Friday 14 February 2020

It Started With A Secret by Jill Mansell @JillMansell @headlinepg #ItStartedWithASecret #BookReview

The trouble with secrets is that you can't guess what the consequences will be . . .
Lainey has lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she's living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired - if far-from-retiring - actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. It's definitely worth the challenge of keeping her secret.
At least Lainey isn't looking for love. It's time for a break from all that. And yet . . . Seth, the actor's grandson, really is rather attractive. There's growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. But how would he react if he knew she hadn't been honest with him?
Lainey's not the only one with a secret, though. Seth has one of his own. And everything's about to start unravelling . . .

It Started With A Secret by Jill Mansell was published by Headline in hardback on 23 January 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Lainy and Kit have lost their jobs at Chateau Le Rafael in France. It's not their fault, they all tried very hard to make it work, but the old building and it's multitude of faults and repairs needed proved too much for the owners.
They return to England and scour the vacancies for something else. When Lainy spots an advert for a live-in couple to work for a family in Cornwall she knows that it would be perfect for them. They could surely keep the fact that they are not really a couple, and that Kit is gay, a secret, can't they?

Menhendrick House, the home of well-known retired actor Sir Richard Myles and his extended family is perfect. Most of the family; Richard, his daughter in law Majella; the wife of his late son, her children, and even the dogs are won over by this couple. The only doubter is Majella's step-son Seth, but his vote is overruled and Lainy and Kit begin work.

Whilst Lainy is not looking for love, especially after being dumped by her last boyfriend, she does find herself attracted to Seth. The feeling is mutual, but of course, Seth believes that she and Kit are a couple.

When Seth spots Kit getting friendly with a very handsome barman in the village, his suspicions are aroused, he's also angry. Lainy and Kit's secret is soon revealed, but they've become essential to the family, almost part of them, so they are able to stay on, and keep their jobs.

It's clear that there are other, well-hidden secrets within the family members though and there are a few surprises along the way too. Who knew that ruthless businessman Seth had such a soft interior? When Lainy learns how he personally helps one of his customers, her feelings for him are strengthened.

Lainy and Kit become instrumental in changing the lives of the Myles family. Sir Richard finds a missing piece of his life, whilst Majella begins to realise that there can be life after being widowed. The characters begin to assess themselves, and to be honest with each other as the story unfolds.

Jill Mansell's writing is both heart warming and uplifting. She creates stories and characters that the reader can truly invest in. The complex and interwoven family issues are cleverly woven into what is a wonderful story of love and friendship too.
Wonderfully written,  this is a warm and witty story of friendship, family and hope.

Jill Mansell started writing fiction while working in the NHS, after she read a magazine article that inspired her to join a local creative writing class. 
She has since written over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers, including It Started With A Secret, Maybe This Time, This Could Change Everything, The One You Really Want and You And Me, Always, and her books have sold over 11 million copies around the world. 
Jill’s hobbies include buying stationery, particularly magical new colours of ink for the fountain pen she uses to write all her books. 
She lives in Bristol with her family. 

Jill keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter – @JillMansell – and Facebook – /OfficialJillMansell.

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