Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott | Book Review (@nikola_scott @Bookish_Becky @headlinepg ) #SummerOfSecrets

 

Published by Headline Review

Available in ebook and paperback (6 September 2018)

352 pages

Source: Review copy from publisher



|   About the Book  |

 

The heart-breaking and unforgettable new novel from Nikola Scott about two women born decades apart caught up in dark secrets. Perfect for readers of Dinah Jefferies and Kate Morton.

August 1939

At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives…

Today

Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband’s devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she’s drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything…

 

|   My Thoughts   |

 

Having enjoyed Nikola Scott’s debut, My Mother’s Shadow I was very much looking forward to Summer of Secrets.

As with the previous book, this is a dual time story, this time set in 1939 and the present day. In 1939, we are introduced to 16 year old Maddie and her older sister Georgiana. The sisters are orphans and live in an old rambling Cornish house with just a couple of staff and an elderly aunt.

Maddie seems diminished by tragedy and prefers to live a quiet life at home with her sketchbook for company. Her sister is the more outgoing and adventurous of the two and Maddie, having been left alone with her aunt, can’t wait for Georgiana to return home from her travels abroad. However, Georgiana does not return alone – she has a group of friends in tow – including a new boyfriend. Victor. Maddie adores her sister although she is rather jealous now that she doesn’t have Georgiana’s sole attention and it is not surprising that she takes a dislike to Victor (can’t say I blame her for this, I didn’t like or trust him either). Neither sister can have any idea of what is to follow when events escalate and long held resentments and secrets are revealed.

War has yet to be announced but it is imminent and everybody is living with a heightened sense of fear, the obligatory blackout curtains and the lack of men in the village, most having been called up, all add to the sense of inevitability and dread of what is to come.

In the present day, Chloe is married to a successful doctor, Aidan who appears to adore her. Chloe had been a talented photographer in her single days but has not worked since her marriage – which itself is not all that she had hoped for and now she is pregnant. It is clear to the reader what sort of a man Aidan is however Chloe seems slower to catch on.

Events conspire to ensure that Maddie and Chloe cross paths and that’s when the story really went up a notch for me. Most of the historical part of the story is of a much slower pace – setting the scene and introducing the characters, allowing us to form a view of their personalities and intentions. Usually with dual time stories I do prefer the historical part but in this case it was Chloe’s present day predicament that I favoured. I can’t quite put my finger on why because both Maddie and Georgiana were engaging characters but I found that Chloe was the more relatable and intrigued me the most; I wanted to see whether she would finally see her life for what it was and what, if anything, she would do.

Nikola Scott is an excellent storyteller. Her prose is descriptive and captivating with each chapter ending on an intriguing hook and leaving you wanting to know more. Despite the troubling times, the Cornish setting of Summerhill sounded idyllic, with the location vividly described and there were parallels and similarities crossing the decades which pulled the two stories together. With both stories there was a sinister undercurrent – making me fearful for what was to come.

Summer of Secrets is an enthralling story from Nikola Scott and one that I am sure fans of historical fiction would enjoy.

 

My thanks to Becky of Headline for sending a review copy and for Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation.

 

Summer of Secrets is currently available to download from Amazon UK for £1.99

 

 

 

|   Author Bio   |

Nikola Scott was born and raised in Germany and studied at university there. Having been obsessed with books from a young age, Nikola moved to New York City after her Master’s degree to begin her first job in book publishing, a career in which she could fully indulge her love of fiction!

She spent ten years working in publishing in New York and then in London, editing other people’s books, before she decided to take the leap into becoming a full-time writer herself.

She now lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two sons.

MY MOTHER’S SHADOW was published in 2017 to wonderful reviews. Her new novel SUMMER OF SECRETS is coming in September 2018.

 

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