29 May 2012
Book Review: The Summer of Secrets by Alison Lucy
I've been excited to read this new book from Alison Lucy for a while now. I've loved her previous titles released under the name of Alison Bond, so I knew that even though she's changed to her married name, the stories would still be as good and really enjoyable. The cover for this book is gorgeous, really summery and evocative, and the story inside sounded like it was going to be an interesting read as well! Mexico isn't a setting I have read much about in chick lit before, so I was curious to see how Lucy would portray the place, and if she could make it sound like a summer paradise in my mind, something I always love when reading a seasonal book to get me in the mood for summer!
Danny and Harriet's honeymoon doesn't go to plan, and when Harriet returns back home to England just a few days into their Mexican holiday, Danny is left heart-broken and doesn't know what to do. Nine months, 3 baby girls are born and all grow up with not much idea about their father. Fast forward to 2010 and the girls are grown up. Esmé is unhappily married to Miguel, and feeling that there must be more to life than supporting her husband and brother Ray. Claudia grew up in a privileged background, but isn't close to her family, with her mother living in the UK, and Claudia in Mexico. When she finally meets a man, David, she thinks she'll finally get her happily ever after. Finally, there's Megan who grew up battling with her mother over everything, and decides on a whim to flee to Mexico to find her long-lost father. Will any of the girls meet their father, or are their journeys of discovery destined to end in tears?
I really loved the prologue to this book with Danny and Harriet - it's only short but sets the book up nicely and really lets us get to know the character of Danny well enough to care about him and his three children. I love that no secret is made of the fact he has three children too. Instead, the tension comes from wondering when and if the girls are going to meet their father, and indeed each other, as none of them realises their half-sisters exist. The book whizzes across the world, from the UK with Megan, and later Esmé and Claudia, over to Mexico again which was fantastic as it kept the book fresh and me really involved in the reading. I loved Lucy's descriptions of Mexico, it was written so vividly from the poorer parts where Esmé lived, to the more sumptuous resorts with Claudia, and I could imagine the beautiful sunshine and people in my mind easily.
The characters were really well written as well. There are quite a few of them to get your head around, especially as it's not just the main 3 girls, but the friends and family of those as well, yet I didn't really struggle to keep up with who was who at all. I don't necessarily think I had a favourite, as there were good and bad things about each of them, but they were all as good as each other and had interesting stories that really added to the book in their own way. I loved how Lucy kept us guessing as to whether the girls would meet up or not, and I kept reading, waiting for the moment to happen and I really enjoyed that tension! The story surrounding their father Danny was a bit of a mystery too, and when you put all of these things together, it does create a fantastic book that I didn't want to put down.
With gorgeous descriptions of Mexico, and dynamic young characters that keep the book fresh with their adventures across the world, The Summer of Secrets is definitely a title you'll want to be flinging into your beach bag for your summer holidays! The hours will melt away as you devour the book, puzzling out the story, and enjoying the story that unfolds for us. I found Lucy's writing extremely easy to read and the pages flew past because I didn't want to stop reading - I needed to find out how it was going to end! The alternating chapters kept it fresh, and allows the story for each character to unfold at a good pace, and keep you guessing. This is a super beach read, and one I would highly recommend, I really enjoyed every page!
You can buy The Summer of Secrets as a paperback or an eBook now.
The eBook of The Summer of Secrets: The Early Years is currently available for free on Amazon.co.uk.