Thursday, 6 December 2018

Book Review - The Winter Secret by Lulu Taylor

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Title: The Winter Secret
Author: Lulu Taylor
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 29th November 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

‘My dear boy, the place is cursed. It always has been and it always will be . . .’

Buttercup Redmain has a life of pampered luxury, living in beautiful Charcombe Park. Her older husband, Charles Redmain, is wealthy and successful, and proud of the house he has painstakingly restored, once owned by a famous ancestor. Buttercup is surrounded by people who make her life delightfully easy. But the one thing she really wants seems impossible.

There are other discomforting realities: her husband’s ex-wife Ingrid still lives nearby although Buttercup has never met her. And it soon becomes clear that all the people who make Buttercup’s life so carefree are also watching her every move. Does she actually live in a comfortable but inescapable cage? And what is the real story of her husband’s previous marriage?

In the late 1940s, Xenia Arkadyoff lived in Charcombe Park with her father, a Russian prince, and her mother, a famous film star. Life seemed charmed, full of glamour and beauty. But behind the glittering facade lay pain, betrayal, and the truth about the woman Xenia spent her life protecting.

Now Charcombe Park is calling back people who were once part of its story, and the secrets that have stayed long hidden are bubbling inexorably to the surface . . .

My head is reeling, from that completely addictive conclusion to a wonderful book. 

This is easily Lulu Taylor back to her best, and one of my favourite books by this author for a few years at least.  

No idea where to start this review - there are quite a few threads to this story, but separated enough by chapters and where necessary year headings to make it very easy to follow and not be confused.  In fact despite the length of the book, I found it to be a very fast story to read, and was gutted any time I had to put it down to get on with my real life. 

The book all centres around Charcombe Park, a massive house which although magnificent to the outsiders eye, has had a chequered history.   We learn about a few of the generations of people living in it and the two smaller properties either side of it.    

There is Buttercup Redmain, wife of Charles Redmain who currently owns the house.  She lives to the untrained eye a wonderful life full of great riches, and the freedom to not work, and just do as she wishes.  However as the reader starts to delve beneath the surface, you soon see the truth of the situation.  

She however is not the first Mrs Redmain, and she doesn't know much about Ingrid who was, only what she has been told, but she is highly curious, but unsure who she can trust.  Ingrid lives in one of the two smaller properties, despite being divorced from Charles. 

Then there is Xenia, she also used to live in Charcombe Park, with her famous actress mother and father.  We get to learn about life in the late 1940s, and 1950s from Xenia's perspective and there is definitely an interesting story line about her mother in that.  We also get to see her as an old lady now, and I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. 

Actually I had a great deal of sympathy for all three of the key ladies in this story, as the truth starts to emerge.   

This is a book that definitely crept under my skin as I was reading it, and when I wasn't I was thinking about it, wondering just what direction the story would take.    

I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this novel, and already looking forward to seeing that this author writes next. 

Thank you to Pan McMillan and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh I might just have to treat myself to this book. I have enjoyed her other 'winter' books.


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