This is the third book Fanny has written and the third I have read and when she writes number four it will become the fourth I have read and so on and so on as long as she continues writing. From this you will take that I like her writing very much and you would be correct.
Fanny writes books with a mature heroine. No skinny high heeled size 10 supermodel who shops until she drops, but real people. Women who have raised a family, are now older and who have wisdom and strength and can face what life throws at them. Always reassuring to us ladies who know what is what and don't really want to read about a stick insect with problems.
This book opens in Tuscany where Rose and her husband Daniel are awaiting the arrival of their family for their annual get together and holiday. They have two daughters and Daniel is at loggerhead with both of them; one is married to somebody of whom he disapproves and her sister is unrelaible and scatty with her stop start schemes which she assumes her father will continue to fund. The sisters are not always on the best of terms to it is not a propitious start to the visit and Rose is anxious.
Daniel is charismatic and charming but he and Rose have had a long and secure marriage and she sees no clouds on the horizon. Then a casual glance at her husband's phone when a text arrives and she is stricken. "Miss you. Love you. Come back soon" It seems her husband is having an affair and Rose feels the foundation of her life quiver and shake. As she sits and thinks and wonders what to do, she wonders how well she really knows her husband, has he kept secret from her before, does he really love her and what is she to do with this knowledge.
And then tragedy strikes and the family is ripped apart and Rose finds herself having to cope with grief and desolation and all the time lurking in the background is the question Who is Daniels Lover?
The Secrets Women Keep was published by Orion in July and with its beautiful cover (a delightful watercolour) and setting this is the perfect holiday/beach read. In fact I read it, or part of it, overlooking a bay in Cornwall while enjoying a cup of tea and a scone (could not finish the rest of it till got home on account of grandchildren) and the sun was shining and the sky and the sea were blue and all was beautiful, and this book fitted my mood perfectly.
I always feel slightly guilty describing a book as a beach read as I think it seems a rather slighting thing to say but it is not. Indeed, this book could be read and enjoyed at any time of the year and you don't need the sun to shine or a pina colada to hand to do so. But I will admit it fits better in the warmth of the sun.
Well written, engaging and full of real people with joys and sorrows, I enjoyed this immensely and when I returned home, tired after my six hour drive, I settled down with another cup of tea to finish it. No sun this time and no scone, but that did not matter. I loved it.
Here are the links to the posts in which I wrote about Fanny's previous novels. Loved both of them as well.