Review: The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

Please join me in saying Happy Book Birthday to Alyson Richman's The Secret of Clouds! I'm reading it now and about halfway through. It's a great read and very sweet story.

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

Publication Date: February 19, 2019 | Penguin/Berkley

Genre: Women's Fiction

From the #1 international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Velvet Hours comes an emotionally charged story about a mother's love, a teacher's promise, and a child's heart.....

Katya, a rising ballerina, and Sasha, a graduate student, are young and in love when an unexpected tragedy befalls their native Kiev. Years later, after the couple has safely emigrated to America the consequences of this incident cause their son, Yuri, to be born with a rare health condition that isolates him from other children. Maggie, a passionate and dedicated teacher agrees to tutor Yuri at his home, even though she is haunted by her own painful childhood memories. As the two forge a deep and soulful connection, Yuri's boundless curiosity and unique wisdom inspires Maggie to make difficult changes in her own life. And she'll never realize just how strong Yuri has made her — until she needs that strength the most......

A novel that will make readers examine what it means to live life with a full heart.



A teacher's love for her student is masterfully told in this sweet and emotional read, The Secret of Clouds.

The book is set mainly in 1999 as the Y2K madness was happening, but for a short while the story goes back to the mid-80s in Kiev as Richman tells the story of Yuri's parents and how they came to move to the US after the disaster at Chernobyl.

In the present storyline, we follow Maggie, who has left her corporate job to follow her dream of becoming a teacher. She is now teaching sixth grade and is asked to help tutor Yuri, who is unable to attend school due to his heart defect. It's slow going at first as Maggie tries to drag Yuri out of his shell, but they soon bond over baseball. I absolutely loved the Mets references! I married a New Yorker so I'm a Mets fan by marriage and our boys love them too. In fact, my 6-year-old wore his Mets hat to school today for "hat day".

The Secret of Clouds is a fantastic tribute to teachers and shows how a child can affect our lives just as much as we affect theirs.

I've been reading quite a few dark and gritty reads lately so this was a welcome change. It was an easy read and I devoured it in a few sittings. This was my first read by Richman (*gasp*) but it won't be my last!

"And yet, I knew that so many languages of love existed. Some forms, however, were more obvious than others. But if you took a step back sometimes, you could find it in the most unlikely places. And the discovery of it was often the greatest reward."

Praise for The Secret of Clouds

“Alyson Richman is known for her stunning historical fiction (The Lost Wife is being made into a movie as we speak!), but her first foray into a contemporary story will make you forget about the past…. The Secret of Clouds is a moving story about the power of one person to change our lives.”―PopSugar

“[A] devastating novel…bolstered by Richman’s perspective on how teachers and students can learn from each other, resulting in a heartening tale.”―Publishers Weekly

“Richman writes a captivating…contemporary novel of making unexpected friendships and living life to its fullest. For fans of Marie Bostwick and Karen White.”―Library Journal

“With lyrical writing and a compelling story…this book is tailor-made for book groups.”—Booklist

“Long renowned as a master of historical fiction, Alyson Richman spreads her wings and soars with the contemporary story…The Secret of Clouds is an unforgettable gift.”—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale

“A story of family bonds, heartbreak, healing and hope—one that reminds us it is not how long we live but how well we live that matters most. The tenderly written ending will bring you to tears, but in the best possible way.”—Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

“A tender, captivating, and ultimately satisfying story about the emotional gifts exchanged between a caring teacher and a student in need. Thank you, Alyson Richman, for another heartrending tale.”—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

“Exquisite and haunting. Richman writes with the soul of a poet, and her captivating new novel enchants while tugging ever so gently at the heart. Her story stands as a reminder to never take any day for granted.”—Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Masterpiece

"Alyson Richman weaves an emotionally rich story of love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit. The Secrets of Clouds will soar off the page and into your heart."—Jamie Brenner, national bestselling author of The Husband Hour

"Alyson Richman captures the gift of love—for family, and those who feel like family—with her pen dipped first in truth, then crystalline tenderness, and finally compassion. The Secret of Clouds immersed me in the world of a teacher’s caring, an immigrant family’s heroism, and a child’s courage. Richman writes like a dream."—Randy Susan Meyers, internationally bestselling author of The Widow of Wall Street

“In her new novel, Alyson Richman weaves storytelling magic with an extraordinary cast of characters: a compassionate young teacher, a precocious but ailing student, and an immigrant couple with a uniquely tragic past. Readers have come to expect Richman’s luscious prose and vivid details, but in The Secret of Clouds, she delivers even more – I was thoroughly captivated by this deeply personal tale of perseverance, acceptance, and the heart’s capacity for love.”—Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Two-Family House

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Alyson Richman is the author of six historical novels including "The Mask Carver's Son," "The Rhythm of Memory (formerly published as Swedish Tango)," The Last Van Gogh," and three international bestsellers: "The Lost Wife.," "The Garden of Letters" and "The Velvet Hours." Her books have been translated into 20 languages. She loves to travel, cook, ride her yellow bicycle, and do ballet. She currently lives in New York with her husband and two children.


  1. I love the title. It is interesting to read how children and their families deal with illness. Many speak of it bringing love into their lives and making them stronger. They certainly are an inspiration to those around them.

    1. It was an interesting aspect to the story, absolutely! I can't imagine what families go through when their child is ill. Hurts my heart just thinking about it.


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