Secrets in the Sky by Pauline Wiles
Great news! The prequel to Saving Saffron Sweeting releases today, February 26th, 2015. Congratulations, Pauline!
Here’s more great news: I’m giving away a copy of Secrets in the Sky to one luck blog reader. Woo-Hoo!
Want even more great news? Pauline is having a big celebration on her blog, too. Check out her Publication Week Kick-Off celebrations.
Now, let’s discover this great new book . . .
How far should you go to keep a secret?
No-one ever accused Sophie Campbell of being a coward. From caving trips to rooftop pranks, it appeared nothing could hold her back, especially once she landed a dream job promising travel all over the world.
But Sophie’s jet-setting lifestyle is not what it seems and she’s been spending more time in the quiet English village of Saffron Sweeting than she cares to admit. When her beloved Great Aunt Wol dies suddenly, Sophie loses one of the few people who truly know her. As friends, family and an old flame gather for the funeral, questions soon follow. Worse, Sophie finds herself increasingly attracted to the man most likely to expose her secrets. Can she manage to guard her past, yet finally follow her long-held dream?
Featuring both new and familiar characters, this stand-alone romantic comedy is set two years before Saving Saffron Sweeting. With side helpings of British tea, cake and wit, Secrets in the Sky explores how finding the courage to be yourself can be the toughest challenge of all.
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9889731-2-1
My Secrets in the Sky Book Review:
Yet again, Pauline Wiles has delivered a novel with warm characters in a delightful setting. In a story that begins two years before Pauline’s début novel, Saving Saffron Sweeting, this stand-alone romantic comedy is a showcase of romance, secrets and lies, bravery and courage. For me, the biggest takeaway is the importance of facing your phobias before they wrap around you, smothering your judgment and clouding your world.
I suspect many reviews of this book will focus on the energy between the characters. The cast and crew assembled for this novel is wonderful and they tangle and untangle themselves throughout the story. That said, I’m going to focus primarily on the value of establishing setting, as well as having a smashing great first five paragraphs.
Hands down, one of my favorite aspects of the novel was the chance to delve deeper into the world of Saffron Sweeting, an idyllic village I grew to love when reading Pauline’s first book. Since reading Saving Saffron Sweeting in 2013, I’ve often daydreamed about Saffron Sweeting. I’d like to visit it one day, but shucks, it’s a fictional village, so I’ll have to travel its streets in the pages of Pauline’s books. In keeping with this English setting, both books use British spelling and grammar conventions. (Love that!)
I loved the opening at the church and the use of certain town elements (like the church clock). I enjoyed it when the author planted a sense of color from the setting, fleshing out for me as a reader what living in the village of Saffron Sweeting must feel like to the characters. For example, a simple passage in which Sophie describes the difficulty of getting pizza delivered from Cambridge restaurants:
. . . Saffron Sweeting is a bit of a trek for the Cambridge pizza restaurants, and they seem to find the village extraordinarily hard to navigate. We’re not so far out of the way their sat nav won’t function, but they act like they’ve had to deliver a Hawaiian to Oahu itself.
These details, carefully crafted in something as “everyday” as pizza delivery, really anchored me in the location of story, a location I’ve craved returning to since reading the first book. I especially enjoyed the turn of events at the river’s edge and loved how this scene was first fleshed-out in a bit of setting before everything unraveled in dialogue and action.
I also really loved the opening of the novel as it relates to the rest of the story. Opening with the girls running late for their aunt Wol’s funeral service is brilliant for this story.
- CHAPTER ONE -
I race up the gravel path towards the village church and skid to an inelegant halt. I’ll be so glad to get these shoes off.
Kit is waiting in the arched doorway, shifting from foot to foot and looking from her watch to the sky. Thunderous clouds have been creeping closer all morning, and now they’re convening right above the steeple.
‘Where the hell’ve you been? They’re starting!’
As she speaks, I hear the solemn notes of the organ and recognise the first bars of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’. Beside us, a clump of yellow daffodils nods in time to the hymn.
Wol loved daffodils.
My closing remarks? Tackle your fears and reveal your truth. An enthusiastic 5-stars for what I know will be another smashing hit in contemporary women’s fiction.
Pauline, you go girl. You did it again.
After reading Secrets in the Sky, a stand-alone romantic comedy and prequel to Saving Saffron Sweeting, why not add Pauline’s first book to your bookshelf? Read my April 29, 2013 book review.
Saving Saffron Sweeting by Pauline Wiles
Grace Palmer’s British friends all think she’s living the American Dream. But her design business is floundering and when she discovers her husband is cheating with her best client, she panics and flees home to England.
The tranquil village of Saffron Sweeting appears to be a good place for Grace to lick her wounds, but the community is battling its own changes. Reluctantly, Grace finds herself helping her new neighbours as they struggle to adjust and save their businesses. However, not everyone has the same opinion on what’s good for the village. The charismatic new man in her life may have one speculative eye on Grace, but the other is firmly on profit. How will she navigate the tricky path between her home and her happiness?
With gentle humour and generous helpings of British tea and cake, Saving Saffron Sweeting explores one woman’s need to define herself through her career and community, before she can figure out who should be by her side.
Paperback, 294 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9889731-0-7
E-book ISBN: 978-0-9889731-1-4
Find more information and bonus materials for Saving Saffron Sweeting here.
About Pauline Wiles
British by birth, Pauline moved to California eight years ago and, apart from a yearning for afternoon tea and historic homes, has never looked back. Her work has been published by House of Fifty, Open Exchange and Alfie Dog Fiction. Novels include Saving Saffron Sweeting and Secrets in the Sky. Join Pauline’s newsletter.
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