Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words
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Born in Sweden and married to a now retired Irish diplomat, Susanne O’Leary has lived in France, Australia, and Belgium while following her husband from assignment to assignment. They’ve finally settled in Ireland with an occasional romantic holiday in France. O’Leary has several books available for your Kindle spanning genres from chick-lit, to romantic comedy, and women’s fiction (both contemporary and historical).
“When Janine Marchand leaves her native France for a remote village on the Atlantic coast of Ireland, she hopes to let go of a painful past. She has changed her name and taken on a whole new identity. But the locals are curious and soon tongues start wagging. To complicate matters, Janine gets involved with Mick O’Shea, a handsome man who harbours dark secrets of his own. She is drawn to him even though she knows the attraction might jeopardize the fresh start she is trying to build. When someone in the village alerts the press, Janine must make a decision: run away once more or stay to confront her past.”
Early on it is clear that Janine, the heroine in Hot Gossip, has a dark past she’s trying to escape and is doing this by living a hermit’s existence in rural Ireland. As her past dribbles out the main story conflict comes into sharper focus as the reader starts to ask a few questions. Will she be able to avoid her ex-husband and his minions (putting that failed relationship behind her isn’t as easy as she’d like)? What happened to Jake, who Janine had fallen in love with before his death, and will she be able to move past her memory of her almost-too-good-to-believe memories of their romance to find love again? And if she does, will it be with Mick, the handsome single father with a dark past of his own, or Brian, the friend who would obviously be interested in more?
All of these questions and working toward the answers combine into a solid story. However, it is another storyline, Janine’s relationship with Mick’s daughter, Nelia, that I found the most interesting and, in many ways, their interactions drove the rest of the story.
Although Hot Gossip is kind of a sequel or second in a series starting with O’Leary’s book Hot Property, reading the first book isn’t needed to understand this one.
Uses UK spelling conventions.
Review is based on a beta version of the book and I’m unable to judge the final production version in this area.
Rating: **** Four stars