Just published: It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell

For me, this novel provides a perfect escapist read; it has appealing settings, multiple characters and plot lines, complications, resolutions…and of course, love.
Settings: The story opens and ends in France at a beautiful chateau that has become a hotel. Much happens between two visits to that countryside. The rest of the novel takes place in the U.K., partly in Cornwall, a place that comes vividly into being with the water, the cafes, the shops, etc. Readers also spend time in other locations including Bristol. (I enjoyed my visit back to the suspension bridge via the book.)
So many characters: Lainey and Kit: Good friends who come to work for a family in Cornwall. They pretend to be a married couple to get the job. Will they be discovered? What will happen then? Who does each belong with?
Sir Richard: an eighty-year old well-loved actor who is egotistical, eccentric and was a playboy. What surprising new relationship will come to him?
Majella: the widow of Sir Richard’s son. She does her scattered best to take care of her children while hoping to move on to a new romance. FYI: She has some real clunkers of dates. Majella’s children are secondary characters and each has his/her own personality.
Seth: he runs a tourist agency that readers will wish was real. A ladies man, he has never found “the one.” Will he by the end of the story? Also, is there something to know about his parentage?
Wyatt: He proposed to the lovely Penny who turns him down. Why? Will he ultimately be happier? Will she?
There are many strands to tie together over the course of the novel as readers watch the characters deal with the secrets in their lives. Throughout, Ms. Mansell has a light touch and kept me happily turning the pages.
Many years ago when I first ordered a book to be sent to me via the wonders of the internet and international purchasing, I picked a Jill Mansell title. This author’s ability to combine humor and heart have not diminished over her many publications.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.

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