Author: Lulu Taylor
Published by: Pan Macmillan on Nov. 2, 2020
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 8.5/10
The Winter Secret is a thrilling mystery from Lulu Taylor, top ten bestselling author of The Snow Rose and Her Frozen Heart.
‘My dear boy, the place is cursed. It always has been and it always will be . . .’
Buttercup Redmain has a life of pampered luxury, living in beautiful Charcombe Park. Her older husband, Charles Redmain, is wealthy and successful and proud of the house he has painstakingly restored, once owned by a famous ancestor. Buttercup is surrounded by people who make her life delightfully easy. But the one thing she really wants seems impossible.
There are other discomforting realities: her husband’s ex-wife Ingrid still lives nearby although Buttercup has never met her. And it soon becomes clear that all the people who make Buttercup’s life so carefree are also watching her every move. Does she actually live in a comfortable but inescapable cage? And what is the real story of her husband’s previous marriage?
In the late 1940s, Xenia Arkadyoff lived in Charcombe Park with her father, a Russian prince, and her mother, a famous film star. Life seemed charmed, full of glamour and beauty. But behind the glittering facade lay pain, betrayal, and the truth about the woman Xenia spent her life protecting.
Now Charcombe Park is calling back people who were once part of its story, and the secrets that have stayed long hidden are bubbling inexorably to the surface . . .
Gripping, menacing, and addictive!
The Winter Secret is an unsettling, pacey, atmospheric novel about love, life, loss, secrets, power, control, friendship, family, jealousy, and tragedy.
There are two main memorable characters, Xenia, a young girl in the late 1940s whose life is anything but glamourous when her mother’s starlet lifestyle leads to a neverending rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows. And Buttercup, the present-day Mrs. Redmain whose life is pristine and wonderful until the cracks begin to appear and everything is not quite as perfect as it originally seemed.
The writing is eloquent and descriptive. The characterization is well done with a cast of characters that are distressed, vulnerable, and sympathetic, and a setting, Charcombe Park, that is a character itself with its history, grandeur, isolation, and multitude of secrets. And the plot uses a past/present, back-and-forth style to create tension and suspense as it quickly unravels all the personalities, relationships, behaviours, and motivations within it.
Overall, The Winter Secret is a clever, haunting, absorbing novel that swept me away to a country estate marred by both cruelty and love and immersed me in a story rife with deception and obsession.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.