I’m so sorry I missed the publication day push last week for The Cornish Secret of Summer’s Promise by Laura Briggs, available for kindle via Amazon, the fourth part of her lovely series A Little Hotel in Cornwall. My thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and her understanding when life turned a tad pear-shaped for a while. Thanks too to the author for my advance reading copy.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, also called A Little Hotel in Cornwall – you’ll find my review here. No matter how much I wanted to, I just couldn’t fit in the other two parts – A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores and Sea Holly and Mistletoe Kisses – but, as you’ll see from those links, it was a pleasure to host a couple of guest posts from Laura to be part of the blog tours. I promised to return for the fourth part – I knew I’d have missed a lot, but I really did want to try the series just one more time…
As spring slips away from the hotel Penmarrow, excitement builds for an exclusive auction hosted at the hotel, featuring priceless possessions from a Hollywood actress turned lady of the manor, including her famous diamonds. Celebrities and collectors form a crowd that is keeping Maisie and the rest of staff busy, even as Maisie faces a crossroads for her manuscript.
But when the diamonds are stolen and Sidney is accused by the authorities, Maisie’s dilemma as a writer is pushed aside out of fear that his future in Port Hewer is in jeopardy. Desperation to prove that someone else is behind the theft will lead Maisie to uncover a very different secret outside of jewel thieves and village rumors … one that could change her life and her future forever.
Can Maisie deal with the latest secrets exposed — including those that paint Sidney’s past in a questionable light? And as summer’s dawn alters her idyllic life in Cornwall, will Maisie’s feelings for Sidney change as well?
For anyone who – like me – hasn’t read every part of this lovely series, it might be good to start by telling you that you really could read this one as a stand-alone. Again like me though, you might just like to read the first in the series – A Little Hotel in Cornwall – so you understand what brought Maisie to Cornwall, and her relationship with the other characters, although there is a really helpful “Dear Reader” at the start that sets the scene.
I’ll admit that this book wasn’t at all what I was expecting – but in nothing but a good way! Maisie finds herself tangled up in the aftermath of a diamond heist, helping out the enigmatic detective from the insurance company, doing some detective work of her own, trying to prove the innocence of the lovely Sidney while discovering she knows rather less about his past than she thought she did. It’s a cosy crime really, but alongside the twists and turns of the plot about the theft – which has more than a few surprises – there’s also a continuation of Maisie’s journey to being a published writer, with perhaps even more surprises.
The hotel setting is beautifully captured, as is the wider community of Port Hewer. And the characters are excellent – Maisie herself is tremendously endearing and likeable, and I particularly liked the small cameos the author introduces of other staff members, guests and local characters. There’s a lightness about the writing, with some lovely touches of humour, all well-judged – I particularly liked the repeated reappearance of the bodice-ripper novel by Lady Marverly in different hands, everyone denying that they were reading it.
There might be just a tad less romance in this book than in author’s others, but the choice Maisie needs to make as the story plays out more than compensates for that, and actually made me a little tearful.
This is a story with a real difference, very well told. I rather enjoyed the ins and outs of the crime investigation, the bit of tension and uncertainty introduced – and I loved the characters, the surprises and the unexpected twists. A lovely escapist read, and recommended by me.
About the author
Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.