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Review of Other People's Secrets, a novel by Louise Candlish.
I am reviewing the paperback version of this novel, published by Little Brown, part of the Sphere Books group. The book contains 384 pages, ISBN 0751543543, cover price £6.99, genre Modern Fiction.
People take holidays for lots of reasons, some just to relax, some to visit new places, some to recover form a trauma. The characters in this novel all have their reasons for visiting Italy. The story is set in the scenic region of Lake Orta.
Ginny and Adam Trustlove arrive at the pretty little boathouse located in the grounds of a luxurious lakeside villa, that they have rented for their holiday. The tranquil, picturesque setting is just what they need to recharge their batteries and to try to rebuild a marriage torn apart by a deep personal tragedy.
Their peace is broken after only 24 hours in their holiday cottage when the villa is taken over by the Sale family. The Sales' are a wealthy, middle aged couple holidaying with their three teen-aged children, Dominic, Esther and Pippi.
The Trustlove's recognise their holiday neighbours immediately as they are the owners of a well known clothing range.
Marty Sale and his wife Bea are also a couple with marriage difficulties, although Marty doesn't seem to realise this.
When a mysterious and handsome young tourist called Zach arrives in the area, emotions run high. Seventeen year old Pippi Sale decides that she is the main attraction of the holiday for Zach. and her imagination runs riot. Ginny Trustlove finds herself drawn to the handsome younger man, Adam notices and becomes ruder and ruder to Zach every time they meet.
Zach does have a romantic fling with someone, (the identity of his love interest I am not going to reveal!) but the real reason for his visit to Lake Orta, when it finally comes out, is one that rocks the holidays makers.
Secrets and intrigue, mysteries and the pasts of some of the characters all add to the tensions unfolding throughout this novel and make for a dramatic outcome.
==My Thoughts and Conclusion==
Louise Candlish was an unknown author to me so I had no preconceived expectations about the novel. I am always interested to try new authors and with Other People's Secrets, I definitely made a good choice!
I suppose some might describe this novel as 'chick-lit', but personally I feel it has a great deal to offer, the romantic element of the novel is well done without being soppy, sexually explicit or over the top in any way. The plot had enough twists, turns and drama to hold my interest and keep me turning the pages.
The novel is fast paced and the outcome of the plot came as a surprise, which is always a plus point in my opinion. The characters are very well drawn and believable, the dialogue is crisp and well presented. The author has created a very readable, enjoyable novel with Other People's Secrets.
I enjoyed the novel so much that when I spotted another of Louise Candlish's novels recently, that I bought it there and then on the strength of having read this one.
I am awarding this novel a 5* rating and would definitely recommend it to others.
Thank you for reading
©brittle1906 June 2012.
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.
After a devastating tragedy Ginny and Adam Trustlove head to the peaceful Lake Orta in Italy for two weeks in a bid to get their lives back on track. Their peace is shattered a mere 24 hours later though with the arrival of the enigmatic Sale family. It doesn't take long for Ginny and Adam to get caught up in the whirlwind that is the Sale's life and when the youngest Sale, Pippi, brings a new friend into the fray, Zach, everyone finds themselves not knowing where they're at and suddenly all kinds of secrets are spilling out. The trouble with telling secrets though is that, inevitably, new secrets end up being made. But what is it about Zach that makes everyone fall under his charm and loosen their tongues?
I have to admit that when I first picked up a book by Louise Candlish I wasn't sure what to expect. In fact, I only picked it up because I needed to make up the books I was swapping. I didn't expect to read Since I Don't Have You but I didn't know what else to read so I gave it a go. It turns out, that was probably one of the best buys I made as I absolutely loved the book and it's one of my favourites. Since then I've eagerly bought up some of Louise's other books and although I wasn't a fan of her last book Before We Say Goodbye, I was still thrilled to receive her latest book Other People's Secrets to review.
It's fair to say that since her first book, Prickly Heat, Louise has gone from writing chick lit books to writing women's fiction books. Her books no longer seem to revolve around the usual you find in chick lit books. There are no single twenty-somethings looking to find Mr Right (although since I haven't read her debut, I can't tell you if that's what it's about, but you get my point). Her books don't have a love story, not the type you find in chick lit anyway and her books now seem to have a more serious tone. Because of the way her books are written, the pace isn't as fast as I'm used to and I have to admit, it does take a while to get used to.
So with the slow pace in mind, there isn't actually a lot that happens in Other People's Secrets. Not really. Yes, as the title suggest, there are a lot of secrets floating around, but the main crux of the story centers on the Sale family, Ginny and Adam Trustlove and mysterious arrival of Zach. All of this takes place on the picturesque Lake Orta in Italy. The setting of the events for each of the characters is perfect. Because they're all struggling with personal problems and tragedies and are trying to work out where they stand in life, the beautiful Lake Orta is a rather stunning backdrop. It sounds like such a wonderful place to go for a peaceful holiday and I could easily imagine the house within which the Sale family stayed, as well as the little boathouse where Ginny and Adam were staying. I've Googled some pictures and I would love to visit there one day as it sounds so lovely.
It's hard for me to really say which characters I liked or disliked because with so many characters and so many different problems running throughout it's hard to know what they're really like. Because the book is only set around the holiday in Italy, Ginny and Adam spend the majority of their time being, understandably, sad. The tragedy they suffered really comes off the pages and I've never read a book with such characters suffering such horrible things. I will readily admit that it was mildly depressing, to see two characters trying to pull themselves together without completely falling apart was a bit hard to read because their grief seems so real. I found it hard to really get a handle on Ginny but she definitely evoked sympathy in me. Adam seemed to be coping a bit better and he didn't seem like a nice character. The way he tried to help Ginny was admirable because although he was suffering, too, he knew he needed to help his wife also. The Sale's on the other hand were a bit of an enigma, but they had a bit more of a sparkle. I really liked Bea Sale, the head of the family. She seemed like such a nice character. I wasn't a huge fan of Marty, Bea's husband. As for Bea and Marty's children, the only one we really get to know is Pippi who was definitely the life and soul of the book. The final character pivotal to the story is Zach, the most mysterious of all. I had a few inklings about him, but nothing solid and I was a bit shocked by what we learn about him, however I did like him. He was probably my favourite character.
Louise is a fantastic writer, there's absolutely no doubt about that. Most of the secrets that do come out are surprising. I kept trying to guess just what it was Dom was keeping hidden and I was stunned by what it was because I didn't see it coming at all. I think the problem I had with the book was the pace. Which isn't Louise's problem at all, but I'm used to faster paced books and I did at times just want everyone to just spill the beans.The book is definitely aimed at the older market and I'm sure that Louise's books are similar to Joanna Trollope's books although I've never read any of Joanna's books. I don't like to place an age-range for books because, after all, any age (within reason) can read about people of any age and I've read many books with female characters older than me, but Other People's Secrets did seem incredibly grown up and it was definitely out of my comfort zone and I'm not altogether sure it was my kind of book. I'm sure loads of people will love the book because it is well written, and I did stick with it throughout, but I don't think it's geared towards myself and that's not Louise's problem, not at all, but it did make it a difficult read for me.