Thank you for joining me for my stop on the blog tour today. I'm so happy to be sharing my review of Secrets We Keep by Faith Hogan along with an extract and a fab giveaway.
First of all let's take a look at the description for the book...
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: February 2017
Publisher: Aria Fiction – Head of Zeus
Two distant relatives, drawn together in companionship are forced to confront their pasts and learn that some people are good at keeping secrets and some secrets are never meant to be kept..
A bittersweet story of love, loss and life. Perfect for fans of Patricia Scanlan, Adele Parks and Rosamunde Pilcher.
The beautiful old Bath House in Ballytokeep has lain empty and abandoned for decades. For devoted pensioners Archie and Iris, it holds too many conflicting memories of their adolescent dalliances and tragic consequences – sometimes it’s better to leave the past where it belongs.
For highflying, top London divorce lawyer Kate Hunt, it’s a fresh start – maybe even her future. On a winter visit to see her estranged Aunt Iris she falls in love with the Bath House. Inspired, she moves to Ballytokeep leaving her past heartache 600 miles away – but can you ever escape your past or your destiny?
‘I’ve never seen anything like it,’ Kate said. It was her first thought as they turned down the cove and saw the bathhouse snuggled into the cliff face. It was a turreted, stocky grown-ups sandcastle. ‘It could have been emptied from a child’s bucket,’ was her first reaction. It had been painted, white with a light blue trim once, then the waves and the spray had all but washed that away. It still sat proudly, if shabbily, on a huge flat rock, that upturned in a lip over the sea. It was a plate, large enough for any giant.
‘Genesis Rock – it’s a metamorphic rock, probably over a thousand million years old,’ Rita said. ‘Sorry, did I mention I taught geography and home economics, once upon a time.’
‘No, but I probably should have guessed.’
‘I don’t remember the bathhouse even being open. I could imagine that I’d have spent all my days here if I had.’ Rita looked at the washed white walls that reached high into the cliff face.
‘Well, Archie said they ran it for a few years, but he didn’t say when it shut.’ This place probably held sadness for Archie, if his brother died here. Kate couldn’t feel it. Instead, it made her feel energized, as though the sea was spraying something like an invitation deep into her lungs. It made her heart pound with an expectation she hadn’t felt in years. Even the deserted castle keep that loomed up in grey stone at the tip of the headland seemed to carry a hopeful secret in its towers.
‘It must have been lovely once. Even now, you can see.’ Rita rested her hands on the thick window ledge, her nose pressed firmly to the cold glass of the windows. ‘It looks like they just closed up one evening and never came back.’
Kate walked to the back of the bathhouse; it dug into the cliff face, as though the construction of one depended on the other. Alongside the building, a small narrow road clung to the cliff for a couple of hundred yards before it feathered off onto what counted as a main road in these parts. Far below, the waves lapped serenely against the stone. It was low tide now; Kate wondered how close the water actually came to the rock. ‘I’d love to get a look inside.’ Rita followed her round to the front of the bathhouse. They peered through a sea sprayed window for a few minutes. Inside, Kate could see there were tables and chairs, a small stove and an old-fashioned counter where once someone had taken orders for afternoon tea. ‘It’s a little café, wouldn’t it be lovely if it was open for coffee?’ Kate mused, it was so much more than just a bathhouse.
After reading the description to this story I wasn't completely sure what to expect however I was definitely intrigued. It's safe to say that Faith Hogan has created a wonderful story that managed to fully engage and capture my attention. The characters are interesting and have their flaws which I guess makes them all the more realistic.
I have a soft spot for historical fiction so I really enjoyed the trips back to when Iris was younger. The transition from one timeline to another was pretty seamless and really helped to move the story along. Whether it was by providing answers or to give the reader another secret to uncover. The setting was another hit for me and Faith Hogan created a place that felt quite real to me with perfect descriptions of the hotel and bathhouse.
Kate and Iris are both strong and determined women that I couldn't help but like. The relationship that Iris and Archie have is hard to describe other than loving and warm whenever they are together it's hard not to feel that connection. This story is told from mainly Iris and Kate's perspective and on occasion other characters and I really liked the different points of view as it definitely gave the story extra depth. Along with understanding the characters and their actions just that little bit more. All of the characters have endured difficult times and I was completely focused on their lives and the how and why to some of the decisions that were made. Within this book there are secrets, love, loss and a family drama that had me determined to find out how things would all end. I think it's also a story of coming to terms with our actions how they not only shape our own lives but those around us.
There is a wonderful warmth and a lot of heart that has gone into this story and it's so very easy to feel a connection to the characters. The story unfolds easily and most of all smoothly so that in no time at all I was hooked and in a way didn't want the story to end.
Secrets We Keep has some wonderful heartwarming moments along with a perfect mix of mystery, secrets and love.
With thanks to Brook Cottage Books & Aria Fiction for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.
Already an international best seller, Faith Hogan is an original voice in women’s fiction, she has been hailed as a Maeve Binchey for a new generation. Her stories are warm and rooted in a contemporary Irish landscape which has lost none of its wit or emotion thanks to its modern vibe.
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.
‘Secrets We Keep,’ is her second novel published with Aria Fiction. Her first, My Husbands Wives has been a top ten best seller and is currently available in paperback.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15109450.Faith_Hogan
Win a signed copy of Faith’s book Secrets We Keep!