It Started With a Secret By Jill Mansell – Book Review!

Goodreads Synopsis!

The trouble with secrets is that you can’t guess what the consequences will be . . .

Lainey has lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she’s living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired – if far-from-retiring – actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. It’s definitely worth the challenge of keeping her secret.

At least Lainey isn’t looking for love. It’s time for a break from all that. And yet . . . Seth, the actor’s grandson, really is rather attractive. There’s growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. But how would he react if he knew she hadn’t been honest with him?

Lainey’s not the only one with a secret, though. Seth has one of his own. And everything’s about to start unravelling . . .


I know, I know! And yes you are reading this right, I am indeed reviewing a romance book. If you’ve been following me for a while you will know that Jill Mansell is the only author to ever make me pick up a rom-com book and her stories never fail to let me down. So I figured it was about time I actually reviewed one.

Lainey’s at a loss. After being let go from her old job and finding out her father has someone staying in her old room, she is desperate for somewhere to work. So when she sees an advertisement for live in housekeepers she thinks it’s perfect, the only problem? They’re looking for a couple and Lainey is single yet again. Luckily, her friend Kit is also out of work and claiming they were a couple would only be a little white lie right… no one could get hurt? When they eventually meet Majella and the family everybody agrees that Lainey and Kit would be perfect and all starts off well, until Lainey realises she has feelings for Seth, the son of Majella she realises that the one secret she has to keep may stop her happiness, but Seth has secrets of his own, and their lies will start to unravel before the end.

If there’s one thing Jill Mansell does well it is writing utterly believable, hilarious, quirky and lovable characters. I always end up way to invested in whatever story I am reading, you may know who will end up with who early on but she sure manages to take you on one hell of a ride to get there. Lainey is someone who knows she isn’t the prettiest girl in the room, and also knows that her tendency for falling for ‘pretty boys’ is the reason she is always single, so she knows she should stay far away from Seth, not just because he thinks she’s in love with Kit, and that she works for him. But as she finds herself feeling more like a member of the family than ‘the help’ she knows she is too far gone to turn back. Seth is a businessman, so most of his decisions end up made on logic, and he knows one thing for sure, he absolutely cannot be falling in love with his mothers new housekeeper, not only because she has a loving boyfriend, but she works for him, and you should never mix business with pleasure. But when he gets some shocking information, it’s Lainey he confides in, and he soon realises that keeping his feelings a secret is going to be harder than it looks.

Whilst Lainey and Seth are definitely the main characters, Mansell gives us a breadth of well developed side characters with their own subplots which manage add a new depth to the story. There is romance and deception but I defy you not to fall a little in love with the rest of the household.

As well as brilliantly written characters, Mansell writes some truly delectable locations for her books. Mainly set in southern England, one thing I adore about these books is knowing you can go and visit them. Her settings aren’t fantasy, they’re real, with the beautiful beaches, hotels and homes, and you instantly want to transport yourself there. She also manages to leave little breadcrumbs for avid readers of her back to previous works. Whether they dine at a certain hotel, or meet a certain baby saving lady, there are plenty of Easter Eggs for those of us who have read the majority of her backlog.

If you’re looking for something fun and fast paced, a rom-com in book form, filled with such down to earth and quirky characters and a romance you will root for until the end then look no further. These books never fail to get me out of any reading slump, and are the perfect palette cleanser after heavy reads. Still the only romance author I will ever pick up, I can’t recommend these books enough.

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