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Feature book: The Secrets of Palmerston House

5 August 2020

The Secrets of Palmerston House by Phillipa Nefri Clark

Subgenre: romantic suspense
Release date: 30 Nov 2018
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook and print
Length: 336 pages
RRP: $3.99 (ebook); $27.45 (print)

This is book three of the River’s End mystery series and I haven’t read the first two and I sense there’s a link, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

We start the prologue with Christie excitedly peering through the window to the gardens of Palmerston House on the evening of her wedding to Martin. She’s going through the list of all the people who are there for the nuptials—all the people important to her and her fiancé, Martin.

We cut suddenly to Christie being told that Martin can’t be located and hasn’t turned up for the wedding! We all know something has gone terribly wrong because he’s been hanging out for this day …

Then we go back in time about a week maybe and to the secrets and the history that lead the story.

There’s a baddie who has plans for Palmerston House who turns up unexpectedly again in the life of one character. There are elder lovers reunited after a long period apart, good friends and that lovely village feel, well, it’s Australia so more correctly, small-town feel.

Christie has baggage—an awful ex who I think is in book two of the series; Bernie and Charlotte have secrets of their own, together and separately, and there’s a whole back story to Martin’s grandfather and his wife.

A beautiful English trunk, a wonderful old clock, a leather diary from 1853 and some old, old, keys are all part of the clues that lead us on the merry chase.

A long-held belief in ownership of a property after theft and the way history weaves through the story made this a good read. While a little slow in parts, the book has good characters, lots of goodwill and romantic love throughout. I also really enjoyed that Phillipa had older lovers, not just the young and gorgeous. Some lovely examples.

Palmerston House’s secrets aren’t confined to the house itself and as the threads all pull together you know you want the happily ever after (there are a few of them to wish for) and the baddie is a baddie but a little unhinged with a wagon-train of baggage. Not once did I really feel sorry for him.

I enjoyed the book and, even though I now know some of what went on in the previous books, I think I want to start at the beginning of the River’s End series and see exactly how we got to book three.

reviewed by Sharon

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

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