secretsI spent quite a bit of time after reading the synopsis to Secrets And Seashells At Rainbow Bay pondering what I’d do in the unlikely event of a distant relative leaving me a castle.

In truth, I know I wouldn’t handle it half as well as single mum Amelia who appeared well equipped to transform the failing visitor attraction.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Ali McNamara’s 10th book is that nearly everyone is keeping some sort of secret and uncovering them all, one by one, is what kept me turning the pages to the very end.

Here’s the blurb:

The sun is shining on the golden castle on Rainbow Bay – and change is in the air!

Amelia is a single mother, doing her very best to look after her young son, Charlie – but money is tight and times are tough. 

When she first hears that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Real-Life Castle by the sea, Amelia can’t quite believe her ears. But it’s true!

She soon finds that owning a castle isn’t quite the ticket to sorting out her money problems that she’d first hoped: she can’t sell, because the terms of the ancient bequest state that any Chesterford who inherits the castle, must live there and work towards the upkeep and maintenance of the family home. So ever-practical Amelia decides to uproot her little family and move to this magnificent castle by the sea.

Living in a castle on the beautiful Northumberland coast is fun at first, but organising the day-to-day running is a lot more complicated than Amelia first imagined. Luckily she has help from the small band of eccentric and unconventional staff that are already employed there – and a mysterious unseen hand that often gives her a push in the right direction just when she needs it most. It’s only when she meets Tom, a furniture restorer who comes to the castle to help repair some antique furniture, that Amelia realises she might get the fairy-tale ending that she and Charlie truly deserve…

The staff at the castle are, as the blurb suggests, eccentric and add some wonderful colour to the story, especially curmudgeon Arthur.

At some points I found Amelia difficult to relate to and maybe didn’t even like her that much but I think that was the way her character was supposed to be. She’d been hurt in the past and was protecting herself by being closed off and perhaps a bit prim. Having said that, she didn’t seem to have any problems making friends with the staff, at the school gates and in the local boozer, so it was a bit of a conundrum.

The story moves along at quite a pace with various plot lines coming together. For me it definitely became more interesting towards the end.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £4.99 (via Amazon).

My rating: Four stars.

With thanks to Little, Brown Book Group for the ARC (via NetGalley) in return for an honest review.

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