Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Review: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

Title: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets
Author: Eva Rice
Publisher: Headline Review
Pages: 480
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Free review copy from the publisher

In the Heart of the Sea
Set in the 1950s, in an England still recovering from the Second World War, this is the enchanting story of Penelope Wallace and her eccentric family at the start of the rock'n'roll era.

Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love, but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother, a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother Inigo, currently incapable of concentrating on anything that isn't Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte's sardonic cousin Harry...

An enchanting journey through 1950s post-war life as seen by 18 year old Penelope Wallace. Eva Rice's writing style has the same wry wit and humorous observations reminiscent of Jane Austen. This book is a fascinating portrait of the American pop-culture influence creeping throughout Britain after the war and the emergence of the 'teenager'. I enjoyed it very much.

However, the plot felt slightly lacking for me as there didn't seem to be a strong driving force behind the story. There is a romance but it did not feel like the focus of the story, and it sort of emerges as almost an afterthought. There are gorgeous little illustrations on a handful of pages in this edition and I really enjoyed them. I also enjoyed the foreword by Miranda Hart as she is one of my favourite comedians. 

The book is no doubt gorgeous looking and the writing style is perfect, I just wish there was a bit more of 'omph' to the story. A 3 star read for me.

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