A Secret Scottish Escape
by Julie Shackman
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 21 May 2021 | Archive Date 27 Aug 2021
HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, One More Chapter
When Scotland’s sleepiest hamlet becomes the centre of hot gossip, Layla Devlin finds herself caught in a mystery…
When Layla’s fiancée has an unexpected heart attack and dies – in another woman’s arms, no less – Layla is determined to pack up and leave Loch Harris, the village she’s always called home. But an unexpected inheritance and love for her quiet corner of Scotland send her down a new path.
Now Layla finds herself facing a whole new kind of drama. Rumours swirl that a celebrity has moved into Coorie Cottage and Layla is determined to have him headline her opening night at local music venue The Conch Club. But the reclusive star is equally determined to thwart Layla’s efforts. Rafe Buchanan is in hiding for a reason, and soon his past comes to Loch Harris to haunt him…
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 144 members
An enjoyable read with not only romance but a mystery as well. Setting up a music venue after her fiancees death Layla wants her opening night to include a musician known as Mask but Mask has become a recluse Layla is a good main character with a big heart. I loved her dads ex band members who get back together for the opening night. It’s well worth a read and yes I would recommend it
Julie Shackman excels at writing the heart and this book is no exception. An original story with a cast of characters to champion, I thoroughly enjoyed this read. The author waves together the main story with the sub-plots seamlessly and the setting is so well described, I could imagine it clearly. A lovely, recommended read.
Twists, surprises, secrets and a picturesque setting🌅 4.5🌟 stars I have to say I found alot to like in this novel set in a rural Scottish small town by a lake. The author packed so much into the story and it had a very strong start that immediately caught my interest and sympathy for the heroine. I expected some family, friends and romance; here we had several new romances developing simultaneously, terrible shocks and betrayal for female lead Layla, and a mystery that morphs into a dangerous confrontation all while Layla undertakes the task of reanimating the economy of her fading small hometown. With a packed plot there's no lull in the action and I had to keep reading! Number One Fangirl Heather was a fun bundle of teen energy. I found the father-daughter relationship between Layla and Harry particularly touching as was BFF Faith's conundrum about her attraction to single dad Greg. While the story on the whole was strong, some elements did not come across as well. Layla's own new relationship was a bit one-sided, with her Mask man pretty uncommunicative, always needing to be pushed. And Mask's visitor/blast from his tragic Australian past was a melodrama that did not work for me. But the ending and epilogue are sweet and, overall, the good points dominate to make it a very enjoyable read. Thanks to Harper Collins UK/One More Chapter and NetGalley for providing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. I enjoyed reading this book. Freelance writer, Layla, whose whole life has been living in Loch Harris. Not once the thought cone into her mind to leave. That is until her Fiancé dies, when he’s with his ex-wife in her arms. Now, she doesn’t want to live in the cottage and want to leave. But, then, she sees a potential to start a a live music venue in the town. She wants to bring people back to her hometown of Loch Harris. So, then, she begins to design The Conch Club. Then there’s a rumour going round that the famous reclusive singer ‘Mask’ is living in Coorie Cottage which he’s bought. Layla wants him to perform on her opening night. But there’s questions in her mind like - Why is ‘Mask’ being so reclusive? Why is Layla’s Mum suddenly deciding that now would be a good time to reveal, hoping what could be, one big family secret? Also, is there any truth to the accusations being made about ‘Mask’ from a woman whose come from Australia? She has to deal with all of this. Will all these answers to her questions change her when she’s ready to open her club?
As usual in my reviews I will not rehash the plot (there are already plenty of reviews like that out there if that's what you are looking for), but here are my thoughts on the book. Layla (our heroine) is a determined young lady who has to deal with multiple betrayals, heartbreak, and various other setbacks, but who has the determination to make the best out of things and move forward from a terrible situation. The interplay between Layla and her musician Dad is lovely, and in turn the interplay between Dad and his old band is very believable. There are a couple of good baddies, a mysterious hero, and a good supporting cast of characters too. The setting sounds gorgeous, very well described, and I'd love to visit Layla's venue! I'd be interested in reading more adventures featuring these characters, as I feel they have more to say! This is recommended if you are looking for a light read with a mysterious twist, a touch of romance, and a cast of interesting characters. My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC. All opinions my own.
A lovely story of how Layla’s life feels like it is falling apart due to the circumstances of her fiancé’s death. However with him leaving her a lot of money she decides after a lot of soul searching and the support from her dad and best friend. To fulfill a dream of hers to open a live music lounge. Lots of twists and turns happen in the run up to the opening even meeting an upcoming new artist named ‘Mask’. Loved it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very well written and the characters were very real and lovable. I loved how the story unfolded with all its twists and turns. What a complicated character "Mask" was but it was understandable as the story unfolded.
I loved traveling to Scotland in this book and reading about the small town life. The beginning of the book was a bit of a shocker to me - but then made sense for the direction the book needed to go. I loved Mask - you could feel his pain, his trust issues. I only wished the book had a few more chapters so we could see more of the relationship between Layla and Mask. Overall, I loved this book and will try to get a copy of A Room at the Manor to read more of Julie's work.
This book has a bit of everything, romance, bereavement, overcoming obstacles, friendship,family,and even a bit of mystery, I honestly enjoyed this book from the first page loved the story and the characters and we all love a happy ending
What a lovely story. Twists and turns all the way. Loved how Layla used the money she did not want to help her community. Mask was a great character and you felt for him. You inagined how he would sound. A perfect ending .You just have to read it
A Secret Scottish Escape was every bit of gorgeous and enthralling the whole way through, with a lovely story of romance, mystery and grief. Layla is definitely a woman who has had a tough time with life and it was about time she took the reins herself. I really loved her concept of creating a music venue, in order to bring the community together and bring back some life in the small town - she was an endearing woman, always wanting to help others in need, whether they wanted the help or not. Speaking of not wanting any help, our mystery man, Mask, was a delightful love interest to add to Layla's story. I was so desperate to find out what had brought this mysterious Australian man to Scotland and why he wore a mask. In the end, his story was incredibly sad and allowed me to understand his character a lot more and emphasise. It was really heart-warming to see two broken characters come together and find happiness between the two, I loved Layla and Mask so much, I was over the moon with the ending Julie had given them.
A most enjoyable read. A mystery or two in the plot and a good slow burning romance, all set in a delightful location. I read this book in one sitting as I couldn’t put it down.
I requested this book purely because I'd helped with the cover reveal and I loved the look of the cover. I'd expected a feel good light hearted Romance but I got so much more as this wasn't what I'd expected at all. Instead I got a story of heartbreak, betrayal, mystery, and a determination to make the best out of a terrible situation. After the unexpected death of her Fiance, and finding out that he'd been having an affair you'd forgive Layla for becoming a recluse, especially when even more shocking revelations come her way. Instead, Layla shows a strong resolve and an ability to overcome these revelations, all while going out of her way to help somebody else, even when they don't seem to want her help. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, especially since it was from an author I'd never heard of. I ended up finishing it in two days with most of it read in one day since I got too caught up in the mysteries of Loch Harris and its residents to put it down.
Layla"s fiancee has a heart attack and dies in the arms of his ex-wife. Layla is heartbroken from the betrayal and his death. She takes the money he left her and is going to open a music venue. A very famous rock star moves into the area and he could be a friend or a foe. If you are into romance then you will enjoy this book. A great summer read.
Layla is left hurt and confused after the sudden death of her fiance. With money left to her she initially doesn't want anything to do with it. Then she sees the old fishing shop in the Scottish village of Loch Harris. A small community that is getting quieter as tourists are looking for something different. She decides to open a small live music venue and this is not the only thing to occupy her time or her thoughts as she gets ready for opening night. This was such a gorgeous story to read on a wet and rather yucky summers day. I was as shocked as Layla after I discovered the secret that her fiance Mac was hiding. I also found myself siding with Layla's dad, Harry, when I heard that she was opening a music venue. I mean a lovely tranquil village with amazing scenery and then add loud music. How the author described Layla's dream soon had me visualising and imagining what this would actually be like and I found myself getting on board with the idea based on the imagery from the author. The author has squeezed some wonderful threads into this story a mysterious singer, a stranger, some romance, some lies and deceit and also a whole load of wonderful heart waring and lovely moments. While there are a couple of more serious threads there are also some genuinely lovely ones. I soon fell in love with the setting and the sound of this amazing village. I love the sound of a certain recluses garden and could see myself hiding out there with several good books and maybe the odd large glass of wine! A story that I found really hard to put down a mix of mystery, romance, family drama and wonderful scenery just make this an adorable book to read and one that left me grinning like a loon. If you like good all-round contemporary fiction and romance novels then you are going to love this one. It is one I would definitely recommend.
A Secret Scottish Escape by Julie Shackman. What can I say other than I loved it and read in one day. When Scotland’s sleepiest hamlet becomes the centre of hot gossip, Layla Devlin finds herself caught in a mystery… The setting of a tiny village called Loch Harris in the Scottish Highlands sounded breathtaking, I could picture it in my mind. It had everything you could want in a story love, loss, regret, laughter, sadness, forgiveness, friendships and families. I found the characters to be well developed, and multi-dimensional. There were multiple sub-plots to keep you engaged and interested in the outcome. I will definitely read other books by this author. I highly recommend this author. I requested and received an advance reader copy of this book from Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
5☆ A Captivating and Enthralling Contemporary Romance. A Page Turning Must Read! A Secret Scottish Escape was an Enthralling Read from start to finish. So much going on, a lil mystery, a lil suspense, a slow burn yet Enchanting relationship, Community Spirit, Family dramas and Music. A Page Turner! Layla a freelanced writer fell madly in love with an older man. Engaged and planning to spend the rest of their lives together, she never expected to see policeman on her doorstep. Telling her that her fiancé Mac has just passed away. Devastated she then learns that he passed away in bed with his ex wife in a hotel room! Poor Layla's world is crashing down around her and all she can see is the two of them together! But it's not all bad Mac has left her a fair amount of money and after much deliberation she decides to use that money for good! To turn an old boat house into a live music lounge, to help Loch Harris bring in more Tourists. I really felt for Layla, she just kept getting more and more secrets thrown at her and none of them were very nice. But she had so much strength and determination I'm not sure I could of carried on being so strong after everything she uncovers. A Secret Scottish Escape is a Heart Warming, Compelling and Endearing Contemporary Romance. The location was stunning and very idyllic. The characters were brilliantly written. I loved all the juicy twists and Secrets. Oh and I loved the mystery and intrigue that shrouded Mask the elusive and awkward singer. Oh and that ending wow....I really really hope there is more to come as I was over joyed by the discoveries! This is my first book by the very talented Julie Shackman, and I'm excited to read more!
I really enjoy a formulaic chick lit with a twist...and that's exactly what this is! It's an easy but captivating read, with enough twists and turns to keep you going and enough of a 'happy ending' to really satisfy your soul. The characters are heartwarming and easy to relate to, it makes you want to visit Scotland and I just generally really enjoyed it. It's about overcoming difficulties and tragedies, features the importance of having your own 'tribe' and 'community' and is generally a mood-boosting read. I particularly enjoy that, for this genre, it's a longer story and still housed surprises within the plot. A feel-good read!