Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Guest Review: It Started With a Secret by Jill Mansell

The trouble with secrets is that you can't guess what the consequences will be . . .
Lainey has lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she's living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired - if far-from-retiring - actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. It's definitely worth the challenge of keeping her secret.
At least Lainey isn't looking for love. It's time for a break from all that. And yet . . . Seth, the actor's grandson, really is rather attractive. There's growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. But how would he react if he knew she hadn't been honest with him?
Lainey's not the only one with a secret, though. Seth has one of his own. And everything's about to start unravelling . . .





Review: I have been looking forward to this new novel from Jill Mansell - in my experience, she never fails to disappoint. I was pleased to find that this book was going to transport me once again to St Carys, in Cornwall, a setting for some of her previous stories; that said, not to worry if you have not read any of Jill Mansell’s other novels - this is a stand-alone story. I found that I was quite captivated by this book, and was left missing all the wonderful characters once I had finished.

The story begins with Lainey and her friend Kit losing their jobs at a French chateau hotel, but landing a wonderful position looking after a family in a gorgeous large house by the sea in Cornwall. The only drawback is that they had to tell an enormous lie about being ‘together’ in order to secure the position. The family they are working for comprises an entertaining mix of characters of a wide age range, as well as several animals, so Lainey and Kit find that their duties are widely varied too. Although she is definitely not looking for romance at this stage in her life, Lainey finds herself strangely drawn to Seth, the grown-up and rather serious grandson of the family. As the story progresses, it transpires that Lainey is not the only one to have a secret that she must keep - they are popping up all over the place.

For me, this was a wonderful story that had me spellbound from page one. It is brimming full of really interesting characters with such a lot going on in their lives. In addition, there are so many secrets cleverly woven into this story, emerging gradually as the pages turn. With so many zany characters in this family, there is a large dose of comic moments spread throughout the book, but also poignant events as well. I think that Lainey and Kit were just the right couple the family were looking for in helpers. I loved watching the relationship between Lainey and Seth develop; I was itching to tell him that she wasn’t really spoken for by Kit. This is a lovely romantic tale with great depth that has something for everyone and would make a great read for summer, or any time of the year.


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