Thursday, 11 July 2019

Release Day Review: The Secret Hours by Santa Montefiore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Enthralling, I fell head-first into this captivating, standalone fourth book in the Deverill Chronicles.

Bostonian Faye Langton has spent her life living and doing as others expect her to do; firstly as a daughter and now as a wife and mother. When her mother Arethusa Clayton dies, the reading of the will acts as a catalyst for Faye to embark on a journey to her Mom's homeland, Ireland. Knowing she will come up against opposition, Faye manages to convince her husband to let her go to Ballinakelly, to see if any of her Mom's family are still alive. On arrival, everything she thought she knew about Arethusa is a lie as she discovers secrets from the past, a large extended family she never knew existed as well as unlocking her own repressed passions and desires.

Written to reflect the past (early twentieth century) and the present (1961) we find out how and why Arethusa left her family in Ireland and moved to America without a backward glance. The missing elements are pieced together from extracts in a diary she bequeathed to her daughter, Faye. In Ireland, Faye's assisted by her newly found, lookalike cousin, Kitty Deverill and local 'Jack of all trades', Cormac O'Farrell. What they uncover is shocking however it allows both sides of the family to finally lay to rest the memory of the formidable Arethusa 'Tussy' Deverill.

Exquisitely written, the narrative blends together captivating stories, heightened with historical events of the time. Set against a stunning County Cork backdrop, it's easy to visualise the scenery of this South Eastern part of Ireland along with the character of the communities within. Together, they create a delightful, page-turning experience for the reader.

I picked up this title simply because it's written by Santa Montefiore. I've only read one book by her in the past and it left a lasting impression. This second time around, I'm filled with the same feeling of satisfaction and a longing to read more from this author, starting with the other novels in the Deverill Chronicles.

Whether you are familiar with the Deverill's or not, The Secret Hours is a wonderful way to escape and pass away many hours whether as a holiday read or curled up next to a fire.

***arc generously received courtesy of Simon and Schuster UK Fiction via NetGalley***

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