A Snap Decision, A Lifetime Of Lies
Title: The Secret
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Publication Date: 1st June 2018
Formats Available: Kindle & Paperback
Page Count: 266
Buy Links: Kindle / Paperback
Additional Info: This is a standalone story but features a second dark secret harboured by Villa Leonida, the house at the centre of The Silence, published last year. Although it’s not necessary to have read the first book it’s probably helpful to know that it included the discovery of some bodies at Villa Leonida which relate back to the summer of 1992.
Love, lies and betrayal in wartime Italy.
Two girls growing up in Mussolini’s Italy share a secret that has devastating consequences. Against a backdrop of fear, poverty and confusion during the Second World War friendship is tested and loyalties divided but a chance encounter changes everything.
The girls’ lives diverge when beautiful, daring Martina marries and moves into Villa Leonida, the most prestigious house in their Tuscan mountain village while plain, studious Irena trains to be a teacher. But neither marriage nor life at Villa Leonida are as Martina imagined. And as her best friend’s life takes on a new purpose Irena finds herself left behind.
Decades later, a tragedy at the villa coincides with the discovery of an abandoned baby, whose identity threatens to re-open old wounds. While Irena’s son is determined to get to the truth about the village’s past, Martina’s daughter is desperate to keep it hidden.
Extract from The Secret by Katharine Johnson
Taken from chapter 3:
At last, the gates of the villa came into view. There was a board tied to them, but Sonia had to get closer, had to read it for herself. Her heart raced as she climbed up through the honeycomb of cobbled alleys, under stone arches and lines of washing. She’d forgotten how steep these streets were. Somehow that had never occurred to her in all the years she’d spent walking up and down them when she had the cleaning job at the little church below Villa Leonida.
The houses up here were hunched up together as if conspiring; shutters closed, doors shielded by beaded curtains, keeping their secrets inside. At first sight it was hard to tell which of the buildings were still lived in. So many these days were left empty. But another glance revealed glimpses of life: pots of well-tended geraniums stacked on a stone step; a bicycle stashed up on a balcony; a sleepy dog lying across a doorway; canaries in a cage on a window ledge. The occasional cheeping of the birds, a burst
of music from a radio, and the smell of cooking were all that disturbed the stillness.
Narrow arches and passageways between the houses revealed slices of brilliant sky and glimpses of the turrets and bell towers of the town below. Steep stone staircases led down to cellars built up against the rock.
The solid front doors displayed tarnished brass knockers, simple rings, lion heads, and human faces – some cherubic, some demonic. The walls were adorned with terracotta suns and moons, and other good luck symbols. After all, this was a village that couldn’t afford any more bad luck.
The final lane that led to the villa, along the high walls of the convent, was cloaked in cool, dark shadow for most of the day, regardless of how much sun splashed the piazza
below. At the top, up a flight of overgrown steps beyond the little church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, stood the villa.
Villa Leonida stared back at Sonia – coolly defiant, battle-scarred but intact, daring her to come closer. The lemon trees on either side of the door had died in their pots. Grass had sprung up waist-high amid the stone chippings of the forecourt. The shutters were closed, and the skeletons of geraniums were all that remained in the window boxes. The
sign tied to the rusted curlicues confirmed the rumours.
Vendesi. For sale. Which meant only one thing – that the awful business from last year would be dragged up again. A shudder passed through Sonia. Everyone would be talking
about the discovery of those bones and the deaths that had followed in this tiny village a year ago. And each time that story resurfaced, the thought twisted inside her – would this be the moment when one discovery led to another and her own secret clawed its way out?
This book tour has its own giveaway to win a signed paperback of The Secret. Just copy and paste the text onto your HTML for the blog post.
The widget will kick in on the 12th July.
The competition is open for UK residents only.
Katharine Johnson writes about ordinary people in extraordinary situations. She grew up in Bristol, has lived in Italy and divides her time between Berkshire and Lucca. She loves books and old buildings and gets most of her plot ideas while out walking her madcap spaniel.
The Book Tour
The The Secret Book Tour runs from July 12th to July 22nd 2018.
Go check out all the other amazing blog tour hosts. (I have included links below to all blogger on this tour.)
You will find reviews, interviews, and giveaways.
12th July lauramorningstar
13th July the mad house of cats and babies
14th July pass the prosecco please
15th July blooming fiction
16th July susandair
17th July ashi responding to life
18th July sarah jane lamb
19th July robinlovesreading
20th July glorioussunrise
21st July read love repeat
22nd July inkedandblondeonline
book in one hand coffee in another
That’s a wrap on this tour!!!
See you in the next chapter…