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Summer of Secrets: A riveting and heart-breaking novel about dark secrets and dangerous romances Paperback – 6 Sep 2018
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Praise for Nikola Scott: 'A well-written, intriguing read full of family secrets... Brilliant' (Fabulous)
An intriguing twisting story with a lush opening and beautifully descriptive writing throughout. I loved it (Dinah Jefferies, author of THE TEA PLANTER'S WIFE)
A delightful debut about family and secrets (Prima)
A compelling family story... beautifully written... evokes vivid pictures of an English summer in the 1950s (Sheila O'Flanagan)
An emotional and involving story (Woman & Home)
Beautifully written (Daily Mail)
A gripping family mystery told in lush, evocative prose (Erin Kelly)
Compelling, atmospheric and beautifully written...trembles with family secrets. I adored it (Victoria Fox)
Delightful...Beautifully written and hugely enjoyable (The People)
Absolutely captivating (www.josbookblog.co.uk)
August 1939. As a perfect Cornwall summer ends, war is in the air. And a secret changes Maddy Hamilton's world for ever. Decades later, Chloe MacAllister, with a dark secret of her own, stumbles into Maddy's life...
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Although written ostensibly in the same vein as the first (alternating between past and present), Summer of Secrets didn’t quite pull it off so well. The characters and storyline didn’t draw me in as much - and I found the prose somewhat stilted. The problem for me was the lack of delineation between past and present. I’d be reading a paragraph, when suddenly one of the two main characters would veer off into the past - and then back to the present! Additionally, the dialogue kept changing between first and third person, which made it difficult to remain absorbed and focused. Neither Chloe nor Madeleine seemed credible or believable to me.
The whole book was just too “bitty” and didn’t come together somehow. Furthermore, the ending was rushed and unfinished.
An awful shame, but I guess her first novel was a hard act to follow.
Maddie and her older sister Georgiana are orphans, so called the Summerfield orphans as they are being looked after by their Aunt Marjorie at Summerhill after Their father passed away in a terrible accident which Maddie witnessed and the events of that day never leave her. It is the end of summer in August 1939 and war is about to be declared and things will never be the same again.
Decades later Chloe MacAllister meets Maddie when she takes up an offer to do some photography work for a book that Maddie is trying quite unsuccessfully to write and illustrate. Chloe is newly pregnant and her husband Aidan is a doctor and they have a beautiful show home. Behind closed doors however Aiden is controlling and she slowly realises that her home is prison, and she has no freedom of movement and that he is controlling her every move. The one thing she has stood firm on is her relationship with her adored brother Danny who is in a home after being struck down with a terrible illness that has robbed him of much of his movement. Aidan is trying to get power of attorney for Danny and at that Chloe realises she has to leave.
This is a wonderful book that really does explore the dynamics in families and it comes together seamlessly with the past and present day. If you only read one book this year I recommend this one.
I found the constant back and forth a bit trying, you always have to leave the one set of folk, at a crucial moment, to jump decades towards another scenario. This is so much the trend in writing these days, you can't avoid it, perhaps it is considered the way to go for authors, but for me it is more often irritating. The place the tale is set, however, the imagined estate of 'Summerhill' is enchanting, romantic, and apparently set between Helford and Plymouth, so naturally I enjoyed that, as I live in the same area.
I read it very quickly, it is that kind of beach/holiday/lazy afternoon read; involving, often exciting, well planned, and pretty certain to leave you with a tear in your eye.
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