It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the publication day push for a new book from T.A. Williams – Secrets on the Italian Island is the third standalone book in the Escape to Tuscany series, published today (8th July) by Canelo Escape, now available for kindle and on all other major ebook platforms. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
Although it took me a while to discover Trevor’s books, I have to say he’s now one of my favourite authors – his books unfailingly provide the perfect escape from real life, and all your worries immediately vanish. Dreaming of Verona (you’ll find my review here) saw me through a hospital stay, Dreaming of Italy (review here) was the perfect distraction when the pandemic first struck, and Under a Siena Sun (review here) was just what I needed to help me through a difficult summer – Second Chances in Chianti wasn’t accompanied by a personal crisis for once (review here), but I loved that one too! I’m pleased to report that life’s pretty trouble free at the moment – but my goodness, I do feel in need of some sunshine, and know just where to find it…
Her work has got in the way of relationships before – but never like this…
Anna’s job as a geologist takes her all over the world, including to the beautiful island of Elba, where she’s sent to look for precious metals. And the island isn’t the only thing that’s gorgeous – she can’t believe her luck when she meets windsurfer Marco and sparks fly.
But Anna must keep her role on Elba a secret to avoid upsetting the locals, which means lying to Marco even as they grow closer. When her old friend Toby visits, Anna suddenly finds herself torn between the attentions of the two men. However, Anna’s not the only one keeping secrets.
Is Marco being entirely honest with her? And why did Toby really come to visit?
A fun and escapist romance, perfect for fans of Lucy Coleman and Alex Brown.
The island of Elba – well, I must say I rather like it there, and it certainly isn’t the first time I’ve added a location to my bucket list as a result of reading the vivid descriptions in one of the author’s lovely books. It looks just perfect for a relaxing break, but that’s not the reason for Anna’s visit – she’s a geologist who travels the world searching for sources of precious metals, and it’s rather important that no-one finds out the real reason why she’s currently on the island. As she kicks back, discovers the island’s unspoilt beauty and makes new friends, she rather hopes her search will be fruitless – and has plenty of time to consider whether it’s time to have a rather less frantic life and make some time to live her life with the possibility of a relationship and a more settled future.
Being almost mowed down by his windsurfer brings Marco into her life. Suave and charming (and extremely hot), but with a distinctly dubious reputation, “Naughty Anna” begins to emerge – would a holiday fling really be such a bad thing? But as she hides her real reason for being on the island, she finds that there are more obstacles to a relationship than just Marco’s reputation – he’s passionate about environmental issues, a leading light in the Save Elba group, and that really would make Anna “the enemy”. So maybe she’d just be better sticking with Toby – a childhood friend pushed in her direction by her mother, there was certainly an unexpected spark of attraction when they met, and she’s rather looking forward to seeing if it becomes a flame when he visits the island while sailing around the Med.
And then there are the new friends – significantly Jack who comes into her life in a particularly dramatic way. He’s an elderly former geologist now living on the island, whose life had previously followed a similar path to Anna’s, travelling the world for a mining company: it gives him a rich fund of stories – and makes it really difficult for Anna to hide her secret – and his essential loneliness gives her more food for thought about whether her life choices are the right ones. And yes, as I’m sure you’ll have guessed, Jack doesn’t live entirely alone – his rather aromatic labrador George is a quite wonderful character (as the author’s labrador creations always are), accompanying Anna on her walks, joining her for early morning swims, smothering her with affection at every possible opportunity.
There are a few later twists and turns to the story. First there’s the arrival of boss’s daughter Ruby to replace Anna’s sidekick Charlie (and what a lovely supporting character he is) – she’s destined to take over the reins of the mining company, although her heart really isn’t in it. And Anna’s secret – of course – becomes increasingly difficult to conceal, with the worry over what everyone will think of her when they find out the secret she’s been hiding. And Jack, it turns out, has a rather big secret of his own – and that was part of the storyline that I particularly enjoyed.
This really is the loveliest of reads. Anna’s an excellent character, and I really liked her very much from outset. The ins and outs of her relationships with Marco and Toby kept me entirely engaged – and I thoroughly enjoyed the warmth of her friendship with Jack (and George!). There’s an essential lightness about it all, a book you read with a smile on your face – but the author really does have the perfect emotional touch, and I will admit that there was a point in the story that did make me well up a little and wipe away a tear. Yes, I really loved this one – perhaps my favourite book yet by this lovely author, and I’d recommend it really highly.
About the author
I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.
The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.