I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for Island of Secrets by Rachel Rhys. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.
Let me show you what it is all about…
‘Say, wouldn’t it be a gas if all of us here are pretending to be something we’re not?’
1957: Iris Bailey is bored to death of working in the typing pool and living
with her parents in Hemel Hampstead. A gifted portraitist with a talent for
sketching guests at parties, she dreams of becoming an artist. So she can’t
believe her luck when wealthy socialite Nell Hardman invites her to
Havana to draw at the glittering wedding of her Hollywood director father.
Iris is thrilled to escape to a faraway city by the sea. But she soon realizes
that the cocktails, tropical scents and azure skies mask a darker reality. As
Cuba teeters on the edge of revolution and Iris’s heart melts for troubled
photographer Joe, she discovers that someone in the charismatic Hardman
family is hiding a terrible secret. Can she uncover the ugly truth behind the
glamour and the dazzle before all their lives are torn apart?
‘Rachel Rhys should be on everyone’s summer reading lists’
Puchase link – Amazon UK
Oh my goodness I absolutely adored this book. The title suggests that there are secrets, but trying to work out what they are and who they are about is something else. The setting of Cuba in the mid 1950’s is wonderful for this story and it has a glamorous feel to it as I followed Iris, an artist from England, as she is hired to draw people who will be attending the wedding of Hugo and Lana.
I liked Iris a lot and I think she is the only character who I felt was honest, the others all seemed to have something to hide. For me, Iris was a naive woman but also one who was curious. She is a character who yes appears honest but she has something that she is holding back on, by this I mean that she is not being completely honest with herself. This trip will either make or break her as she works out what she wants with her life.
As the setting is Cuba and it is the 50’s, there are the obvious mentions of Castro and Guevara, there are political tensions and it is not exactly the idyllic island paradise. While the house that all the guests are staying at is perfectly safe, there are mentions of politics, and of rebels in the mountains. I liked how these were mentioned but not dwelt on too much.
Now as for the secrets, well there are so many and as I said trying to work out who was completely honest was something else. But not once did I feel confused, the author has set the story out perfectly and it made for effortless reading. The reveals as and when they came were good and they caught me out several times.
The story is about a family and an extended family, they are privileged, have property and status. But beneath the beautiful and shiny exterior there is something not so pretty.
I loved this story and I was completely captivated by it. I think it is a wonderful historical fiction and I would definitely recommend it.
Rachel Rhys is the pen-name of a much-loved psychological suspense author. She is the author of the Richard and Judy bookclub pick, Dangerous Crossing and the bestselling A Fatal Inheritance. Rachel Rhys lives in North London with her family.
Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…
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