Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay by Ali McNamara

download Synopsis: Amelia is a single mother, doing her very best to look after her young son, Charlie – but money is tight and times are tough. When she first hears that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Real-Life Castle by the sea, Amelia can’t quite believe her ears. But it’s true!

She soon finds that owning a castle isn’t quite the ticket to sorting out her money problems that she’d first hoped: she can’t sell, because the terms of the ancient bequest state that any Chesterford who inherits the castle, must live there and work towards the upkeep and maintenance of the family home. So ever-practical Amelia decides to uproot her little family and move to this magnificent castle by the sea.

Living in a castle on the beautiful Northumberland coast is fun at first, but organising the day-to-day running is a lot more complicated than Amelia first imagined. Luckily she has help from the small band of eccentric and unconventional staff that are already employed there – and a mysterious unseen hand that often gives her a push in the right direction just when she needs it most.

It’s only when she meets Tom, a furniture restorer who comes to the castle to help repair some antique furniture, that Amelia realises she might get the fairy-tale ending that she and Charlie truly deserve…

My rating: 4/5

My review: I love Ali McNamara books but have to say I actually started this book twice and put it down. It has a little bit of a slow start and I think that was my issue initially. However, putting it down and coming back to it was the best thing to do. Once I came back to it I started again and it was an easy read. I think I needed to be in the right frame of mind (anyone else get that?).

Amelia is a single mum who is struggling to make ends meet. She receives a  call from a solicitor who tells her that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Castle by the sea. When she finally realises this is an opportunity she needs to take she finally makes the move and her and her son Charlie take the chance and move to Chesterford Castle.

The additional characters that appear in this story absolutely make it and they include Dorothy and Arthur who live there as Castle staff along with Joey and Tiffany. As Amelia and Charlie settle, Amelia begins to realise that living in the castle although great, also comes with the responsibility of ensuring the castle stays in tip top shape and that people still come to visit.

As a reader you are definitely taken along for the journey and although there is also a ‘ghost’ element to this story (not normally something I like) it was done fantastically and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Tom arrives at the castle and becomes the restorer as well as builders who start t covert outbuildings and as time goes on more and more things start to happen which cause Amelia to wonder whether she has made the right choice.

This story although slow to start (for me anyway) ended up being a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Although it seems to be a slight step away from what McNamara normally does it still has her signature style of writing and characters you love. In the end I wondered why I had waited so long to read this and would definitely recommend.

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