It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell
Publishing Date: 23rd January 2020
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 416
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
Jill’s Mansell’s heart-warming new book is the feel-good novel of 2020. A beautiful Cornish setting, a chaotic family in need of loving care, a woman who’s had enough of romance – or has she? Not to be missed by readers of Katie Fforde and Millie Johnson.
When Lainey’s latest romance goes pear-shaped – she thought it was for ever; he thought it was just for now – she decides enough is enough. Whoever said it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all really didn’t know what they were talking about. And so, when she starts her new job helping out a chaotic family in Cornwall, she is definitely Not Interested in her boss’s step-son Seth, however attractive he might be (that’s Very Attractive, as it happens). Especially as Seth has a perfectly delightful girlfriend. But Lainey hasn’t been entirely honest about her life, and Seth’s not quite what he seems either. When everyone has something to hide, it’s complicated! And yet love does have a habit of finding a way…
Lainey and her best friend Kit find themselves out of work. Having been working at the chateau in France, they are now returning to England, hoping to find a new job. This is when Lainey spots an ad for a couple to run a home in an idyllic and beautiful seaside village of St Carys in Cornwall. Desperate to get this position, they pretend to be a couple in love and indeed, they get it, helping now a brilliantly chaotic family that consists of Sir Richary Myles, a well know and now retired actor, his daughter – in – law Majella, her three kids, two dogs, and Seth, her stepson. And while Lainey is not looking for a new relationship, can it be that there are sparks flying between her and Seth? But Seth believes she’s in relationship with Kit… Oh, if only she hasn’t lied at the beginning…
I have read and enjoyed all Jill Mansell’s books and I now I can’t imagine a January without her new release. I know I’m in a pair of safe hands when starting Ms Mansell’s novel. Actually, I’ve read this book almost in one sitting, and yes, it was also because my review copy arrived realllllly late and I had to be quick to be ready for my blog tour stop, but also because this book was a real joy.
As usual, the author introduces us to a bunch of such brilliant and vivid characters! Even if at the beginning you may wonder what they may have in common, are they so significant to each other, you then learn that they all fill a purpose and you get a perfectly satisfying and neatly wrapped up end. However, before it happens, be prepared for a wonderful rollercoaster journey, full of twists and turns – as nothing is straightforward in this story.
I quickly grew fond of the characters and found myself really caring about them, and this is always a sign of really well written cast. Lainey was an absolutely smashing leading heroine, there was something special in her, and she had this incredible talent to feel well and comfortable not only in her own skin but also in every single place and around all people. She was easy – going, had a great relationship with every single member of the family and she was so sensitive that she always knew when somebody had a secret or was in troubles, bringing out the best in each person. She was kind, quirky and bubbly, full of life and it is impossible not to like her from the very beginning.
I loved the way Seth was written – not at all straightforward, there was so much more to him than met the eye, and behind this mysterious personality he’s been hiding a huge heart. He was honest, charming and always fair and I really liked him. And Majella, oh my word, Majella and her dating disasters were absolutely brilliant, finally some dates that felt original, fresh and naturally funny. And let’s not forget Richard, charismatic, incredibly funny with a huge community of loyal fans hoping to get a glimpse of him.
It was a wonderful and bright story, this time a little bit more light – hearted than Jill Mansell’s previous novels – yes, also touching about some more serious matters but I think that overall the tone was simply lighter, and I enjoyed this fact immensely. Next to the lightness and humour there are also some more poignant, deeper, soul – searching moment and events and the author has balanced them perfectly.
“It Started with a Secret” is a fast – paced story that flows effortlessly and feels so natural. The writing style is colourful, vivid and chatty and I immediately felt at home with the storyline and the book is so readable, if it makes sense? The plot is interesting and unique, and feels like a breath of fresh air, and even though there are plenty of characters (charming characters, let me add) it is so easy to keep on track with all of them. I enjoyed it from start to finish, but I didn’t expect to be different, and I can easily assure you – go, buy the book and thank me later for recommendation! It’s a gorgeous gem of a book!
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