Monday, 20 June 2016

Review - A Summer of Secrets by Alice Ross

Despite not having read the first book in the Countryside Dreams series written by Alice Ross, when I received an email offering me the chance to participate in the blog tour for The Summer of Secrets I read the description and jumped at the chance. It sounded like the perfect, feel-good book with an absolutely gorgeous cover that really was impossible to resist. It turned out to be everything I thought it was going to be and much more and was an absolute pleasure to read from start to finish.

In this book the reader is transported to the village of Buttersley where we meet four villagers over the course of one summer. Firstly there’s Portia whose father has recently passed away. She has just returned to the family manor which is in a terrible state but which she is determined to keep hold of despite having very little money and despite a rather irresistible property developer making an appearance and offering to take it off her hands. Then there is Joe, who predominantly cleans windows but who desperately misses his ex who abandoned him, taking their child with her, for a richer man two years ago. Next up there’s Jenny who seems to spend the majority of time either looking after her demanding mother or working in the local school but who has decided it’s time to spread her wings and start living a little. Finally there is Rich who seems to live a perfect life with a beautiful wife and lovely daughter until one day someone very unexpected turns up on his doorstep. Where will one summer take these four characters? 

Although we have the stories of four individual characters to follow over the course of the novel and it jumps around quite a lot between them all, one thing that has to be said is that this isn’t confusing at all. Instead, I found that I got into the pattern of this novel extremely quickly and found that it was very easy to keep track of what they were all doing. I loved getting to know all of the main four characters throughout the novel and thought they were all very down-to-earth people who I couldn’t help but want the best for. It was also particularly nice to see the way in which their paths all ended up crossing with eachother in one way or another. 

I loved the way in which this book was written and think that Alice has done an absolutely spectactular job with it. The book contains a lot of beautiful description that really sets the scene for the reader and which allows you to picture absolutely everything that is going on. Yet at the same time it makes for extremely light reading and is really everything that a good chick-lit book should be. It’s one of those books that once started, is possible to read extremely quickly and I devoured it in the short space of 24 hours. 

Whilst I said that this is the second book in the Countryside Dreams series I have to say that I feel that it works very well as a standalone novel and I don’t feel I was missing any vital information by not having read the first installment. It certainly won’t be the last book I read by Alice Ross and believe that this book would be the perfect summer reading for any chick-lit fan whose looking for a great little book to keep them company round the poolside this year.

About the author

Alice Ross used to work in the financial services industry where she wrote riveting, enthralling brochures about pensions and ISAs that everyone read avidly and no one ever put straight into the bin. One day, when nobody was looking, she managed to escape. Dragging her personal chef (aka her husband) along with her, she headed to Spain, where she began writing witty, sexy, romps designed to amuse slightly more than pension brochures. Missing Blighty (including the weather - but don't tell anyone), she returned five years later and now works part-time in the tourism industry. When not writing, she can be found scratching out a tune on her violin, walking her dog in wellies two sizes too big (don't ask!), or standing on her head in a yoga pose. 

You can find Alice on her website and also on Twitter.