reading corner

On February 9th, I dropped into My Reading Corner, a brilliant book blog by Karen a prolific reader and fab reviewer in Essex. Karen was good enough to join us on the blog tour and made my day by offering to review the book. Thankfully, she liked it too! Here’s a link to her site:

 

Secrets We Keep – Faith Hogan #Blogtour Guest Post & review (@GerHogan @Aria_Fiction)

 

 

SECRETS WE KEEP – FAITH HOGAN #BLOGTOUR GUEST POST & REVIEW (@GERHOGAN @ARIA_FICTION)

 

Published by Aria (Head of Zeus)

ebook & Paperback:  1 February 2017

 

It’s a pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for Secrets We Keep, the second novel by Faith Hogan. Faith has kindly provided a great post on that ‘Second Book Syndrome’.  I have read and very much enjoyed this one. My review will be posted in the next couple of days.

 

SECOND BOOK SYNDROME?

by Faith Hogan

 

Apparently, it’s a ‘thing.’ Thankfully, I hadn’t heard of it when I sat down to write Secrets We Keep. I had just sent off My Husbands Wives and I knew I had to start something quickly. Not that when I started it I actually thought there was a likelihood that I’d be under any kind of huge pressure to get the second book out. Little did I think, at that point that I would be signed to a three book deal with Aria! No, rather, I know from experience how each second can stretch when you’re waiting to hear back if someone likes your book.

Secrets We Keep had been in my mind for a while. It wasn’t fully formed, it was just a spark. It was the germ of an idea that had floated about, niggling me most when I was deeply involved in other projects. One of those, that you don’t quite trust, just in case it’s an empty distraction – like eBay or Pinterest!

Just a few miles down the road from where I live, there’s a mile of sandy beach, a little tourist town that spends too many months under grey clouds, but fills with holiday making families for the summer months. Tucked into the dark basalt rock, there’s a small castellated building. It’s many years since anyone stepped inside it and now it’s been blocked up, battered by the fierce onslaught of the wild Atlantic ocean and left to crumble sadly so it seems to shrink a little each time I go there.

High above the rock, the main road meanders from Enniscrone pier to the little town itself. A smattering of houses overlook the bay, ostensibly oblivious to the slow demise below. I’m sure many people visit Enniscrone and imagine the possibilities of the old Cliff Baths. For some, it seems like an idyllic place to open a restaurant, for others a romantic holiday home. For me, the only way I could imagine bringing it to life was to give it a story.

Secrets We Keep is the story that grew from the Cliff Baths in Enniscrone.

THE CLIFF BATHS AT NIGHT

And when you see this, seriously, who wouldn’t be inspired – second book syndrome hah! Now, onto book number three!

Till next time, Faith x

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Two distant relatives, drawn together in companionship are forced to confront their pasts and learn that some people are good at keeping secrets and some secrets are never meant to be kept..
A bittersweet story of love, loss and life. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan and Adele Parks.
The beautiful old Bath House in Ballytokeep has lain empty and abandoned for decades. For devoted pensioners Archie and Iris, it holds too many conflicting memories of their adolescent dalliances and tragic consequences – sometimes it’s better to leave the past where it belongs.
For highflying, top London divorce lawyer Kate Hunt, it’s a fresh start – maybe even her future. On a winter visit to see her estranged Aunt Iris she falls in love with the Bath House. Inspired, she moves to Ballytokeep leaving her past heartache 600 miles away – but can you ever escape your past or your destiny?

 

MY REVIEW

This is the second book by Faith Hogan. The first, My Husband’s Wives, was published by Aria last year.

The story begins with the prologue set in Dublin in 1988. Kate, as a young child, is listening to her parents arguing. This sets the scene for Kate’s future family life.

We then go back to 1950’s Ireland and meet Iris. Iris and older sister Pamela live with their mother, helping to run the family guesthouse. Iris and Pamela may be sisters, but they are very both very different people and compared to Pamela, Iris has a more impulsive and reckless nature – this certainly ensures that her life is eventful, to say the least, although I did sometimes feel that in her younger years she didn’t learn anything from her past mistakes; there were times when I wanted to shake her and tell her to ‘appreciate what you have’. The older Iris was vastly different to her impetuous younger self – she was caring and wise and I loved the bond that formed between her and Kate.
The story goes back and forth from present time with Kate and Iris and then back to the 1950’s where we learn more of Iris’ backstory and how she came to be in Ballytokeep.

The older Kate was an excellent character and one I found very engaging. Despite being a very successful divorce lawyer in London, following previous heartbreak, she feels there is something missing in her life and decides to swap the law courts for a simpler life in Ballytokeep, on the Irish coast and in the process learns so much – not just about herself but also her family.

As the story moves along, the ‘Secrets’ of the title are slowly revealed and the threads to the story come together. Some had been held private for decades and could have been devastating if they had been known at the time.

In a story that encompasses both historical and contemporary storylines, Faith Hogan has a created some wonderful characters, most of which I had great affection for. Even those that I didn’t particularly like all made an impression and add to the richness of the story. In addition, there is a tremendous sense of place in this novel. The setting of Ballytokeep and in particular, the Bathhouse – set on the cliffs sounded idyllic and so evocative.

I read this on a Kindle and at the very beginning is a family tree which I did find useful. There are many characters introduced early on and although it is easy to follow once you have remembered how they are related, I did find it slightly confusing to start with.

This warm and engaging story will pull you in from the beginning. With richly drawn characters and a perfect setting, I very much enjoyed this and would certainly look forward to more.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.
Her debut novel, ‘My Husband’s Wives,’ is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin. It was published by Aria, (Head of Zeus) in 2016. ‘Secrets We Keep,’ is her second novel out on Feb 1st 2017.

 

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