closet by Lena Rai

January 1, 2014 by  Leave a Comment

Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Autobiography, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Full Length (284 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Secrets of the Velvet Closet starts with the tale of a young girl who struggles with abuse and must somehow manage to find her way into adulthood, as well as find herself, through hardships, questionable choices, trials and tribulations, humor, and of course, love. A true coming-of-age story with heartfelt memories and laughter. This autobiographical account is truly an emotional roller-coaster with a highly inspirational message to follow your dreams, and most of all, your heart!

Terrible secrets lose power when they’re exposed to the light of day.

The best sections of this book involve memories about things that most people don’t like to recall due to embarrassment or the worry that other people will judge them. Ms. Rai readily admits to these things, though, and she isn’t ashamed by anything that has happened to her. I get the impression that she is the sort of person who has long since learned to stop caring what others think about her, and when combined with her extraordinary storytelling abilities this makes it difficult to put Secrets of the Velvet Closet down.

The narrative jumps around a bit, and sometimes I found it hard to keep track of what was happening. The inclusion of anecdotes about such a large list of friends and family members was also occasionally confusing because there was so little space to get to know these individuals better. Ms. Rai has had such an interesting life that this tale could have been easily split up into a series. This would have also given her more time to delve into the backstories of the men, women, and children who have emotionally impacted her.

There are plenty of colloquial expressions in the plot that I’d never heard of before. I really enjoyed the author’s use of them as well as of slang terms in order to paint a vivid picture of her social circles. Ms. Rai has a wonderfully creative way with words that makes it very easy to envision exactly how her adventures take place.

Grammatical and punctuation errors did occasionally make it difficult for me to understand what she was saying, though. While most of them were easy to decipher there were a few instances in which I was stumped. Had this not been the case this book would have earned a higher rating as the anecdotes themselves were quite entertaining!

What I liked the most was Ms. Rai’s ability to pick herself up and try again no matter what happened to her. As a small child she was exposed to a lot of things that are extremely harmful to children, yet she seems to harbour no ill will against the people in her life who should have been protecting her from those experiences. It takes a lot of courage to reach this point, and I admire her honesty about the painful times as well as as the happy ones.

Secrets of the Velvet Closet made me laugh and cry. This is a good choice for anyone looking for an uplifting autobiography.



“… the story of a Native Indian Lesbian who grew up in unstable circumstances,…; her life with …a string of male and female partners, always struggling with her sexuality, … It is a brave and soul bearing book …, a book of struggle and persistence that will pull at your heart strings. Very powerful and moving.”
“…it shows how against all odds, through love, hope, and inner strength, you can accomplish anything. …The writer was real and honest, and I could feel the emotion as I read through this amazing life story! …”

“You’ve got a great voice and what promises to be an interesting story. I really dig your outlook and sense of humor, and that you manage those things while accepting the gravity of each of your trials…..”

By Bedlam Publishing


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