Au­thor draws on rich ex­pe­ri­ences

Hamilton News - - BOOKS / LOCAL CLASSIFIEDS - Rosie Sanderson

Olivia and her fam­ily had been liv­ing the good life un­til ru­mours started that her fi­nancier hus­band Richmond is about to go bank­rupt. De­spite cop­ing with breast cancer, a dou­ble mas­tec­tomy and chemo­ther­apy, a very beau­ti­ful but de­mand­ing teenage daugh­ter and miss­ing her son who is en­joy­ing a GAP year in Asia, Olivia con­sid­ered her­self lucky. But her teenage lover — a gor­geous sail­ing in­struc­tor — has re-en­tered her life. He is now a rich and suc­cess­ful part­ner in his fam­ily’s in­ter­na­tional busi­ness em­pire, and has been em­ployed to restart Richmond’s fail­ing Ma­rina project. She won­ders — why him? Why now?

Set in the at­trac­tive but sleepy sea­side town of Kester­ley, Su­san Lewis uses the char­ac­ters to tell their ver­sions of the story un­fold­ing as Richmond strug­gles with his fi­nan­cial prob­lems. To com­pound his prob­lems, his for­mer girl­friend Ana Petrov re­turns claim­ing to be plan­ning to open a gallery in town. Olivia be­gins to doubt, old feel­ings resur­face and her world is thrown into con­fu­sion. Her teenage daugh­ter is dis­traught when her friends os­tracise her as the fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions of Richmond’s ac­tions are felt in the com­mu­nity.

Su­san Lewis is the best­selling au­thor of 40 nov­els and the mem­oirs of her child­hood in Glouces­ter­shire. Her fa­ther was a Welsh miner and poet and her mother died of cancer when she was 9. De­spite many ob­sta­cles she got a job with HTV at 18, moved to Lon­don at 22, be­com­ing a pro­duc­tion as­sis­tant — was told if she wanted to be­come a pro­ducer she needed to go away and write some­thing. Thirty books later and houses in the south of France then Hol­ly­wood be­fore mar­riage at 50, Su­san has a great deal of life ex­pe­ri­ence to draw on for her char­ac­ters.

She uses her nov­els to ex­am­ine cur­rent so­ci­ety is­sues — in The Se­cret

Keeper the im­pli­ca­tions for a fam­ily and the com­mu­nity of fraud, money laun­der­ing and poor fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions are vividly de­scribed. Every­one is af­fected in dif­fer­ent ways and the im­pact on each of the char­ac­ters is ex­plored. But as to be ex­pected, there is a happy end­ing.

Au­thor Su­san Leiws.

The Se­cret Keeper By Su­san Lewis, Pen­guin Ran­dom House, $37

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