A Secret Scottish Escape – Julie Shackman

Layla’s life is changed when her fiancĂ© dies of a heart attack….in another woman’s arms.

She wants to up sticks and leave Loch Harris, the place she has made her home and away from her friends and her only family – her father.

But Layla’s circumstances means she is suddenly left an unexpected inheritance and she perhaps can see what Loch Harris needs is to reinvent itself and in turn that will reinvent her.

Some people have other idea though; a mother who puts the seed of doubt of Layla’s actual parentage and a mysterious singer only known as the Mask who has taken up residence locally.

The premise of this book was good and it started to deliver in the first half, but then it slipped into something much more contrived and I started to feel less and less empathy for the characters and their actions. It all seemed a bit too unbelievable and their actions were not something I have recognised before in similar types of novels.

If you wanted a diversionary type of read then this book would fit the bill, but I did not go away from it as uplifted as I thought I might have done. It really pains me to write about a book that didn’t just fit with me, I always feel I am being hard on the book when clearly many others will enjoy it and get much more from it. It shows you that all books and reading for that matter is subjective and that one size certainly does not fit all!

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel.

A Secret Scottish Escape is out now.