House of Secrets by Lynda Stacey

Full of suspense and mystery yet sexy and heart-warming;  Lady Chatterley’s Lover meets Sleeping with the Enemy!

When widow Madeleine Frost realises just what a threat her new partner, House of Secrets ImageO’Grady, is to herself and her three-year old daughter Poppy (plus their Springer Spaniel puppy Buddy) she knows she needs to get away from him.  But where to go?  Her mother has recently passed away, sister Jess’ one bedroom flat is too small so with little other option Maddie finds herself knocking at the door of her estranged father, Morris Pocklington.  Recently widowed Morris welcomes his daughter with open arms, even if he is a little confused having received a letter from Maddie around the time his wife, Josie, passed away stating that Maddie never wanted anything to do with him again.  Still, that doesn’t matter to Morris when he’s lonely and in need of help running his hotel, Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire.  Maddie, Poppy and Buddy settle quickly into the hotel and before long are getting to know its residents including the rugged game keeper, Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless; an ex-marine who grew up on the estate.  When Maddie discovers an old diary belonging to a past resident during the second world war both Maddie and Bandit are intrigued.  Immersing themselves in Emily Ennis’ love story with her sweetheart Eddie brings Maddie and Bandit closer together.  But Liam isn’t finished with Maddie yet.  He considers her to be his and will stop at nothing to have her.  Literally nothing.

When I began this novel I had no idea what a rollercoaster of a ride it was going to take me on.  At first I thought it was going to be a contemporary romance, then I realised there was the welcome addition of a time slip and finally I realised there was a suspense developing too, encouraging me to turn the pages, desperate to find out what was going to happen next.  For a debut novel Lynda Stacey has set the bar high.  Her illustrious writing builds a clear picture of not only the beautiful setting of House of Secrets but also her characters.  Liam has a manipulative, manic edge to his character which is cleverly written and not two-dimensional; you begin to understand this anti-hero, not forgive him but comprehend him.  And Bandit, ohhh, Bandit.  If you are fond of physically strong, sexy, assertive heroes then you won’t be disappointed!

I would personally like to commend Lynda too.  I lost out to her in the Choc Lit Search for a Star competition and I can see why.  Her writing is compelling, her setting and characters are believable and she has cleverly weaved both suspense and a time slip story into a compelling, romantic read.    Congratulations Lynda!



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