I’m a little early with this as the book isn’t published till 27th June, but I enjoyed Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay so much that I couldn’t wait to share my review. For me, it isn’t summer until Ali McNamara has a new book out so as far as I’m concerned, it’s now summer – enjoy!
This book is about Amelia, a single parent living in a dingy flat on a dodgy estate with her young son Charlie. She is astonished to be contacted by a genealogist working for a firm of lawyers telling her that, through a distant relative, she is the heir to Chesterford Castle in a coastal town in Northumberland. Due to the terms of the will, she can’t inherit the title herself but her son is now officially the Earl of Chesterford, a fact she’s not keen to share with him! Not surprisingly she thinks it is a scam at first, as I suspect most of us would. It might seem far-fetched to think you could inherit from some unknown relative but the very day I began this book, there was a story in the news of a man who was proved to be the heir to a Cornish estate worth £50M after DNA testing. So these things can happen – there is hope for us yet!
Amelia is determined that she is going to make a success of running Chesterford Castle and using her marketing skills, she sets out to do just that. She is keen to make her good fortune work for the benefit of the staff and the community and, as always, Ali McNamara has created a fantastic range of characters to help Amelia in her endeavours. There’s Arthur, the gruff caretaker with a heart of gold, his wife Dorothy the kindly housekeeper, Joey who helps Arthur out and does a bit of everything and ditzy Tiffany who works in the office. There’s also Tom, an antique furniture restorer who soon becomes invaluable to Amelia in more ways than she expected. Benji, the genealogist, begins to do some research on the history of the castle and begins to uncover some of its secrets. As Amelia comes to know and love the castle, she comes to love the staff too. They really become like a second family to her and Charlie.
Then of course, there are the ghosts. It’s something I love in this author’s books that there is always a hint of the supernatural to some extent or another. In this book, the ghosts who inhabit Chesterford Castle let Amelia know whether they approve (or not) of the changes she is making to their castle, even when she isn’t sure she actually believes in them!
Let’s not forget the healthy dollop of romance infusing the whole book. This is kind of a modern day Cinderella tale with Amelia going from rags to riches and with those riches coming under threat as well as her happiness. But who would be her Prince Charming? And does a modern woman even need a Prince Charming? Ah well, that would be telling…
For sheer enjoyment, it’s hard to beat an Ali McNamara book so get pre-ordering yourself a copy of Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay. I’m sure you won’t regret it!
My thanks to the publishers Sphere (Little, Brown) for my review copy. Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay will be published in ebook, paperback and audiobook formats on 27th June. It will be available to buy or order from your usual book retailer or you can pre-order a Kindle copy here: Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay.
From the back of the book
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…
About the author
Ali McNamara is a writer and author of ten novels the latest of which, Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay, will be published in June 2019.
Her debut, From Notting Hill with Love…Actually, the first of three ‘Notting Hill’ books, became an instant bestseller.
Ali has had much overseas success with her books – particularly Breakfast at Darcy’s which was a Top Ten bestseller in Italy. Her novels Step Back in Time and Letters from Lighthouse Cottage were nominated for the Romantic Novel of the Year.
Ali lives in Cambridgeshire with her family and her beloved Labrador dogs. When she isn’t writing, she likes to travel, read and people watch, more often than not accompanied by a good cup of coffee! Her dogs, and a love of exercise keep her sane!
To find out more about Ali visit her website: www.alimcnamara.co.uk
or follow her on Twitter: @AliMcNamara, Facebook and Instagram.