Saturday, 30 May 2020

Review: Island of Secrets by Rachel Rhys

I was attracted to this book due to the gorgeous cover and because I love historical fiction and exotic locations.

It's 1957 and Iris Bailey is working in a typing pool in dreary old England but dreams of being an artist. To earn extra money she has been drawing the portraits of the rich and famous at Society parties. At one of these parties she meets Nell, the daughter of a famous Hollywood director, who hires Iris to draw the guests at her father's wedding in Havana. It is a fabulous opportunity but once Iris arrives she realises she is hopelessly out of her depth. Even with her lack of sophistication she can see the stark contrast between rich and poor. Cuba is on the brink of revolution...

I really enjoyed Island of Secrets. The glamorous setting of 50s Havana is beautifully realised and seamlessly woven into the story is an intriguing mystery. Nell's movie-star step-mother died in unusual circumstances and Iris soon realises any one of the wedding guests could be a murderer.

One thing I particularly loved about this story is that everyone has some kind of a secret and none of the guests are quite who they seem. There is Nell's eccentric blended family and her father's dangerous mob contacts, along with Iris's new friends Eugene and Joe - a reporter and photographer who have been sent by Life magazine to cover the celebrations. Thanks to the clever little twists I didn't guess the identity of the murderer either, so this was pretty much the perfect book for me.  

I'd recommend Island of Secrets to anyone who loves historical fiction with a bit of a mystery and a dash of romance. I enjoyed it so much I've now bought the author's previous book, A Fatal Inheritance.

Thank you to Rachel Rhys and Black Swan (Random House UK/Transworld) for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.

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