The Safe-Keeper’s Secret Series
This trilogy — consisting of The Safe-Keeper’s Secret, The Truth-Teller’s Tale, and The Dream-Maker’s Magic — takes place in a world characterized by three special types of people who live and work among the other citizens — Safe-Keepers, who will always keep a secret; Truth-Tellers, who cannot tell a lie; and the Dream-Maker, a single person whose very presence has the power to grant a person’s greatest wish. Set in an imaginary and timeless kingdom, the three books are related only peripherally; each has its own plot and characters, with the characters from the other books showing up for cameo appearances, and they can be read in any order, though chronologically they occur as I’ve listed them.
These books are feel-good, romantic, coming-of-age stories, and all have similar themes — the societal and personal importance of both secrets and truth-telling, the fulfillment of deep wishes and desires, and, most centrally, and the discovery of one’s self — with some fun plot twists and surprises along the way. The stories are anything but deep, yet still satisfying (they make nice one-day reads). The main characters in each book grow from young girls to confident young women, discovering who they are, discovering — and fulfilling — their life’s calling. Somehow, however, Shinn avoids the grating post-modern approach to this theme: her heroines do not feel the need to rebel in order to discover themselves, and they are genuinely nice girls who care about other people and are not unhealthily self-focused. Therefore, the ‘discover yourself’ theme loses its most annoying characteristics. Though the focus on dream fulfillment sounds like a prime opportunity for extreme sappiness, Shinn manages to avoid this pitfall as well — she somehow skirts the saccharine, probably by including some serious motifs (including child abuse, rape, and broken relationships) in a manner that is both entirely tasteful and almost entirely free from sap. Though the books are, in a sense, very romantic, and most of the characters fall happily in love, romance is not the focus of the stories either. Granted, the books will probably appeal primarily to females, particularly young ones, but there’s nothing wrong with having your audience pegged in advance, I suppose…