PUBLISHER: CHOC LIT
PUBLICATION DATE: July 19, 2016
Maddie moved in with Liam whom she had been seeing for several months. He seemed like a dream come true, until they had been living together for a bit and it became obvious that he was jealous of her daughter, Poppy. Unable to tolerate his verbal abuse of her and his frightening her daughter, Maddie and Poppy move to Scarborough where her father owns a hotel. But it seems that Liam is obsessed and unwilling to let Maddie go.
Bandit, a veteran of Afghanistan, is the gamekeeper at the hotel where his father, who is now in nursing care, once had affiliations. He is trying to determine if his father’s memories about a lady at the hotel have any truth or if his father is slipping farther away.
House of Secrets is pretty well done although it shows the tendency of a new novelist to have overwrought characters, in this case Maddie, who does a lot of yelling, screaming, shouting, and crying, and Liam, who is a bit of an over-the-top villain, as well as action that verges on melodrama.
In romances where either character is just coming out of a relationship within the course of the novel, care should always be given to how quickly a new romance can evolve for it to be realistic, especially in the case of an abused woman whose ability to trust might be undermined.
Stacey writes the novel from several points-of-view, which works and is initially interesting. At the beginning of the novel, to understand Liam’s point-0f-view and see his obsession with Maddie was very well done until he devolved into a caricature of typical abusive men. I guess I thought it would have been extremely interesting if Liam had been a little more charming (or came across as ingratiating to the reader) so that his character would have been more unsettling, especially when written from his pov, where he could have the opportunity to affect the reader’s perception of him.
Besides the main story, there is a background story conveyed via diary entries. This had a fairly predictable outcome.
Some of the nicest scenes were between Maddie and her father, in which they are attempting to establish footing in their newfound relationship.
All-in-all this is a good first novel.
As mentioned above, it was published today. You can find it for Kindle here: House of Secrets.
Thanks to NetGalley and Choc Lit for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
rating: (3 butterflies and a lady bug)