Hello, Sunshines, I hope you are all safe and well?! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the blog tour for; Sing Me A Secret by Julia Houston. Not only will I be sharing my review of this charming book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt, which I hope you will all love as much as I do. So settle in and enjoy!
Sing Me A Secret by Julie Houston
Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction
The four Sutherland sisters have all had very different paths in life, but one secret and a slighty tense production of Jesus Christ Superstar are about to bring them all back together again…
When the news that pop-superstar Lexia Sutherland is returning to Westenbury, not everyone is thrilled by the news – including Lexia. There are too many memories she doesn’t need to face – or need re-surfacing.
Meanwhile, Juno Sutherland just wants a little peace and quiet. As the local village doctor, she’s got her priorities in order; kids, job, husband, tenacious pony, a role in the village musical… So when the sexy new locum turns up – and steals her office – the last thing she needed was to be hit with rising temperatures and an over-active imagination.
Will these sisters be able to uncover the past, deal with the future and put on the performance of a lifetime?
Return to Westenbury this spring and find out.
Amazon / Kobo / Google Play
Ok, full disclosure even though I have been aware of this author for a while now, this is actually the first I have read by Julie Houghton. I know, shock and horror!! As I did and do have a huge Mount Everest of a TBR pile, I did originally sign up to this blog tour to feature the book and an excerpt only. But as soon as I read the back blurb of the book I was charmed. So I was a little greedy and chose to review it too, even though I did break my own rule of not to start a series in the middle, but I am so pleased that I did because this is such an entertaining, feel-good, witty, sunny and the perfect escapist story. Which we all know is exactly what is needed in these weird times!
So as I said this is apart of a series set in a little country village, it’s idyllic, comfy and cute, it’s a place where everyone knows each other’s secrets; think Father Brown or Midsummer Murders (without the murders, obviously, but you get the idea) I did worry that I needed to read the previous books first, but personally, I don’t think you need to. To tell you the truth I read this as a stand-alone and if didn’t know there was a connecting book then I wouldn’t have guessed it. But it still won’t be stopping me from going out and grabbing a couple more of Julie’s books.
The story revolves around four sisters; The Sutherlands, Juno, Lexia, Ariadne and Pandora. Each sister has her own life and her own troubles, there are secrets swirling around that they may not be able to ignore. Pop-starlet; Lexia has to return to the village with her production of Jesus Christ Superstar, something she isn’t too keen on, I can tell you. She has her faults and her troubles and she would rather be anywhere else in the world then going back home. But will she receive a warm welcome from her estranged sisters? And more importantly, can, they all work together so the show goes on?
I really enjoyed getting to know each of the sisters, they all had their reason’s for their individual crisis’ and unhappiness, and there is more lurking in their backgrounds that does act as a bit of a hurdle for them. I did get a sense that each of them had their own unhappiness and it’s lovely to see them make their own journeys. The Sutherland sisters story is one that so many families can relate to, there is something hidden within the folds of the family make-up that makes close contact with each other very difficult, and Julie Houston has portrayed every emotion that runs through this family perfectly and in ding so pulls the reader in; you go through everything with them as though you have been dropped into the middle of their little village.
Which to be honest I would happily live in, I would be the nosey parker next door peeking at the neighbours behind the twitching net curtains, a bit like Marple. 😉
This is one of those books that does have you giggling away, even rather embarrassingly while the family are all watching something on TV. You will sit down and not want to move until you have closed the last page, it’s in not other words but; charming!
I loved the friendly, simplistic, yet realistic plot, it kept me engaged and entertained through out. it has a great cast of characters, which are all so well developed and each one has a brilliant story of their own to tell. I loved the way the past and the present was linked and ran through the story with real ease, which shows just how marvellous of a writer Julie Houston is. I loved her fluid, creative and classical writing style. I honestly cannot fault a single thing about this book, it was a real joy to read and to be apart of this blog tour.
Marian Potter, office manager at Westenbury village surgery, peered over her spectacles and glanced meaningfully at the clock behind her as Juno knocked on the glass door of reception.
‘ID?’ Marian mouthed, one eyebrow raised. ‘Do I know you?’
‘Forgot it,’ Juno mouthed back, smiling with what she hoped was an air of contrite apology.
‘Again. Come on, Marian, let me in.’ A small patch of mist appeared on the cold glass as
Juno peered through the door which led directly into reception and absentmindedly wrote I Love Boyzone before obliterating the sentiment into a wet puddle with her gloved hand. God, it was freezing out here. ‘Do we have to go through this pantomime every morning?’ she asked irritably once Marian acquiesced and pressed the button behind the counter, opening the doors and letting her through into the warmth.
‘I can’t be sure who you are if you constantly forget your identity card,’ Marian sniffed. ‘For all I know you could be a terrorist or… or a stalker.’ Kyra, one of the junior receptionists had had trouble with an ex-boyfriend who wouldn’t accept he was an ex, constantly sending flowers he couldn’t afford to the surgery and waiting in the carpark for her shift to finish. Hardly a stalker, but Marian, enjoying the whole drama of it all, had revved it up as such and threatened to call the police. In the end Juno had gone out to his battered old Corsa, opened the door and sat with him while he sobbed. Ten minutes later he was gone, his stalking career finished before it had even started.
‘Haven’t got the time or energy to stalk anyone, Marian. I wish I had – Morning, Declan – it might liven up my somewhat mundane existence.’
‘Dr Armstrong, I hardly think trivialising stalking—’
‘Juno, staff meeting at one. Don’t forget.’ Declan patted her absentmindedly on her shoulder as he walked towards his room. ‘And I think Izzy wants a word.’
Juno glanced at the clock. Ten minutes before her first patient. On this miserable Monday morning in the second week of January, the punters were already forming a queue outside the surgery, coughing their weekend-acquired bugs into man-sized tissues and alternating between wiping viscous green snot from offspring’s noses and admonishing owners of said noses as to the dire consequence of continuing to run out into the rapidly filling-up carpark. Ten minutes to grab a coffee, fire up the computer and warm up her hands before placing them on a pregnant abdomen, a swollen neck or – please God, no, it was a Monday morning and she’d not had time for breakfast – a problematic penis.
*This excerpt was shared with permission from the publisher as apart of this blog tour post.
About the Author
Julie Houston is the author of THE ONE SAVING GRACE, GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME and LOOKING FOR LUCY, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle #1 bestseller. She is married, with two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.
Website: www.juliehouston.co.uk / Twitter: @juliehouston2 / Facebook: @JulieHoustonauthor
Website: www.ariafiction.com / Twitter: @aria_fiction / Facebook: @ariafiction / Instagram: @ariafiction
Blog Tour Schedule
Do have go and visit the other amazing blogs which are participating in this blog tour and show them some love.