Saturday 6 June 2020

Island of Secrets by Rachel Rhys #RandomThingsTours BLOG TOUR @MsTamarCohen #IslandOfSecrets @jaustenrulesok #GuestReview @TransworldBooks

1957: Iris Bailey is bored to death of working in the typing pool and living with her parents in Hemel Hempstead. A gifted portraitist with a talent for sketching party guests, she dreams of becoming an artist. So she can’t believe her luck when socialite Nell Hardman invites her to Havana to draw at the wedding of her Hollywood director father.
Far from home, she quickly realizes 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 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?

Island of Secrets by Rachel Rhys was published digitally by Transworld on 25 May 2020, the paperback will be released  on 25 June 2020.

I'm delighted to welcome guest reviewer Louise Wykes to Random Things today, sharing her review of the book for the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

You can find Louise on Twitter @jaustenrulesok

Louise's Review of 'Island of Secrets'

Island of Secrets by Rachel Rhys will be published in paperback on 25th June 2020 by Black Swan. I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy to review and Anne Cater for agreeing to host my review on her blog.

I confess that I haven’t read any books by Rachel Rhys before though I have read and enjoyed the psychological thrillers that are published under the author’s other name; Tammy Cohen.  Usually authors go the other way around by starting in contemporary fiction and then delve into the darker side, so I was interested in seeing an author who went the other way!

Island of Secrets follows Iris Bailey, a young girl in 1950s England who feels trapped and confined living with her parents, in a job where she is under-utilised and, in a relationship, where she is not entirely sure if she is satisfied.  So, when a friend invites Iris to utilise her sketching skills at a wedding in Havana, she jumps at the chance even with the sound of her parents’ disapproval ringing in her ears.

Iris is just awe struck when she arrives in Havana, she is amazed at the beauty and the exoticness she finds there though she also discovers that underneath the glamorous exterior there are dark secrets and ugly truths hiding both in the country itself, which is dealing with the whispers of rebellion from Castro and in the family who are hosting the wedding.

I thought this was a rich, evocative read that I enjoyed escaping into for a few hours.  I loved how the author took the reader on a journey with the young and innocent Iris, which to me had the echoes of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, there is even a house called Manderley (though in this case Manderley is a horse ranch).   I loved discovering about the exotic beauty of Havana and learning about its troubles too.

This was a beautiful read filled with luscious imagery (make sure you have some cocktails on hand) which is laced with enough mystery, secrets and intrigue to make the reader keep turning the page.  This will certainly not be my last Rachel Rhys read.

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.
Twitter @MsTamarCohen

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