I am delighted to share my review today for A Secret Scottish Escape by Julie Shackman. My thanks to One More Chapter Publishers for my e-copy of this book that I received via NetGalley.
This is the 4th book on my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.
When Scotland’s sleepiest hamlet becomes the centre of hot gossip, Layla Devlin finds herself caught in a mystery…
When Layla’s fiancée has an unexpected heart attack and dies – in another woman’s arms, no less – Layla is determined to pack up and leave Loch Harris, the village she’s always called home. But an unexpected inheritance and love for her quiet corner of Scotland send her down a new path.
Now Layla finds herself facing a whole new kind of drama. Rumours swirl that a celebrity has moved into Coorie Cottage and Layla is determined to have him headline her opening night at local music venue The Conch Club. But the reclusive star is equally determined to thwart Layla’s efforts. Rafe Buchanan is in hiding for a reason, and soon his past comes to Loch Harris to haunt him…
Layla is left hurt and confused after the sudden death of her fiance. With money left to her she initially doesn’t want anything to do with it. Then she sees the old fishing shop in the Scottish village of Loch Harris. A small community that is getting quieter as tourists are looking for something different. She decides to open a small live music venue and this is not the only thing to occupy her time or her thoughts as she gets ready for opening night.
This was such a gorgeous story to read on a wet and rather yucky summers day. I was as shocked as Layla after I discovered the secret that her fiance Mac was hiding. I also found myself siding with Layla’s dad, Harry, when I heard that she was opening a music venue. I mean a lovely tranquil village with amazing scenery and then add loud music. How the author described Layla’s dream soon had me visualising and imagining what this would actually be like and I found myself getting on board with the idea based on the imagery from the author.
The author has squeezed some wonderful threads into this story a mysterious singer, a stranger, some romance, some lies and deceit and also a whole load of wonderful heart waring and lovely moments. While there are a couple of more serious threads there are also some genuinely lovely ones.
I soon fell in love with the setting and the sound of this amazing village. I love the sound of a certain reclusive garden and could see myself hiding out there with several good books and maybe the odd large glass of wine!
A story that I found really hard to put down a mix of mystery, romance, family drama and wonderful scenery just make this an adorable book to read and one that left me grinning like a loon. If you like good all-around contemporary fiction and romance novels then you are going to love this one. It is one I would definitely recommend.
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