Best-selling author Ali McNamara takes us away on deliciously entertaining adventures in her novels. In Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay, her latest book, we follow single mother Amelia Harris and her young son Charlie as they embark on a veritable rags-to-riches journey, from borderline poverty to life in a medieval castle on the Northumberland coast.

When Amelia receives a letter out of the blue from a genealogist informing her about ‘Article C’, a possible inheritance, she’s almost at the end of her tether. Life, as she and her son knew it, changed the day her husband left for work and just didn’t bother to come back. Since then, they’ve had to move several times, they’re struggling to make ends meet and they’re living in a crumbling tower block on a dodgy council estate in Hamilton. Then, almost overnight, everything changes: Amelia discovers she’s the heir to a twelve-bedroom castle in the north of England and that ten-year-old Charlie is the eighteenth Earl of Chesterford. And thus begins their awfully big adventure.

Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay is a quintessentially English tale, full of gentle and affectionate humour and charm, and told with McNamara’s trademark style, which pays more than a nod to writers like Jilly Cooper and Joanna Trollope. From the beginning, we root for Amelia and Charlie – and the cast of eccentric, rather colourful characters who come to support them in their new life in the beautiful locale of Rainbow Bay.

It’s a lovely read. Yet another win for McNamara.


Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay | Ali McNamara | Sphere | paperback original | 27 June 2019 | ebook also available


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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the publisher virtual book tour. Thanks so much to Clara Diaz and to the publisher for sending a book proof and book cover. Please check out the other participants on the tour. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved.


Also of interest: ‘The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone’; ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Permission by Saskia Vogel‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘The beauty of Tom Cox’s personal landscape‘; ‘Call Me Star Girl’;Falling from the Floating World‘; ‘Blood Orange’; ‘Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, Dialogue’s brilliant debut; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’;RW Kwon’s The Incendiaries’; ‘Beautiful words – The Language of Secrets‘; ‘Beauty in translation – Roxanne Bouchard’s French Canadian noir‘; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

Select Q&As/interviews: Some like it hot – the joy of Carole Mortimer, award-winning novelist‘; Gina Kirkham’;‘Meet Paul E. Hardisty’;‘Lilja Sigurðardóttir’; ’Tom Cox’; ‘Vanda Symon; ‘Gunnar Staalesen’; John Fairfax’; ‘Ian Ridley’; ‘David Stuart Davies’.

This review is © 2019 by The Literary Shed. All rights reserved. All opinions are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please do contact us to request permission. Thank you so much.




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