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There are some books that just scream ‘summer read’, regardless of what the weather is doing when you are actually reading it. Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay is one such book – take a look at that cover. As I write this, the weather is decidedly un-summery: grey skies with rain in the offing (or decidedly typically summery, given that I’m in England).

Ali McNamara’s ninth novel is the story of Amelia, a single mum who is down on her luck. Her husband has walked out, leaving her to struggle to make ends meet to bring her young son up. She soon discovers that she’s the distant descendant of the Earl of Chesterford, and as such, has inherited a castle on the Northumberland coast.

And thus begins the adventure of a lifetime for Amelia and her son Charlie. They quickly re-locate to the other end of the country, and Amelia starts the mammoth task of making the castle financially viable. As well as the castle, they inherit a ragtag bunch of staff members, a family of sorts. Of course, amongst them is a handsome furniture restorer who might just be able to make Amelia believe in love again, after her husband broke her heart.

There’s absolutely nothing to offend in Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay. It’s a romance, a story of friendship, with just a smattering of the supernatural to keep things interesting. You know what you’re getting with a book like this; it’s not world-shatteringly original, but it’s a lot of fun, and it’s gentle and sweet, and I always think there’s something entirely comforting about reading a book like this. There’s an attempt to shoehorn in some diversity, which feels slightly clumsy, but let’s applaud the spirit in which LGBT characters are included, even if the execution didn’t quite work for me.

All in all, if you’re after a quick read to take on holiday, or a sweet romance to cleanse your palate between slightly weightier tomes, you can’t go far wrong with Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay!

Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay
Publication Date: 27th June 2019
Sphere
Provided by publisher