Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review: House of Secrets by Lynda Stacey

Book Blurb:

A woman on the run, a broken man and a house with a shocking secret …

Madeleine Frost has to get away. Her partner Liam has become increasingly controlling to the point that Maddie fears for her safety, and that of her young daughter Poppy. .

Desperation leads Maddie to the hotel owned by her estranged father – the extraordinarily beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. There, she meets Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine and the gamekeeper of the hall, whose brusque manner conceals a painful past.

After discovering a diary belonging to a previous owner, Maddie and Bandit find themselves immersed in the history of the old house, uncovering its secrets, scandals, tragedies – and, all the while, becoming closer.

But Liam still won’t let go, he wants Maddie back, and when Liam wants something he gets it, no matter who he hurts … 

My Review:

House of Secrets by Lynda Stacey was a great book to fall into!  She kept me entranced with strong characters, a strong plot, and a great setting.  

I liked how I felt like I was immediately immersed in the plot, with Maddie as her relationship with Liam quickly escalates to frightening.  Maddie was at her most vulnerable when she met Liam, and their relationship quickly grew.  Soon she and her daughter Poppy were living with Liam, but their situation was quickly becoming frightening and out of control.  I really liked Maddie.  It was easy to forget how young she really is in House of Secrets because she is such a mature character who has been through a lot.  Her character is well defined and is an admirable, very likable heroine.  She is scared and not sure where to turn, but she does what she knows she needs to do while she still can.  Maddie's daughter Poppy is an integral part of the plot, because without her I think things might have turned out a lot differently for Maddie.  Poppy is a great example of how children can be such good judges of character...not only with Liam, but with other characters in House of Secrets.

"Bandit" is a strong character also.  A former marine, he hides a lot, and suffers as well.  I loved how Bandit and Maddie first meet, and I really liked watching a relationship between the two of them grow.  That relationship encompasses a lot more than just the two of them, and I liked how everything and everyone was woven together from past to present.

But even as Maddie and Poppy are moving on, Liam just can't let go.  There is a lot about him that Maddie doesn't know, and Lynda Stacey did a great job of building tension through out the plot.  I liked how she wrote Liam's character.  It was suspenseful with a lot of unknowns, and without being too graphic, Lynda did a great job of keeping me nervously on edge.

House of Secrets is filled with emotion.  I was entertained, but I could also feel the tension, the love, the hope, the fear, and sometimes just overwhelming sadness.  Family dynamics and the past play a huge role in House of Secrets, and I liked how this was done.  I might have liked to know a bit more about Maddie's mother and those circumstances, but that did not take away from the plot for me.

House of Secrets flows at a great pace that kept me glued to the pages.  I found it intriguing and exciting.  There is a little of something for everyone in House of Secrets...women's fiction, romance, and suspense.  I'd highly recommend House of Secrets to any reader who enjoys any of those!

5/5 stars!

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