A Secret Scottish Escape
by Julie Shackman
Published by HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter
When Scotland’s sleepiest hamlet becomes the centre of hot gossip, Layla Devlin finds herself caught in a mystery…
When Layla’s fiancée has an unexpected heart attack and dies – in another woman’s arms, no less – Layla is determined to pack up and leave Loch Harris, the village she’s always called home. But an unexpected inheritance and love for her quiet corner of Scotland send her down a new path.
Now Layla finds herself facing a whole new kind of drama. Rumours swirl that a celebrity has moved into Coorie Cottage and Layla is determined to have him headline her opening night at local music venue The Conch Club. But the reclusive star is equally determined to thwart Layla’s efforts. Rafe Buchanan is in hiding for a reason, and soon his past comes to Loch Harris to haunt him…
RATED: 16+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Women's Fiction Interesting
A Secret Scottish Escape by Julie Shackman centers around Layla Devlin, who is devastated to learn that her fiancé has just passed away ... with another woman underneath him. Surrounded by the memories of him, and the betrayal, she plans to move away from her hometown for a fresh start. But when she learns her fiancé left her a massive sum of money, her love for home, and her other passion - music - lead her to opening her own music venue. While everything for The Conch Club gets squared away, Layla finds herself immersed in a mystery, involving a reclusive celebrity hiding away at another cabin. While trying to get him to perform at her club on opening night, she slowly learns more about the mysterious Rafe, and why he is hiding. Unfortunately, his past doesn't want to stay in the past ...
A Secret Scottish Escape was an enjoyable read for me. It wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting a romance story, and found myself immersed into a woman's fiction story, with the smallest bit of romance. Despite being disappointed by the lack of romance, the story was original and interesting (I finished it in a day), and the characters, and their relationships, were intriguing. For the first time - in a long time - an ARC has invoked emotion from me within the first few chapters. When Layla is finding out the news about her fiancé, and her conflicting emotions afterwards, I found myself teary eyed, and her reaction realistic. My hopes that Layla would find someone worth her time and love kept me invested, especially when I got annoyed that the romance didn't start up until 85% through the book, or the conversations sometimes ending awkwardly, or seeming unnatural.
While I am hesitant to label this book as romance, as general woman's fiction, I found it quite enjoyably. If you are looking for a story about a person finding her way after heartbreak, and making the best out of the worst, you will certainly like this book. With a touch of romance, if you like "clean" romance, this book is also for you.