Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: February 2017
Publisher: Aria Fiction – Head of Zeus
Two distant relatives, drawn together in companionship are forced to confront their pasts and learn that some people are good at keeping secrets and some secrets are never meant to be kept..
A bittersweet story of love, loss and life. Perfect for fans of Patricia Scanlan, Adele Parks and Rosamunde Pilcher.
The beautiful old Bath House in Ballytokeep has lain empty and abandoned for decades. For devoted pensioners Archie and Iris, it holds too many conflicting memories of their adolescent dalliances and tragic consequences – sometimes it’s better to leave the past where it belongs.
For highflying, top London divorce lawyer Kate Hunt, it’s a fresh start – maybe even her future. On a winter visit to see her estranged Aunt Iris she falls in love with the Bath House. Inspired, she moves to Ballytokeep leaving her past heartache 600 miles away – but can you ever escape your past or your destiny?
To enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of The Secrets We Keep please click here
Faith’s Guest Post ~ Where I Write…
Here’s a thing – recently, I’ve moved! They say, that moving house is one of the most traumatic things that you can do. After bereavement, it’s pretty high up the scale of big life stresses. The good news is, I haven’t moved house. No, we’re still in the same place, same road, same lovely neighbours and the cat has not been in any way discommoded – well, that’s what we keep telling him at least.
The big move for me was my writing room, or my office, as the kids call it – I think my husband sees it more as an escape and me, well, it’s a mix of something between a work area and a retreat spot.
I was upstairs, the only window facing up towards the sky. Summer sun, winter rain, dark skies or a frosty covering of snow were my only view. And, I liked it that way. I had my kettle in the corner, an ensuite (throwback to earlier uses!) and of course, a mountain of papers and old bits and pieces stashed, I mean stored in yards of shelves. It was, although I didn’t realise it maybe at the time, quite a large room. It was cosy too and it was, for many years tucked away from any noise or disturbance.
Last year, we had a brainwave – let’s do the kitchen, himself said. And I, looking about, thinking how tired I was of the tiles, the units, the windows and the doors, readily agreed. Little did I think that doing the kitchen, would mean three months of living in a building site. What my darling husband didn’t mention was that he had notions around the lines of Grand Designs!
Anyway, the upshot is, the kitchen is now three times the size it once was. It runs right under my writing room – or it did, until the kango hammers started and it seemed like they might never end.
In the finish, I actually went willingly.
I gifted my beloved writing room to the oldest teenager – he’s delighted and to be fair, he keeps it a lot more orderly than I did!
The move has been good for everyone, even if I was a little nervous. You see, we writers are at times a cagy, superstitious lot. The question was, would I be able to write in this new room? I mean, would I be motivated? Would it feel right? Would the muse find me – deep down in the bottom of the house now, she mightn’t be so keen on whiling the hours away with me!
I needn’t have worried!
My new writing room is a lot smaller than my old one, but it’s just… charming.
Yes, it’s very me – it’s a mish mash of odd bits and pieces that fit together. There’s space for my writing table to face east (very important!) I have a window at my back (also important – before me would be much too distracting!) I have room for my big comfy chair and I bought old book cases and painted them in a shade of French grey so they are just the right side of old fashioned and useful.
True, I’ve had to carry out a major cull on the amount of paperwork I can hold onto. I’ve had to discard old drafts, work that’s finished that will never and should never see the light of day, all of which is not a bad thing. The exercise of clearing out has been cathartic, liberating.
I’ve managed to hold onto one of my antique writing tables and I’ve even organised all my bits and pieces into something that looks like a system with folders and tabs! (so proud of myself on that one!)
True, the new room is not as cosy as the old one, but I’ve bought a lovely blow heater and once that’s been on for a moment, I feel like I could be living it up in Tenerife. Best of all – I’m just down the hall from the kitchen – no more kettles or milk jugs or biscuits stashed hidden so I won’t be too distracted.
And that old muse?
Well, I’ve never seen more of her – she’s as happy as a lark down here with me, we’re bombing through the edits for the new book out in December and I’m chomping to get back into my next book that’s standing at thirty thousand words since I’ve moved down here.
So, it’s been a success, although, I’m not blowing about it too loudly, after all, I’m still getting my coffee delivered as a kind of reward for moving so quietly, so let’s not spoil a good thing!
Extract from The Secrets We Keep
‘I’ve never seen anything like it,’ Kate said. It was her first thought as they turned down the cove and saw the bathhouse snuggled into the cliff face. It was a turreted, stocky grown-ups sandcastle. ‘It could have been emptied from a child’s bucket,’ was her first reaction. It had been painted, white with a light blue trim once, then the waves and the spray had all but washed that away. It still sat proudly, if shabbily, on a huge flat rock, that upturned in a lip over the sea. It was a plate, large enough for any giant.
‘Genesis Rock – it’s a metamorphic rock, probably over a thousand million years old,’ Rita said. ‘Sorry, did I mention I taught geography and home economics, once upon a time.’
‘No, but I probably should have guessed.’
‘I don’t remember the bathhouse even being open. I could imagine that I’d have spent all my days here if I had.’ Rita looked at the washed white walls that reached high into the cliff face.
‘Well, Archie said they ran it for a few years, but he didn’t say when it shut.’ This place probably held sadness for Archie, if his brother died here. Kate couldn’t feel it. Instead, it made her feel energized, as though the sea was spraying something like an invitation deep into her lungs. It made her heart pound with an expectation she hadn’t felt in years. Even the deserted castle keep that loomed up in grey stone at the tip of the headland seemed to carry a hopeful secret in its towers.
‘It must have been lovely once. Even now, you can see.’ Rita rested her hands on the thick window ledge, her nose pressed firmly to the cold glass of the windows. ‘It looks like they just closed up one evening and never came back.’
Kate walked to the back of the bathhouse; it dug into the cliff face, as though the construction of one depended on the other. Alongside the building, a small narrow road clung to the cliff for a couple of hundred yards before it feathered off onto what counted as a main road in these parts. Far below, the waves lapped serenely against the stone. It was low tide now; Kate wondered how close the water actually came to the rock. ‘I’d love to get a look inside.’ Rita followed her round to the front of the bathhouse. They peered through a sea sprayed window for a few minutes. Inside, Kate could see there were tables and chairs, a small stove and an old-fashioned counter where once someone had taken orders for afternoon tea. ‘It’s a little café, wouldn’t it be lovely if it was open for coffee?’ Kate mused, it was so much more than just a bathhouse.
About Faith Hogan
Already an international best seller, Faith Hogan is an original voice in women’s fiction, she has been hailed as a Maeve Binchey for a new generation. Her stories are warm and rooted in a contemporary Irish landscape which has lost none of its wit or emotion thanks to its modern vibe.
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.
‘Secrets We Keep,’ is her second novel published with Aria Fiction. Her first, My Husbands Wives has been a top ten best seller and is currently available in paperback.