Monday, April 18, 2016

Eva Rice - The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

+Penguin Books USA
+Amazon India
+Kindle Store

Penelope Wallace is accosted at the Bus Stop one day by Charlotte who just pops out of the blue to ask her if she would like to share a taxi with her.  In the taxi she talks about having to go to her Aunt Clare's for tea and invites Penelope to go along.  Penelope is overwhelmed by Charlotte's personality and agrees to accompany her.

At Aunt Clare's she meets Harry, Clare's son.  Harry wants to be a magician and is currently trying to win his lady love back.  He feels Penelope is perfect for making his ex-girlfriend, Marina, jealous, and wants her to act like his date. Penelope is sucked into the world of Harry, Clare and Charlotte.

She lives in one of the most ancient and imposing houses of England, Milton Magna, with her widowed mother and a younger brother, Inigo.  What other people do not know is that they are completely broke and in debt.  It is with great difficulty that they are making ends meet, even if they belong to a respected aristocratic family.

Penelope is 18 years old and the year is 1954.  There is a lot she has to learn and ghosts she has to bury before she can learn how to live.  Charlotte becomes her beacon and she finds herself stepping out in society and meeting interesting people.  Some of these people will change the course of her life and she will find true love.

The starting of the book is simply fabulous.  It throws a hook right into you and pulls you along.  I was furiously flipping pages on my kindle. It was quite unputdownable.  It got a wee bit tedious as it went along, yet I could not stop until I had reached the last page.

Eva Rice points to various love stories in the book.  Three women find love in it but there is no wedding, or even a promise of one.  This leaves it open-ended which feels quite good.

Eva references various books/poems like Rebecca and The Lady of Shallot in this book.  Charlotte and Penelope, like the girls of the their times, are crazy about Johnny Ray.  Penelope's American uncle brings them records of Elvis Presley who was not very popular at the time, but rising.

There are great descriptions of the high society in London and how they party.  The rich Americans are everywhere.  The provide the money and the impoverished British aristocrats provide class.


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