Secret Things and Highland Flings

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 May 2019

Member Reviews

3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 stars)
Lexi's life has been a little bit of a mess lately. Her ex-husband ran off to Spain with his assistant, leaving her homeless, bankrupt, and close to losing her beloved art gallery, handed down to her by her grandmother. When she is commissioned to evaluate & sell some art from a family estate, she gets a big surprise that she isn't expecting.
Olly has recently reconnected with his family, after leaving abruptly 11 years prior. His sisters are back at their family estate in the Scottish Highlands, and they're having to try to figure out what to do with the house, as their finances are tight. 
When Lexi and Olly meet, they are attracted to each other, but unsure how to proceed. Neither realizes that the other is hiding something. Will they be able to overcome their secrets?
I thought this was a cute book! It was a sweet story, and I loved the mixture of the art in the story (especially with the references to famous paintings). The setting in Scotland was beautiful, and I loved the descriptions. I would say this was the romance equivalent of a cozy mystery - sweet, fluffy, and enjoyable. It was a sweet romance, but wasn't a steamy one. I enjoyed it!
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Lexie is an art gallery owner who is sent to appraise the valuable works of a nobles Scottish family and gets tied up into their lives. She falls for Ollie, who is the titled noble of the house, while trying to determine the validity of a famous work of art. She is also dodging her ex-husband who financially ruined her. 

I had mixed feelings about this book. I felt it had the potential to be similar to Sophie Kinsella or Katie Fforde, who I both love. I think it fell a little flat. I didn’t really feel the passion  between Ollie and Lexie and I didn’t feel a connection to the other minor characters. That could just be me—I would still recommend to fans of women’s fiction.

Special thanks to NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
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I tried to get into this book, I really really did, but I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. It has never taken me more than a few days to finish a book, but this one took me nine whole days.

The characters and story was just too slow, no ups or downs, push pull that I could hang my hat on.  It was just too slow moving that I couldn’t enjoy it.

Received an ARC from Netgalley.
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Maybe it's my weakness for anything involving Scotland but I have to say that this new to-me author wrote one heck of a wonderful book! Tracy Corbett combines sharp humor with a bit of mystery as Lexi Ryan finds herself in the breathtaking Highlands trying to sort her life out while cataloging exceptional art belonging to the very sexy Oliver Wentworth, also known as the Earl of Horsley.

Both characters are sheer delight as they try not to fall for the other all the while desperate to keep their secrets hidden. Lexi is intelligent yet picks the wrong men. And Ollie never really figures himself as one to settle down. However, their attraction is quite electric and leads to all kinds of adventures as they try to fix what has been wronged by Lexi's horrid ex-husband. In the meantime, there are great scenes involving Ollie's two sisters and Lexi's own tough as nails sister. Those encounters had me laughing and shaking my head as they all fall into a plan to retrieve a priceless work of art. It is extremely clever and the substory involving Ollie's family and their own desperation to keep their castle weaves throughout the book beautifully.

The descriptions of one of my most favorite places on earth is truly the extra bit of happy that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I hope to find more from this author because her writing style and attention to detail is something I most definitely crave in many books I pick up.

5 solid stars!
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I just could not get into this book. I did not have any kind of connection with the characters. 

I received this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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While I liked most of the characters and found the setting to be lovely, I did find the drama elements of this plot a little too over the top.  Even for a romance chick lit style book I thought this was too much sometimes. But it was well written and I was overall glad I read it.
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Secret Things and Highland Flings was a cute story. I really liked the way the relationships are portrayed and the characters developed. I have a lot of readers at my library that will love this book. I've put it on my purchase list. Thank you
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Secret Things and Highland Flings is a fun, light read with a castle as the backdrop. The plot is interesting and the characters are all well written. In terms of romance, this one is low on the steam but high on the sweetness. 

It was fun to be swept away into a castle in Scotland. The family dynamic between all the characters is entertaining. Their affection for each other came through in the writing. Tasha is definitely my favorite character. I would love to read a book with her as the lead. 

It was a predictable story. I found myself skimming towards the end. But, in terms of bright, breezy reads, this one hits the mark.
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Having read Starlight on the Palace Pier (and loved it), I was happy to see another story of Tracy Corbett. I wish I could be as enthusiastic about Secret Things and Highland Flings as the previous book. But unfortunately I can't. It is not a terrible book, but it just didn't knock me off my socks. Maybe Tracy tried too hard. The story just dragged on a bit too long. And the credibility of the story was off course zero to non. Of course there are louse men who screw around and take all the money from your joint account. Forging papers isn't very likely. And even less likely is that the pay-out of the insurance is done in cash and is lying around and found by you. But in this book it happened. Lexi found the money of her lying and cheating ex-husband and decided to keep it.
Same goes for Oliver (or Ollie) who was taught to replicate art by his mother, only to find out she had sold his replica as the original painting for two million dollars. Totally believable... NOT. 
So, in all, it was a nice story with some twists and turns. But because the story was a bit over the top, it was hard to connect to the characters. Making the story okay-ish but just not great. Therefore three out of five stars and a special thank you to Netgalley for providing the arc.
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Enjoyable character in counties ice never been to. Makes me want to visit there. The characters were enjoyable and the storyline as well.
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I think the author is trying too hard in this book. I think she wants you to know that she knows all the things. I don’t get it and I can’t get behind it.
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Unfortunately this book was DNF one.  I read half of it and I couldn't get in to it.  Both main characters, Oliver Wentworth and Lexi Ryan, were just meh.  I could not connect to them.  I considered them both annoying and from what I read I didn't see how they could end up together.  There was just too many secrets and both seemed untrustworthy.  Even they had a difficult time keeping track of their lies.
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I couldn’t get into this at all, didn’t relate to the characters, real lack of chemistry for me and I found under it long and bit uninteresting, sorry, not for me 
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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A believable romance set in the highlands of Scotland. The description of the Scotland scenes were magical and sounded amazing. Interesting and likeable characters. A sweet and engaging read.
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DNF at 16%.
I’m an avid romance reader, and I love all kinds of subgenres, but I didn’t know what to do with this book. In my personal opinion, I think the author was  trying a little bit too hard. As a consequence, to me, it all fell flat and despite the abundance of drama-elements, I just wanted out. I guess the other reviewers saw something I didn’t, and I hope more readers will love this book and agree with the more-positive reviewers. 

The hero, heir to a Scottish title, left home at eightteen and lived on the European mainland for about ten years... living on what? His sisters are mad that he left. The estate is in financial trouble, but selling it would hurt his sister’s feelings so that’s not an option. Uhm... why?
The heroine owns an art gallery and has fimancial problems, an ex-husband who’s after her for money she suposedly stole, a twinsister who has just been dumped by her girlfriend and can see that a painting is 16th century because she has an art degree... Uhm why? 

Since this is marketed as a romance, I would have liked to see the author spend more time on the emotional state of mind of hero and heroine, and what they wished for in the love department. As it is, the information about the hero and heroine, felt like random information because no meaning was added to it. Characters, to me, only become interesting when their situation makes me feel something.
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Ahh, this book was so lovely to sink into. I could imagine the highland views and the immense castle. This is a well written, funny and readable book. I liked the characters, particularly the sisters who couldn't be more different! I loved the romantic storyline and was willing it to all end happily ever after (no plot spoilers here). I'd recommend this as an easy and engrossing read.
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I just couldn’t get into this book.  It was just so so for me. Thank you to netgalley for the ARC. 2 stars.
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Avon Books UK
ISBN: 9780008299491
May 2019
Contemporary Romance

Windsor, England and Shieldaig, Scotland – The Present

Lexi Ryan owns an art gallery where she sells copies of master’s paintings. She is already having a bad day when her crook and cheating ex-husband Marcus Aldridge enters the store. He left her financially strapped. During the divorce he claimed their property in Andalucía, outside the court’s jurisdiction. Now he tries to charm her, but she has learned better than to believe him. Lexi suspects he wants the 27K pounds she found in a holdall when she cleaned out their house lost to bankruptcy. She did not tell her identical (although very different) twin Tasha about this, even though they are very close. Despite Lexi’s usual moral integrity, she did not report the funds to the proper authorities as Marcus had stolen and sold a collection of original paintings from her gallery and kept the profits. While in the gallery Marcus looks at one painting, Woman at the Window, and tells her she is not too financially impaired if able to buy such a treasure. She tells him it is a copy. Then she discovers he still has keys to the store’s lower storage area and intends to search it. He escapes from her when an investigator from the insolvency headquarters enters. From him she discovers that shortly after they were married Marcus took out a life insurance policy, forged her signature on it, cashed it out before the divorce, and received 27K pounds which the agency now wants her to repay. After the agent leaves, she finds her basement in disarray and the backdoor unlocked, but her stack of valuable paintings is safe, including a shipment from the Wentworth estate. Marcus left a note. He wants his money.

Oliver (Olly) Wentworth, the Earl of Horsely, after taking his pregnant sister Louisa to the hospital, returns her home to Rubha Castle, the Wentworth family home for four-hundred years. Louisa broke her leg stumbling over a pony while her husband was absent. The Castle’s continual upkeep is financially devastating, but Louisa calls it home. His other sister, Sophie, lives at the family’s Windsor house. They all know one of the properties will need to be sold. Neither sister has a good opinion of Olly. He left eleven years ago at age eighteen and has only recently returned. Their parents are dead, and his sisters think him self-centered and wayward. He won’t tell them the truth. He left because his parents used one of his drawings to perpetrate an art fraud. They used it as proof that one of his mother’s paintings was a Renaissance artist’s work. For them to purposely do this to make money made him ill. They were cold, unforgiving parents who constantly preached moral integrity. Now he learns Louisa sent his mother’s paintings to an independent art gallery in Windsor, including one he thinks is another forgery. The thought shakes him. He must retrieve that painting to prevent anyone learning of his parent’s fraud.

When Lexi finds Olly rifling through paintings in her lower work area, she thinks him a thief. When she is requested to return the paintings, she finds the thief follows her and soon discovers he is indeed who he said he was, and titled, too; but she still believes him a liar. That doesn’t stop the attraction she feels for him. She felt that for Marcus, too, so cannot trust her judgement.

SECRET THINGS AND HIGHLAND FLINGS is filled with colorful, quippy, argumentative characters who keep secret while clutching their guilt. Marcus is easy to hate, and his misdeeds are worthy of jail. Lexi and Olly are also caught in a morass of lies, but theirs are to protect their family. Working through the details of their adventures to find the truth, and hopefully earn forgiveness for their dishonesty, makes this a different and interesting story romance readers will enjoy.

Robin Lee
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Lexi and her twin sister Tash are both ‘arty’ with advanced degrees from Oxford and their own way of looking at the world. Where Lexi is, after being scammed by her ex-husband and barely holding on to her own place, a gallery owner with a solid reputation and a penchant for medieval artworks, Tash has embraced the art scene with a twist as a tattoo artist.  The two appear as different as night and day with Tash’s dark clothing, tattoos and ‘in your face’ approach to life where Lexi is fond of her vintage style, baking and trying to build her business. Sharing a building left by their grandmother, the two have neighbouring shopfronts and share one of the two flats upstairs, the other is rented out for extra income.  With a query to evaluate a collection of paintings from Ruhba Castle in Sheildaig Scotland, she’s got a new plan. But a receiver at the door shortly after her ex-husband’s reappearance and his demand that some ill-gotten funds be returned have Lexi worried about the next step. This worry increases when she catches Olly in her storeroom, obviously hunting for something that doesn’t belong to him. 

Olly left the family home some eleven years ago after he decided he couldn’t deal with his parents’ judgment, demands or the lack of belief he had in them.  With his artistic talent honed by his mother, he was tired of always trying to ‘be enough”. But his return has made one sister very happy, angered the other, and left him smack in the middle of a struggle about finances, two homes and which is sold.  Dealing with the anger from his sister Sophie, even from her townhouse in Windsor is bad enough, but not being able to share why he left leaves him feeling as if nothing will ever be enough.  Of course, things are even more fraught as his sister Louisa doesn’t want to leave the castle, is pregnant with her first child, collects stray animals like others do shoes AND is confined in her movement after being run over by a renegade Shetland pony that resulted in her broken leg.

Oh this was fun and the families, both Tash and Lexi and Olly and his sisters are lovely, and when Lexi goes to the castle to evaluate other works and plan an exhibit, the lies and deceptions heat up, and even though the connection between Olly and Lexi is palpable, neither is being totally honest. We’ve got copies of old masters, a painter who hadn’t for over a decade, an ex-husband who won’t stop trying to run a scam, a very devoted and prickly sister (no wait – make that two sisters), secrets, more secrets and constant worries, questions and guilt for Lexi. She doesn’t like lying, and when her sister comes clean, she’s angry and feels deceived. Again.  Of course, it will take both Tash and Olly with his sister Sophie, plenty of secrets unearthed into the light, and lots of confidences shared, but there is happy moments (and a big surprise) for everyone at the end.  Light, fun, twisty and completely engaging, these are people you want to have as friends and neighbors. 

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

Review first appeared at   I am, Indeed 
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I enjoyed this story, although I do think the description of Tasha was overkill. Loved the Scotland scenes. Believable romance. Art theme added interest. A relaxing read, albeit not one that will stick in the memory for long. Thanks Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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