A boathouse by Lake Orta sounds the most wonderful place for a holiday, and it is a break from life that Ginny and Adam Trustlove need. They have recently had a stillborn son and need to reconnect and find a way forward from this terrible tragedy. The boathouse seems to be the perfect place to do so, peace and quiet and a beautiful blue lake.
The couple have only just begun to settle in when the peace is shattered by Bea and Marty Sale and their three children, Dom, Esther and Pippi who have come to stay at the main villa. Noisy and full of life the couple are spending a last holiday together with their adult and teenaged children before the last, Pippi flies the nest.
The clue to this story really is in the title. All of the holidaymakers are hiding a secret of one sort or another, some easy to discern, other’s less so. From successful Marty who has promised to take a well-earned break from their clothing line who is only too glad to widen the party to include the less outgoing Trustloves to Pippi and the young man she draws into the circle hoping for a summer romance.
The book follows the summer break of both parties though the days of the holiday, and we get to see how the newcomer to the group, Pippi’s find Zach fits in. Because, yes you’ve guessed it he is also hiding a secret!
This book lets us examine each of the characters but the two that stand out for me are Bea who is questioning the intervening years since she was fully involved in what has become Marty’s business and Pippi who is an entitled spoilt little rich girl who is totally unused to getting what she wants.
There are some big themes in this story, notably grief and adultery but there are some other aspects of relationships that are less often explored in this type of books – I can’t tell you what because it’s a secret!!
Louise Candlish is excellent at setting the scene, I had no trouble picturing the setting at all but I wasn’t quite so convinced by the characters in this book as I have been in other books by this author. Part of the problem is the speed, all within a two-week holiday, that all the secrets come tumbling out, the characters are so busy reacting to the latest bombshell for them to feel like people you’d know. It isn’t so much that their actions were unrealistic, more that I didn’t have a baseline as a starting point. I wasn’t overly convinced that Bea and Ginny would have shared their innermost thoughts quite so readily, the women came from different worlds and didn’t really have an awful lot in common because of that. But hey this was a holiday and we all know anything can, and does happen then.
Although maybe not as suited to my reading tastes as the other books by this author this is an entertaining read which is entirely suited for holiday reading where you can be transported to another life which is, hopefully, far more hectic than yours.