Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Secrets in the Sky: A Saffron Sweeting Novel

Author:  Pauline Wiles
Genre:  Fiction/Chick Lit

Four Stars

No one ever accused Sophie Campbell of being a coward.  From caving trips to rooftop pranks, it appeared nothing could hold her back, especially once she landed a dream job promising travel all over the world.

But Sophie’s jet-setting lifestyle is not what it seems and she’s been spending more time in the quiet English village of Saffron Sweeting than she cares to admit. When her beloved Great Aunt Wol dies suddenly, Sophie loses one of the few people who truly know her. As friends, family and an old flame gather for the funeral, questions soon follow. Worse, Sophie finds herself increasingly attracted to the man most likely to expose her secrets. Can she manage to guard her past, yet finally follow her long-held dream?

Featuring both new and familiar characters, this stand-alone romantic comedy is set two years before Saving Saffron Sweeting. With side helpings of British tea, cake and wit, Secrets in the Sky explores how finding the courage to be yourself can be the toughest challenge of all.


Sophie Campbell is coping with the death of her beloved Aunt Wol, a retired schoolteacher, with whom she lived.  Upon her aunt's death, she is informed by Wol's solicitor that she has been left quite a tidy sum, around 30,000 pounds.  But the home she has always known doesn't belong to Wol, and she needs to find another place to live.

Moving in with her best friend from school, Bella, Sophie needs to share the lie everyone thinks is the truth:  that she is an air hostess and travels around the world.  But she isn't telling anyone why she's told this lie, and why she's sticking with it.  Oh, part of the reason is quite apparent:  she's terrified to fly.  So terrified that she flunked out of stewardess school.

But Bella has a plan:  She's connected Sophie with an American who teaches healing classes, and the one she's teaching now is Fear of Flying, and she convinces Sophie to to take the class in order to overcome her fear, and become a hostess in reality.  Unwillingly, Sophie agrees, but doesn't realize exactly how much deeper her lying is going to have to be in order to get through the class.

It doesn't help when her ex-boyfriend, Joey, finds out she has money and wants her to be his business partner in a venture, and also assumes they can couple again; nor when the hunky guy she met at the garden center turns out to be a pilot and is co-teaching the class.  Nor when her mother is spending more time in Saffron Sweeting and Sophie's lies start crumbling around her.

I really enjoyed the book, although I wasn't as convinced as Sophie that she needed to maintain the charade all this time.  In some cases, honesty is the best policy, and I believe it would have saved her a lot of trouble just to have 'come clean' in the beginning.

What I didn't like was the character of Joey.  Although he seemed nice enough on the surface, I felt he was a manipulator and couldn't understand why Sophie just didn't tell him to take a hike.  I would have probably within a week after spending time with him.  But, old habits die hard, as they say.  Other than that, I liked most of the characters in the book, and one must do so in order to truly enjoy it.  

However, the book, while starting out slow, (at a funeral, and her subsequent need to move) picked up after the first few chapters.  I enjoyed Sophie's transformation from complete coward (in more ways than one) to the person she finally became at the end.  It was, as they say, a revelation for her, and worth reading the book. 

This is a clean romance, which I enjoy, (never having been one for big sex scenes, so that's a plus), a lot of soul-searching, comedy, people just trying to get through life.  Recommended.

1 comment:

  1. JoAnne, many thanks for reading and for your thoughtful review.


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