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Spanish House Secrets, by Susan Gray

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TRIGGER WARNING: sexual abuse, rape, adoption
1920s Loftam, England. Simon finds out the truth about his parents when he receives a huge inheritance from his biological mother. He travels to Spain to sort out his new business affairs and falls in love with Elise. But he already has a sweetheart back home…
Spanish House Secrets is a dual timeline historical novel set in the 1920s and 2019, in England and Spain.
The main focus of the book is on the life and loves of Simon. He becomes trapped in a love triangle, unable to choose between the two women he adores. I have really mixed emotions about his situation. He goes through some big upheavals emotionally as he learns the truth about his parentage. However his lack of decision making with regard to Livvy and Elise mean that both women suffer. To be honest, the 2019 plotline has no real relevance to the book and I don’t think it needed to be included.
The historical and geographical elements to the book were interesting and I liked Simon’s sister Serena gaining independence. Power play and patriarchy underpin many of the interactions and relationships in the book and made it difficult for me to like Simon. The style of writing is easy to read and brings the characters and plot to life.
However there was a lot of repetition with secret babies, grief and then finding companionship and love (it all felt a bit convenient) and don’t get me started on Fur Elise mentions (thought I was going to go mad if it was featured again!) I felt so angry at Simon’s brother William and kept waiting for him to get his comeuppance so was disappointed by the ending. That sounds a bit negative but I really enjoyed the majority of the book and was swept up in Simon’s life.
Spanish House Secrets is an engaging historical novel about an impossible choice.

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Spanish House Secrets
In 2019 Grace’s memories from childhood are stirred by the sound of a melody. Her home in 1950’s England was a Spanish House. A house with secrets.
1920’s England…loveable, likeable Simon receives a letter on the eve of his twenty-first birthday. A letter that will change the course of his life.
Dainty, demure Olivia has so much to be thankful for: a doting husband, a beautiful house and a thriving business…but a nagging doubt. In the last years of the Roaring Twenties this doubt is compounded by the discovery of a discarded item.
Elise has known many harsh blows in her young life. Returning to her home in Madrid in 1922, she knows she must pick herself up and move on. Can she continue to live in this Spanish House? The arrival of a visitor creates a new dimension for her.
Spanish House Secrets is a story of love, life, loss, jealousy and forgiveness set in the twentieth century.

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Author Bio –  Susan Gray lives with her husband in northeast England. She has a son and daughter, both married, two granddaughters and a grand dog. After a career in primary teaching, she embraced retirement fulfilling her ambition to travel, attend Wimbledon and write a novel. She enjoys reading, walking, crafting, doing puzzles, catching up with friends over a coffee and being a gran. She has written several novels – Spanish House Secrets is the first to be published.
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