Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott #BookReview #BlogTour

August 1939
At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgiana returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives...

Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband's devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she's drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything...

I'm absolutely thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott today, my grateful thanks to the author, publishers and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

I'm always tempted by dual timeline novels and books set in or preceding the Second World War so couldn't fail to be tempted by Summer of Secrets. Thankfully my high hopes were more than exceeded and I adored this wonderfully evocative book. I often find that I prefer one strand of the storyline over the other with these sorts of novels but I found both time periods equally compelling in this case. 
Maddy's story takes place in the three days immediately before Chamberlain's broadcast to the nation when he announced Britain had declared war on Germany. Although her Aunt Marjorie is glued to the wireless, Maddy finds it hard to believe life at her sprawling Summerhill home will change. She eagerly awaits the return of her older sister, Georgiana who has been travelling in Europe; the two sisters are orphans whose bond seems unbreakable following the tragic death of their father. However, Georgiana has invited her new friends to stay at Summerhill, including the handsome and charismatic Victor. The newcomers bring with them a sense of glamour and wild abandonment at odds with the sombre mood of a country on the brink of war. At first Maddy feels awkward and immature around them but before long realises that Victor is not to be trusted. Maddy is an intelligent, compassionate young girl but it becomes increasingly clear that she has created a protective cocoon around herself at Summerhill and hasn't truly faced the ghosts of her past. The scenes set at Summerhill are so beautifully descriptive, I could easily believe it was a real place. Maddy's story is told in the first person, allowing the sense of foreboding to build gradually as the secrets she feel compelled to keep eventually threaten more than just the sisters' attachment to one another.
In contrast, I felt the third person narrative of the contemporary storyline had a more immediate feeling of oppression, although Chloe herself is unaware - or at least not ready to recognise - that her perfect life isn't quite as perfect as it appears. She thinks she should feel lucky, her husband, Aidan adores her and when she discovers she is pregnant, their happiness should be complete. However, she is stifled by Aidan's over-protectiveness and as his desire to control every aspect of her life escalates it frequently makes for a difficult read. As the book progresses it transpires that Chloe is actually a strong and determined woman who has advocated for the proper care for her brother for years but her fears for him coupled with her suffocating marriage means she has lost the sense of who she is. An opportunity to rediscover a previous passion takes her to Summerhill, where she becomes drawn to the events of the past and in doing triggers life-changing repercussions closer to home. 
The connection between Chloe and Maddy never feels forced for the sake of the story and as the narrative switches between the two women, there are clear similarities between their lives even though their circumstances are very different. Summer of Secrets is a book about how the power of love has affected the three women at the heart of it. I'm including Georgiana here too because she as much as any of them, experiences the strength of a love which pulls her towards a person when she knows that for her own sake, she needs to seek out her own space in the world. It is not surprising then that Chloe feels an affinity with her as Nikola Scott poignantly acknowledges that love can be a gift and a burden at the same time, and that the responsibilities borne by the young can exert a toll which is felt for years. 
Summer of Secrets is an exquisite novel which enthralled me from the first page and I finished it with a smile on my face even as the tears streamed down my cheeks, such was my pleasure at reading such an exceptional book. Highly, highly recommended.

Summer of Secrets is published by Headline Books and can be purchased here.

Don't miss the rest of the bog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Nikola Scott was born and raised in Germany and studied at university there. Having been obsessed with books from a young age, Nikola moved to New York City after her Master's degree to begin her first job in book publishing, a career in which she could fully indulge her love of fiction! 

She spent ten years working in publishing in New York and then in London, editing other people's books, before she decided to take the leap into becoming a full-time writer herself.


  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful Blog Tour support Karen x


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