Tuesday, May 25, 2021

A Secret Scottish Escape, by Julie Shackman

HarperCollins UK/One More Chapter, ISBN 9780008455767, May 2021

Layla is looking forward to her wedding, in a few months time, to Mac. He's older, a prominent author, whom she met when she was interviewing him for a feature article. He's away on a trip to London to meet with his agent...

Except he isn't. He didn't leave Scotland. Layla is shocked when she's notified that Mac has died, of a heart attack--while having sex with his ex-wife.

This sends Layla reeling, and initially she's determined to leave Loch Harris, where she's lived her whole life, to start over. After this shocking end to her hopes and plans, she wants to start over, where not everybody knows her and her story. Yet she loves Loch Harris, and Mac has left her an unexpected inheritance. She looks around her village, and sees what an injection of money and imagination could do for it.

Layla decides to buy the old boathouse, whose owner is retiring and whose sons don't want to continue the business, and turn it into a live music venue, hoping to put Loch Harris back on the tourist map.

While she's working on her plans, starting to compile lists of performers to recruit for appearances, she hears about another unexpected development. A very secretive singer/songwriter, who goes by the name Mask, and yes, wears a black hoodie and a black masquerade mask to conceal his identity, has purchased Coorie Cottage, and is living there. He's very famous, and popular, and if he agreed to make an appearance at Layla's new music venue, it will bring exactly the publicity her new business, and the village, needs.

Layla is still feeling shocked and betrayed by Mac's secret affair with his ex-wife while he and Layla were living together and planning their wedding. Mask has some big secrets of his own. In the midst of all this, Layla's mother--who left her and her father when she was  very young, and a has been nothing but an occasional, poisonous visitor to their lives since--lobs her own bombshell secret into their midst.

Layla's father, Harry, might not be her biological father.

This is a story all about people, character, and relationships, and the characters are compelling and engaging. Very enjoyable.


I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

No comments:

Post a Comment